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Can you talk the programming techno talk?


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#1 rAm_y_   Members   -  Reputation: 485

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 09:14 AM

If you go onto the SE/SO site it's amazing and quite off-putting some of the answers. The level of knowledge and terminology some people know is quite amazing. 

 

Maybe that just comes with knowledge and practice but I don't think I could reach that level or convey that level I should say. 

 

 

(editor's note: SE/SO refers to "Stack Exchange" and "Stack Overflow")


Edited by swiftcoder, 25 February 2014 - 03:55 PM.


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#2 Rld_   Members   -  Reputation: 1526

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 09:42 AM

As with most things, knowing the terminology comes with time. You most likely don't know it because you never used it before and don't need it (yet) and sometimes you already know it, but you simply didn't know the right terminology or used the wrong one.

 

I think we've all been there and the best thing you can probably do is to read the context, figure out what they're on about in general and try to imagine what it might be. Google is also still your best friend, so searching for the meaning of something is always a good idea to put things more into perspective. If you still don't get it, ask yourself if you really need to and move on if not and keep on doing your thing. At some point, you will get there!



#3 Álvaro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 13934

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 09:52 AM

It is impolite to use abbreviations without introducing them. Some of the people reading your thread might not think immediately of what "the SE/SO site" means. I guess you are talking about "Stack Exchange" and "Stack Overflow". So instead of saving yourself a few keystrokes you could save others some confusion.



#4 SeanMiddleditch   Members   -  Reputation: 7261

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 10:49 AM

Some of the people reading your thread might not think immediately of what "the SE/SO site" means.


See? You already know techno-jargon that others don't! smile.png

#5 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 10444

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 11:13 AM

90% of being successful in the tech industry is being able to convey deeply technical concepts to non-technical people (i.e. without jargon). Managers, executives, QA (quality assurance), UX (user experience)... none of these people are engineers, nor necessarily well-versed in whatever it is you do on a daily basis.

 

I'd worry less about picking up the jargon than about being about to convey engineering concepts in plain english. And, you know, Google is really good at looking up acronyms.


Tristam MacDonald - Software Engineer @Amazon - [swiftcoding]


#6 Bregma   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5499

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 11:39 AM


Some of the people reading your thread might not think immediately of what "the SE/SO site" means.

Thank you.  I assumed that because it used the abbreviation "SO" it had something to do with marital relations and was disappointed it did not have a linky I could paste into my anonymous browser window.


Stephen M. Webb
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#7 DocBrown   Members   -  Reputation: 273

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 01:37 PM

SE/SO is where highly intelligent programmers go to get back at all the kids who bullied them in school.  If you happen upon SE/SO to find an answer to a question, or look up some other bit of material you'll probably miss this point.  Those that frequent it regularly though, have probably seen the divide in almost elementary school-level antics and drama that swirl within the moderators and top users. 

 

It is of no misunderstanding that the SE/SO veterans are good at what they do and highly intelligent, however most are condescending in their answers, as some even to the point of harassing or insulting - for this, while I browse SE/SO, I very rarely ever post - to avoid some sex-deprived DBA for laughing at me because I didn't use the word tuple instead of trying to describe an unordered set. 

 

A good example of this is Jon Skeet, the often-sung superstar of SO.  He knows his shit, I enjoy the books and blogs that he's written, he's very precise with his answers and his knowledge of C# is probably unmatched.  However, he's a complete dick.  Time and time again I've viewed him giving answers on SO that were, for-lack-of-a-better-word, cruel.  It is for this, that while his skill in undeniable, if he ever walked into my office for an interview I'd walk him back out as that level of solo heroism has no place in enterprise development. 

 

You find this a lot on SE/SO, and if you plan to play with the big-dogs I'd suggest learning the academia portion of computer science just as much as the applied portion - that and a bit of Shakespearean satire.


Edited by DocBrown, 25 February 2014 - 01:40 PM.


#8 krinosx   Members   -  Reputation: 565

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 02:13 PM

Humm and.. what SE/SO means?



#9 Lactose!   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 3836

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 03:40 PM

Humm and.. what SE/SO means?

