Please, stay on technical issues, avoid behavior, cultural, career or political issues.
Some of these have been posted already, but here is my list:
- Build to the requirements, don't add things you don't need, especially if you "think" you will. If you need it later, add it then.
- How to use Google search. Don't bother your co-worker, until you've looked.
- Don't be clever.
- It's not done till it's meets ALL the requirements, tested, documented, and checked into SVN.
- Proper coding standards, eg: naming conventions
Can't comment yet, but on the topic of "Testing and debugging skills", this little gem by Ned Batchelder is a must-read. (Then gain, much of what he has to say on debugging and assertions is worthy of consideration.)
I can't say how many times simple regular expressions converted data that people thought would take days to manipulate. It must be present in every programmer toolbox.
Sure, we can't forget xkcd:
There are some very good suggestions here, but I'm surprised no one has mentioned the excellent series of articles by Ulrich Drepper: What every programmer should know about memory.
every programmer should have a firm grounding in software engineering, and also system analysis/design and information systems concepts. this way if they are called upon to contribute substantially to systems analysis/design and/or information architecture, they will be in a position of knowledge + opionion..whereas normally it seems to be just personal opinion that usually simply stems from personal preferences instead of best problem solution. software engineering is a bit harder to measure, but the pre-requisite knowledge is available out there, and at suitable university degree courses where they teach more than just how to cobble a bit of code together. anyway this is not meant to be negative because the main spirit is but improvement, but then i've worked with some people who have no IT knowledge whatsoever or there's the single minded "script kiddies" that code and re-code (and only in their language of choice) and only see every problem as a repeat of previously applied solutions (by that coder.) so i would much prefer if programmers concentrated more on the larger picture in terms of software engineering (SSADM) and looked at problems as opportunities to do better for the client.
It stands in a few letters, really:
Ok, I'm over-simplifying, but basically if you are pretty autodidact, never stop to learn, and are a bit of a perfectionist, you should have the basis to become a good programmer.
Anything beyond that would be more specific to particular roles and technologies.
Every programmer should bind FindNextSelected and FindPreviousSelected actions (visual studio) to keyboard keys (preferrably F4 and F2). You get two things from that:
- Faster way to navigate between different points of variable/function/substring usage (faster than with "Find all references")
- Possibility to diff things inside one document. By jumping back and forward while searching some substring you can see the differences between different locations. No need to use Winmerge when need to compare parts of the same document.