There are three parts to the programmer's creed.
- Part 1: I, [state your name], do solemnly swear that I will read directions carefully and follow them. This is extremely important, because much of computer programming requires that everything be set up perfectly for anything to work. Here is an example of what I am talking about. In a moment we are going to go out on the Web and download the Java compiler. In one part of the process you are going to have to unpack a file. If you don't read the instructions and you unpack it improperly, nothing will work. Then you are going to have to change your PATH environment variable. If you do that incorrectly nothing will work. Then you will be warned NOT to unzip a second file. If you instead unzip it, nothing will work. Finally, you will have to unzip the documentation files. If you do that improperly you will have no documentation. Everything you need to do will be clearly stated, but if you do not read the directions carefully you will miss a step and nothing will work. When things don't work, many, many people simply give up. They fail to become computer programmers as a result. Don't let that happen to you. Don't give up -- read directions carefully. If something does not work, assume that it's because you misread something and try again before you blame someone else or give up.
- Part 2: I, [state your name], do solemnly swear to read the documentation and attempt to work out problems myself before I go pestering someone else with questions. This is a very hard thing to do at first because it requires discipline. Nonetheless, get yourself into the habit of trying to solve your own problems by reading before you go find someone and pester them with questions. The reasons this is important are, first, because you will learn more that way, and second, because you will gain much more respect that way. There is nothing worse to an experienced programmer than a whiney new programmer pestering you with questions that the new programmer could have easily answered by reading for five minutes. On the other hand, there is nothing more rewarding to an experienced programmer than helping a hard-working new programmer who has done a lot of research and legwork but is truly stuck on a tough problem. Get yourself into that "rewarding" category and you will earn a lot of respect from the programmers that you work with.
- Part 3: I, [state your name], do solemnly swear that I will help other programmers once I become one. It would be impossible for you to learn to program unless someone (like me) helped you to get started. You will read things written by other programmers, use code created by other programmers, ask questions of other programmers... You have to do your part by contributing back to the community. Once you figure it out, help others.
From How Stuff Works, 2002, permission requested.