Friday, October 19, 2007

Can i be a programmer for life?

Quoted from -

"The two greatest gurus of software development in Malaysia, Ralph Tee and Marcus Low will address your concerns about the career path of a programmer. Having charted many successes in their careers and earning the accolade of being the brains behind cutting-edge Malaysian technology which had penetrated the international market, Ralph and Marcus will cut to the bone, challenge your beliefs and present their outspoken views on the following:

1. Is there a future to being a software programmer? (As Ralph puts it, have you ever met a 50-years-old programmer? Is your programming career over after 35?)

2. What does it take to be the best code guru?

3. What should you do and not do when you are applying for a programming job? If you are a programmer worth your salt, if you are a software developer who sees heaven in lines of code, this is a forum you cannot afford to miss."

Years back i was invited by JobStreet to give a talk on career as a programmer. This is one subject that is closed to my heart. Having worked and interacted with all kinds of programmers in Malaysia, I have identified and listed out various "mental" stumbling blocks and attitude that prevents a person from being a successful programmer which leads to a frustrating career.

So is programming a job for you? Watch the Videos below and download my presentation.
You will need to watch the video to interpret the powerpoint, else its gibberish. The first half of the talk was conducted by Ralph Tee, a respected programming guru that was the author of Armour Anti-virus back in 1993. For those who didnt know, Armour was the best selling antivirus from 1993-1996 up to a point where in 1995 the US defense ministry uses 1.5 million license of it (in a diff brand name ^_^). Ralph wrote tons of other programs and recovery tools that he never made public but very interesting. He currently runs his own company doing virtual Telekom mapping projects, POS malaysia and other project based stuffs.

Someone in the seminar wrote me this "what qualifications you have that Jobstreet labelled you Malaysia Top gurus in programming" Frankly, there is no way u can get yourself such a title being conferred by any organization. Its the people in jobstreet and their personal evaluation ^_^. Personally i feel that anyone's programming skill and worth is only measurable when its weighted on a global scale. When the result of your product is matched againts the borderless world, the demand for your product or your skills is put on the real scale.

Amazingly, one of those mentality problems malaysian programmers have is to quick to compare with local talents when the real standard is out there. Its okay when someone says "This mr.foreigner is a great programmer, one of the best". The moment you hear "This malaysian programmer is one of the best", arrows and backstabbing comments come flying. What profit is there when 2 proton car engineer argued on who designed the better proton model in the line-up? Here comes VW...

I would recommend anyone downloading the powerpoint presentation to bear in mind the principles involved, but the material itself is 3 - 4 years back, and in IT that is one whole life cycle. Today i would recommend "C#" as part of programmers foundation to work on.

Video1 (113MB) (right click and save)
Video2 (13MB) (right click and save)
Presentation (ppt)


  1. korang ni terror betul,aku dah mula stim sbab baca blog ni, terima kasih.

  2. a programmer for life? come on, kidding me? how do you live with the salary, unless i do rpg or cobol programming or those dinasour maintenance which financial institutions will pay, i cannot agree that programming is a good job.
    like what you said in ur slides dude, i went for sales instead.

  3. my cousin earns 7k on his 4th year of programming,so who say progamming cannot be serious job?? But he java-man platform from C/C++ background. mobile computing is raising the pay of java-man lately.

  4. Marcus is that you? how come it took you so long to come out with a blog?
    Thank you for helping out to solve my project bugs in 2005, i would have been fried = chaw yau yee.
    Wei, teach me how u solve that leak bug can? My team of 7 took 2 weeks also cannot figure out, apamacam you solve in 5 minutes.
    You still dotaing?
    - Ken (we go yumcha when nei free)