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Kernighan's lever
Everyone knows that debugging is twice as hard as writing a program in the first place. So if you're as clever as you can be when you write it, how will you ever debug it?


Pay close attention to what is actually being said: Having written code as cleverly as you can, you will suddenly face a problem that you are not clever enough to solve.

Kernighan's witty remarks provide a clue: In programming, as soon as you work at your current level, you will automatically end up in a situation where you have to work beyond your current level. By means of this very fortunate mechanism, you will leverage several basic human drives (honour, pride, stubbornness, curiosity) into providing the motivation necessary for improvement.

I call this mechanism Kernighan's lever. By putting in a small amount of motivation towards the short-term goal of implementing some functionality, you suddenly end up with a much larger amount of motivation towards a long term investment in your own personal growth as a programmer.
devel  software  debugging  advice  career  growth  kernighan 
september 2019 by kme
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