Old School Programmers vs. New School Programmers

Well, is it an old-school perspective that sees trading news over new developments as circle-jerking? There’s definitely gobs of hype in news of anything new (not sure if that can be avoided) and causes companies to advertise for people who can do “CSS4” because they clearly don’t know what they’re talking about and just using buzz words to get through the day… but people are continually making new stuff that does new things and it’s part of that progress of “looking at code you did 2 years ago and vomiting” thing, actually. Because the new way might turn out to be the better way, and you couldn’t have known that 2 years ago.

Possibly the old school guys are better at extracting the message from the advertising.

Or the faster and easier way – that’s what really kills me about the people who haven’t updated their skill sets since 1998 and are blindly rushing into HTML 5/CSS3 when they’ve not even mastered 4 strict/CSS 2.1 yet. (much like the browser makers themselves – right 915?) … The endless hordes vomiting up HTML 3.2 and calling it HTML 4, those who go around thinking CSS frameworks actually produce easy to maintain code, people who think a 20k script that relies on a 30 to 100k library is somehow easier to write than the 4k script without the library… I see people every day making this stuff harder to do, harder to maintain, ignoring the very CONCEPT of accessibility, and for what? “ooh I have an animated dropdown”… or “pageloads are evil!!!” paranoia.

It’s enough to make me wonder just when did we arrive at Jonestown? More than enough to shy me away from the kool-aid.

All I know is that there’s a difference between doing your job, doing your job well, and having a fetish. Too often have I seen people like this in the IT world, but it worsens when you focus in on web design and development geeks.

but it worsens when you focus in on web design and development geeks.

I figured it out: the crusties drink coffee.
The web people drink those energy drink things.

High-fructose corn syrup (and it’s European beet-sugar equivalent) FTW.

Though I’m about to happily join in some Perl circle-jerking this August, where all the neat cool new things in Perl get showcased, discussed and used. Always something new in Perl.

It’s enough to make me wonder just when did we arrive at Jonestown?

We’ve been here for a while now.

More than enough to shy me away from the kool-aid.

Mine’s a delicious berry flavour. Artificial, of course, but in the end, does it matter? Delicious.

Off Topic:

I’d be perfectly content with an old version of the black cherry Clearly Canadian, myself… Too bad they never respond to customer e-mails. :frowning:

I am old school and new school, somehow. There is an ocean of difference, and yet things remain the same.

I had a cocky contractor on the phone yesterday. He’s doing a Ruby on Rails job for me and he’s a pretty good developer, but is new-school to say the least. I told him I didn’t have git installed on my laptop so I’d have to get it setup and before I could connect and pull the code down.

He assumed I had no idea what ‘git’ was, and gave me a long explanation about how git is ‘social coding’ where people can contribute to other people’s codebse. Then he went on to explain how checkout and checking works.

I told him that I’d been a configuration manager for 15 years, and that source control in various setups was nothing new. The only thing github really brought to the table was that everyone is essentially sharing the same server - which is pretty cool but nothing groundbreaking. Just a great service.

He told me that git wasn’t really the same as ‘source control’ :slight_smile:

When I was a younger developer before the dotcom boom, I thought that the older developers were out of touch and didn’t really ‘get’ the new stuff. For the most part, I was incorrect. Older developers frequently don’t take the time to learn new stuff, but when they do they are usually more effective overall.

A fast, frantic page doesn’t add up to a better result unless you are talking about a tiny project.

… and if you’ve owned them, and still own five of them? … and use one of them every couple days?

Starting programming on a sinclair zx spectrum qualifies as old school or new school ?

Prehistoric :smiley:

Depends on who you ask – Since I started programming some six years before the spectrum existed. Cosmac Elf was my starting point. By the time of the Spectrum I’d moved on to real computers like the DEC Rainbow…

So yer a pup to me :smiley: New fangled color machines.

For reference, I built a ZX80 from a kit so…

So, is old school a relative thing or is there a hard cutoff in years that makes us old school? I think anyone who even knows what a ZX80 is might be old school :slight_smile:

Or anyone who’s used the term ‘trash 80’ :slight_smile:

If that is true, then I am definitely new school since I have never heard of either! Thanks Sagewing! You have made me feel young again! :smiley:

Also, I think anyone who’s regularly used a coupler modem could be described as old school :slight_smile:

Maybe old school programmers don’t pick up newer (or just hyped) ideas or practices because they lack the time to do so. But I’m not sure if this is this is the main reason. I believe that they simply are more meticulous and cautious about approaching new things, and hold themselves to judge them with more standards. It’s like a filter that you keep building as you get wiser with programming knowledge, and it makes your way of learning and picking things out more sophisticated. I’m able to look at code I wrote a while back, even as recent as a few months ago, and realize that there are much better ways to do this.

Re: new languages and technologies as fads, it’s fine to experiment with them, but the problem is when you become devoted fanboys to them. What you describe comes across to me as trendy hipster-ish attitude towards new technology. I prefer to site on the sidelines and take the fair-weather approach.

