Your Code is Your Resume, the Platform Should be Your Slave

I haven’t been posting lately since: a) I’m lazy and b) I’m about to switch jobs. Yeah, it didn’t last long. The good news is that I didn’t get fired and the next job will be challenging to say the least. The bad news is that I just might get fired if my code isn’t up to snuff. I’m pretty sure my code quality meets the low bar standard because I gave them the source to one of the applications I wrote. In fact, I did the same for my current job. As a matter of fact, the code hasn’t changed much since then since I’ve been busy on this job. So basically, one body of code, two jobs. Not bad considering that my lack of experience is a big negative.

If you’re aspiring to get a programming job (so help you God), having a body of work is important. The standard advice of contributing to open source projects certainly holds true. However, none of my stuff is open source. I OPENED the source for a limited few. Of course, there was nothing all that original to my code either. The only unknown left was really productivity (“Uhm yeah, we didn’t realize it took you 5 years to write that….). So it is also important to have a body of work that is unequivocally yours.

The bad news that ended up being good news is that I have to give up using a mac during working hours. As much as you my reader discount me as a mac fan boy, I was also a Windows user for close to a decade (Otherwise I wouldn’t be a mac fan boy). I’ve been clubbed in the head enough to know my way around Windows. Switching platforms wouldn’t be so bad if Microsoft Word and some email client was the tool of my trade. Unfortunately, I drank the kool-aid and was tied to a certain Cocoa-based editor.

The choice basically came down to: do you want to switch jobs AND platforms? I had to think long and hard on that one. I only chose to switch to Windows on the job because it came with the option of pretending to be on windows while doing all my programming on UNIX. So I’ve been using Vim to write code lately and I’m glad I switched even before actually switching. I’ll miss the pretty interface though.

The experience did make me a convert to the power of UNIX. I don’t ever want to tie myself to a single platform again and the only way to avoid is to delve a little more deeply into the land of *NIX. Now I don’t need a mac. I just need a shell into any standard server and maybe wget to download my .vimrc file & .vim directory. Unless you’re actually writing programs for the platform you shouldn’t tie yourself to any single one. It’s always good to have more options. I was already spending a lot of time in the terminal anyway. The god thing about OS X is that it allows for a nice, gentle path to enlightenment rather than something mashed into a pulp, crammed into a glass box, and reconstituted to look something like its original form.

Oh yeah, the Leopard transition (while painless for the Apple stuff) was a major headache for compiling stuff. They did some stuff to their API where I just couldn’t compile a lot of essential tools from source like before (yay for MacPorts). So much for the illusion of OS X as the ultimate UNIX distro. I’m sure these will get ironed out in time but it did make me scratch my head.

See you all next year! (I’m joking… I hope)