 

 

It is impolite to use abbreviations without introducing them. Some of the people reading your thread might not think immediately of what "the SE/SO site" means. I guess you are talking about "Stack Exchange" and "Stack Overflow". So instead of saving yourself a few keystrokes you could save others some confusion.

Álvaro had it right.



#10 jHaskell   Members   -  Reputation: 1109

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 04:00 PM

90% of being successful in the tech industry is being able to convey deeply technical concepts to non-technical people (i.e. without jargon). Managers, executives, QA (quality assurance), UX (user experience)... none of these people are engineers, nor necessarily well-versed in whatever it is you do on a daily basis.

 

I'd worry less about picking up the jargon than about being about to convey engineering concepts in plain english. And, you know, Google is really good at looking up acronyms.

 

No no.  You have it all backwards.  90% of being successful in the tech industry is flaunting your superiority over all other co-workers by making sure none of them have a clue what you're talking about.  Then, when you're finally let go for not being a team player, you can take comfort in the fact that it was really all their fault for being unable to understand you. </jest>



#11 Nathan2222_old   Members   -  Reputation: -400

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 04:47 PM

And, you know, Google is really good at looking up acronyms.


you know that techno (part of his thread name) is a phone company?

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#12 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 10444

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 06:27 PM


you know that techno (part of his thread name) is a phone company?

I do know that, but I'm far from convinced that is what this thread is about...


Tristam MacDonald - Software Engineer @Amazon - [swiftcoding]


#13 ultramailman   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1587

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 06:42 PM


(editor's note: SE/SO refers to "Stack Exchange" and "Stack Overflow")

 

Why not inline it?



#14 Nypyren   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4824

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 06:59 PM

I always just tell them to "Tighten up the graphics on level 3."



#15 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 10444

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 07:09 PM

 


(editor's note: SE/SO refers to "Stack Exchange" and "Stack Overflow")

 

Why not inline it?

 

I don't like to muck with posts more than is necessary.


Tristam MacDonald - Software Engineer @Amazon - [swiftcoding]


#16 BHXSpecter   Members   -  Reputation: 1676

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 08:04 PM

Just because a person knows the terminology though, doesn't mean they are good at programming. I know a few programmers who have done it for years and don't use the terminology that much. SE/SO are great sites, but if you remove the terminology, the benefit of the site(s) is the help they give for your questions.


"Through vengence I was born.Through war I was trained.Through love I was found. Through death I was released. Through release I was given a purpose."


#17 richardurich   Members   -  Reputation: 1187

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 10:23 PM

Unfortunately, speaking the techno talk does matter. Many companies have a hiring practice where any member of the team interviewing can reject any candidate for any reason. I failed to get a job as a result of failing to know various definitions in one such interview. I could explain the concepts, but the interviewer insisted I provide names instead of explanations of the concepts. I only got to find out he was the sole objection because the guy that conducted my phone interview earlier apparently had enough pull to get a different manager to just create a position for me. After I started, the people that interviewed me told me what happened. I'm pretty sure I've failed other interviews for the same reason, especially one with Microsoft during college, but I can't be 100% sure.

 

I still suck at definitions and techno babble, and probably always will. Fortunately, it seems the companies with the most interesting jobs and the best people to work with care a lot more about concepts than specifics. They'd rather you know how to explain a concept than recite a definition. They'd rather you know how to learn any random API quickly than that you already know the exact one they're using this week.



#18 BHXSpecter   Members   -  Reputation: 1676

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 11:53 PM

Well a company requiring it doesn't mean it matters. If that was the case, a BSc in CS would matter and make it so that most of us who program without ever going to college would be out of luck. This is what Bjarne Stroustrup told me in a email when I was talking terminology and seeking his advice last month.

 

 

 

Don't get distracted, confused, or intimidated by fancy wording.

Edited by BHXSpecter, 26 February 2014 - 08:22 AM.

"Through vengence I was born.Through war I was trained.Through love I was found. Through death I was released. Through release I was given a purpose."


#19 tonemgub   Members   -  Reputation: 1164

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 01:16 AM


A good example of this is Jon Skeet, the often-sung superstar of SO.


It is for this, that while his skill in undeniable, if he ever walked into my office for an interview I'd walk him back out as that level of solo heroism has no place in enterprise development.

