brief facebook commentary in response to I'm supposed to give a talk on software stuff to college students Wednesday. Kind of a "things that would have helped to know before my first job." What would you put in there?:
possibly they already read "the mythical man month". now they just have to learn to actually believe that most of what he says in that book is relevant; most of what you do in colege is one person doing a project. almost nothing in paid software is that, even when you're the only programmer; use version control goddamnit; if 5 different people/groups have written some thing, and you don't like any of them and are going to write your own thing but "do it right this time", well there's 5 examples of people who tried to do it right and failed so you're feeling pretty cocky, aren't you? when your boss asks you "can we do X" and your answer is "yes (given 10 years and 50 developers)", your boss heards "yes (i can have it tomorrow)".
also, accept that you will not write bugfree code. its not a sign of being a pussy. its how code is. write tests. or, if you think you can write bugfree code, bet someone your next paycheck that its bugfree, if you're so confident. use the machine as your helper for that , and ge tin the habit of 1000 unit tests run while you go take a shit. i mean, before you commit your code.
(run the unit test son the other pussy's commits at least, and find the bugs they committed and make it seem like you are amazing)