Tom Vincent

Essays on hacking, travel and self-improvement

Startup programming

Earlier in the year, I asked for advice on how to start a programming career in tech startups. Fast forward eight months; landing four job offers, numerous freelancing gigs and founding my own consultancy, here’s the advice I was given that has stuck with me:

The best way to get high quality attention these days is by maintaining a strong GitHub profile and communicating your skills via a blog. Contribute to any open source projects you love and make that fact public.

Learn Ruby (and by extension, Ruby on Rails), strengthen your HTML/CSS chops, know JavaScript inside out; keep your skills fresh, practice and read tech blogs.

Eat, sleep and breathe Test Driven and Behaviour Driven Development. It’s the way of the future for a long, long time.

Hang out at hacker events; go to conferences, hackathons and workshops. Make your presence known. People will be beating down your door to hire you.

Finally (and most importantly), don’t waste your time at companies who don’t practice pair programming in an agile environment. Pair programming is the fastest, most fun way to learn how to be a great programmer. It does wonders for your communication and teaching skills.

Everyone needs a programmer that can communicate well with others and collaborate to get things done.