Wow. You sounded just like him right there.



#20 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 21195

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 01:55 AM

Terminology does two things:

A) It terrifies or confuses those who don't know that particular piece of jargon, making the subject seem more difficult than it really is.

B) It provides a very useful shorthand for discussing the subject with other experts in the same field.

 

It's definitely important to be able to explain technical terms in simple language. Sometimes this is difficult, because some technical terms have prerequisite knowledge, so you end up explaining the jargon by using jargon that you have to define by other jargon to eventually get to the english. But this is also the strength of inspeak - it's not just shorthand for one concept, but it can be shorthand for a concept built upon other concepts, which might in-turn be built upon more concepts. So in a single word you can, among people who both already understand the terminology, refer to a complex subject. Jargon becomes the "simple english" for what would otherwise require lengthy discussion to get two experts to be on the same page with each other.

 

It's a conversation compression algorithm. laugh.png

A type of substitution: compress [complex subject requiring ten minutes of conversation] into [single phrase]. But this only works if both members of the discussion already know that [single phrase] expands to [complex subject].

 

It's very useful. TV Tropes is the same type of system. Video game genres (FPS, MMORPG, Rogue-like) and book genres (SciFi, Biography) are also terms that describe a takes-ten-minutes-to-explain subject in a single word or phrase.

In my family, we often hold discussions with loads of shorthand gained from shared knowledge or shared experiences, sometimes having conversations so complex (that all of us understand perfectly) and at such a fast pace, that on several occasions outsiders have thought we were speaking a different language (and in a manner of speaking, we were!). tongue.png

Though that might be partially because we have a funky family accent though when we start talking fast. rolleyes.gif

 

When answering beginner questions in the For Beginner subforum, I try to resist using too many technical terms, but I also make an attempt to introduce a few terms when explaining a concept. "Blah blah (also known as Foo) might be useful here to you...", to teach the inspeak so their googling, and communication with other developers, provides more fruitful results.

 

Using too many technical terms can demotivate people by making them think they are "too stupid" to learn such a "complex" subject - not realizing that memorizing shorthand has nothing to do with intelligence, and instead is just accumulated knowledge.

 

I don't find Stack Overflow more technically knowledgeable or more experienced than many of the people I interact with here on GameDev. I do find Stack Overflow to be a bit more technical-nazi-esqe, and feel that the site's format unintentionally promotes a dictionary knowledge of jargon and 'first post'-ing rather than a community of explanation and encouragement. They tend to write like wikipedia articles, and I feel they aren't always writing to help the asker (and later readers) understand, they are writing so their peers will upvote them. And to stand out from the other answerers, they have to make their answer longer and better formatted, and then copy+paste details from other answers so their answer is the most 'complete'. This works great for the end result (easily googable answers to specific questions), but badly for the community built around producing that result. sad.png

 

Okay, so I unintentionally do the same thing (longer and better formatted posts) here on GameDev.net also... but my primary motivation in responding is helping the individual (I hope), and the length of my posts mostly comes from a lack of skill in being succinct rather than trying to stand out.

I just feel odd in Stack Overflow, like the extrinsic motivators are forcing me to conform to a less-human and more-sanitized and 'dressed-up' but ultimately fake attitude. I feel like the design of Stack Overflow unintentionally encourages the users to treat each other as part of a system rather than part of a communitymellow.png

 

It's that the community of Stack Overflow competes with each other for who can come up with the 'best' answer, rather than cooperate with each other to share common knowledge or discuss and explain a topic.

On GameDev.net (and in other forum-like systems), we often build off of each others' posts. In Stack Overflow, they sometimes steal each other's post content and reword it to expand their own answers to be voted above each other. The site's design encourages this kind of behavior; it produces results, but not community (a little bit of community exists there despite the system, but isn't strengthened by the system). Leastwise, that's my opinion, analysis, and criticism of Stack Overflow.

 

Other sites within the Stack Exchange network seem to do alot better community-wise, especially when the site's topic is more subjective, and the site size is smaller.


It's perfectly fine to abbreviate my username to 'Servant' rather than copy+pasting it all the time.
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