[thelist] OT - do programmers/designers know *everything*?

Michael K. Ahn mike at ahnfire.com
Tue Jul 23 12:55:00 CDT 2002

Yes we know EVERYTHING!  Just kidding!!!

I'm making my living as a full time programming consultant(independent).
I've actually been working on this fairly long on-going project.  No
programmer can know all the syntax off the top of his/her head.
Especially in relation to internet related programming (http, html, xml,
java, perl, etc etc.)

Every programmer probably keeps a relatively extensive collection of
tomes and manuals.  It's like many other professional jobs, like the
reference books for doctors, lawyers, alchemy... ;)

However, any good programmer should know the basic concepts of how to
program, and know it well.  Ie. Basics of OOD, algorithms, etc and be
able to apply it to many different situations.  Basically... the ability
to understand a problem, break it down into it's constituent parts, so
that a computer which only understands 1's and 0's can properly process

Hope that answers some of your questions.  As for my background.  I'm
almost 29, graduated with a degree in CS and have been programming since
(mostly in companies that had something to do with the web).


-----Original Message-----
From: Roger Harness [mailto:magic32 at jps.net]
Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2002 1:42 PM
To: thelist at lists.evolt.org
Subject: [thelist] OT - do programmers/designers know *everything*?

List folks...i've been wondering about this for a while, and have always
been too embarassed/worried to ask. But it's getting to a point where I
think I *need* to ask.

I'm a 'struggling' web designer/developer/programmer. I know quite a bit
about HTML, and a little about everything else. (in some cases, VERY
little). I'm working retail to pay the bills, and honestly, I only have
few actual *paying* web jobs. (and that's even sorta debatable).

I think I'm older then the majority of most folks on here who are still
basically starting out. (closing in on my mid-thirties). Did that read
correctly? I mean that most folks my age are probably past my current
situation of not really making any money from their web practices yet.

Guess there's actually two parts to my question:

1. Are most of the folks on this list (for example) actually making a
living programming, coding, design etc? Whether it be free-lance, or
for other companies etc?

2. For the folks that ARE doing well enough to not have to work a 'real'
(you know...as in retail, services...etc etc,...anything NOT to do with
their web passions)...do you folks actually know in your head most of
skills you need to perform? For example, PERL/CGI programmers...can you
actually, basically write working code that without having to rely on
notes, code snippets, manuals, etc? Or is that just silly? Do almost ALL
hardcore designers/programmers use some sort of 'help' when working on

Does that question even make sense? Personally, I get a little nervous
maybe I don't really have the "stuff" to make it in this business, as I
really can't even do a basic JavaScript roll-over script without
to either my books, or at least previous work. And while I DO seem to be
getting a handle on mysql-PERL stuff, I couldn't put a working web-based
database together from the top of my head, if my life depended on it. Ya

Sorry for taking up so much space for a probable WAY off-topic question,
this thing has been nagging at me for a while. Usually everytime I look
the job market and see all the skills required. If they pulled me in for
interview, and told me to make a working CGI form, I'm pretty sure I'd
totally embarass myself.

Anyways, thanks for time, and again, sorry for taking up so much of it.


-Roger Harness
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