Unfortunately the former attitude is encouraged by clients that demand very specific skills. You can have the problem-solving knowledge program and build the best rocket to go to Mars, but if you haven’t used CMS XYZ, too bad for you. I mostly use PHP to program, but I consider myself a generalist and it’s probably not giving me an edge in competition from a typical employer’s perspective. I do tout some specialties (as my sig shows) but I don’t want to keep pigeonholing myself just to get work.

I’ve read similar discussions of old school versus new school about another pastime of mine, DJing… and debating on technology versus results. Are all newbies required to learn the tough way with turntables before they consider themselves “true to the art”? Or can they hit the ground running with the most newfangled digital music tech with loads of shortcuts and pre-built tricks? Or maybe it doesn’t matter, as long as the end product is amazing. The timeless debate goes on.

I’m not entirely sure I understand what you’re trying to convey here but it sounds like you’re pro-contemporary. I guess that’s okay if you’re into consulting, freelancing, high project turn around, etc. But again, it’s been my experience that solid jobs and or actual careers rarely have this kind of “hey, let’s play with this” mindset using things ranging from PHP, various CMS platforms, jquery, AJAX, and all that jazz. I’m not going to go into a disclaimer explaining every minutia of my perspective, but the clients you describe usually boil down to the people who read about X-Y-and-Z in some magazine without even having the business skills to realize that they just don’t have enough resources to leverage everything needed for X-Y-and-Z. Half of them don’t understand their real target audience or product, approximately 80% of employers (especially lone wolves) lack the resources to understand why it’s important to have coding standards or scope, almost all rarely last for longer than 2 years doing whatever it is they do, and when they express their business desires, they speak in generalities instead of having in-depth meetings to define business logic. Again, my experience, and I’m not talking about your fortune tens, like Google or whatever…

And for whatever it’s worth, the stable jobs I’ve seen and heard about usually have what I refer to as “cushion” for things like scoping, SDLC analysis, database administrators, professional development, etc. Oldies usually work in places like this, have retirement growth, medical insurance, and vacation pay. I have yet to see something like this with PHP being in the picture. The shops, jobs, etc. that are pro-PHP may exist, sure, but I have yet to see or hear about them, let alone hear about any substantial salaries arise from said possibilities (unless you’re a rare case, such as someone with unnatural abilities or a high impact profile like some of the people we read about on websites and whatnot).

But again…

My experience. :wink:

Those are some big generalizations. There are so many diverse types of organizations and software developers so to really say that ‘oldies’ work in places ‘like this’ or that you don’t see PHP in those pictures. Facebook was written in PHP wasn’t it? Twitter in Ruby?

And I could do without the word ‘oldies’ :slight_smile:

Facebook? Twitter? C’mon… How many people do you really believe is working on their PHP layer, and out of that population, how many of their people constitute more than 50% of the entire Facebook and or Twitter employee base? And didn’t I imply that I wasn’t speaking of the upper echelon companies who have 500+ million users and who are on the cutting edge of technology usage? :goof:

But maybe you’re on to something… After all, I can see Jo Schmo from Acme Company over in Ten-buck-Two Indiana coming up with the next garage-style breakthrough that makes him the next Facebook kryptonite… And all because he decided to stick with the Joneses with things like AJAX, mobile junk, social this, that, and whatever… :rolleyes:

It’s always “possible”, but a reality? Eh… The internet is the modern day 49er Gold Rush where the majority pan handlers are palming piles of fools gold… Maybe for people who have real experience, they strike big. Hey, maybe I’m not one of those guys, and if so, I can live with that! :slight_smile: Point being in any event that as I said above, these are rare cases and not the majority. Here I go again with disclaimer mode. I’m done.

Generalities? Maybe, but I’m willing to ante up on mine simply because… THESE HAVE BEEN MY EXPERIENCES. K? K… :smiley:

(And Sage, don’t put words in my text. I never said PHP wasn’t in the picture at all. Just stated my experience–again. I thought I left my statement open-ended like that enough to get that neutrality across? If not, my bad. Either way, I’m off to cook some dinner now. Tah-tah all.)

I’m not sure what it means to ‘put words in my text’ and I’m pretty sure my understanding of proper grammar exceeds yours.

But then, I’m just an ‘oldie’ who likes the ‘cushion’ of things like SDLC :slight_smile:

Sagewing… Buddy… Pal… Hombre. Ease up a bit. I wasn’t trying to offend ya. It’s okay if you’re pushing 100. You’re still young at heart. :slight_smile:


And these are the types of clients (companies) I usually end up working for. And I want to stop attracting them. They get too much into the buzzwords without talking much about the engineering of a project. But I’m just a 20-something who wants to go beyond coding for the sake of just getting something done and can’t seem to get a big break- I’d like to learn more about programming, not about languages. But as long as I only attract offers from chop-shop developers, I don’t have much of a chance to have a veteran take me under their wing. I’d like to go get one of the stable jobs like the ones you described while getting round the catch-22 of experience of the engineering or architecting required to do those jobs.