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This post could be viewed as hard lessons learned for newly graduated college students, entry-level programmers, or advanced developers who just want a chuckle.

I've been programming since I was 11 and I've loved technology and programming every since. There are some hard and easy lessons I've learned over time. As a fellow programmer, you may not have experienced these, but I'm offering them to individuals who are interested in learning more from my experiences.

I'll be updating this as time goes on. I may have more, but in my 20 year period, I don't think there are any additional rules that this list doesn't include. :-)

Here are my most memorable lessons so far.

1. Set a duration of how long you think it should take to solve a problem - C'mon, admit it! I'm just as guilty as the next programmer. I've seen programmers sit in front of a monitor for eight hours at a time trying to solve a particular problem. Set a time table for yourself of 1 hour, 30 minutes, or even 15 minutes. If you can't figure out a solution to your problem within your time frame, ask for help or research your problem on the Internet instead of trying to be super-coder.

2. A language is a language is a language - Over time, once you understand how one language works, you'll notice similarities between other languages. The language you choose should provide you with a suitable "comfort" level, the ability to produce efficient (and clean) code, and, above all, allow the language to suit the project and vice-versa.

3. Don't over-"design pattern" applications - Sometimes it's just easier to write a simple algorithm than it is to incorporate a singleton or facade pattern. For the most part, it even allows for cleaner, understandable code. :-)

4. Always backup your code - I've experienced a complete hard drive failue and lost a lot of code when I was younger and felt horrible because of what had happened. The one time you don't back up your data may be the one time where you have a strict deadline with a client and they need it tomorrow. Source code/version control applies here as well.

5. You are not the best at programming. Live with it. - I always thought that I knew so much about programming, but there is always someone out there better than you. Always. Learn from them.

6. Learn to learn more - With number five explained, I've always had a magazine or book in my hand about computers or programming (ask my friends, they'll confirm). True, there is a lot of technology out there and keeping up with it is a fulltime job, but if you have a smart way of receiving your news, you'll learn about new technology every single day.

7. Change is constant - Your knowledge of technology and/or programming should be similar to how you treat stocks: Diversify. Don't get too comfortable with a particular technology. If there's not enough support for that language or technology, you might as well start updating your resume now and start your training period. My general rule of thumb that has kept me going? Know at least two or three languages, so if one dies off, you have another one to fall back on while you train for a new technology.

8. Support Junior - Assist and train the junior/entry-level developers on good programming guidelines and techniques. You never know...you may move up in rank and you'll feel more confident having personally trained and prepared them for their next position.

9. Simplify the algorithm - Code like a fiend, but once you're done, go back through your code and optimize it. A little code improvement here and there will make support happier in the long run.

10. Document your code - Whether its documenting a Web Service API or documenting a simple class, document as you go. I've been accused of over-commenting my code and that's something I'm proud of. It only takes a second to add an additional comment line for each 3 lines of code. If it's a harder technique to grasp, don't be afraid to over-comment. This is one problem most architects, backup coders, and support groups don't complain about if you've done your job right.

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