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David MacIver on Life Skills for Programmers

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    Cedric talks to David MacIver about ways programmers harm themselves in their careers, mistakes non-technical people make when dealing with programmers, and what it was like pushing the boundaries of property testing.

    David MacIver is most known for pushing the adoption and ergonomics of property testing in software with his testing library Hypothesis. Hypothesis is well regarded and widely used in the Python programming language community, and it introduced a handful of innovations that are now quite widespread in the practice of property testing. You’ll hear more about Hypothesis during the podcast, as we talk about what he’s learnt pushing the boundaries of a domain. Then, we shift gears to talk about his coaching practice. David specialises in helping programmers with self improvement, more effective learning, and developing soft skills, which many computer programmers are likely to struggle with, in ways that may limit their careers or their personal development.


    A full transcript is available here: Transcript of David MacIver on Life Skills for Programmers.



    Show Notes

    David’s Substack —
    David’s Twitter —
    Hypothesis —, docs:
    Ethics of False Negatives in Interviewing —
    Life as an Anytime Algorithm —
    If You’re Stuck, Try Something Different (on chopsticks) —
    How To Do Hard Things —
    Stargate Physics 101 (fanfiction) —
    David on why people struggle with mathematics —
    How to Explain Anything to Anyone —


    0:00 Introduction
    1:09 What Hypothesis Is
    3:47 The Story of Hypothesis
    6:43 Hypothesis’s Contribution to Property Testing
    12:51 Exploring the Design Space for Hypothesis
    17:24 When David Knew He Was On To Something with Hypothesis
    20:35 From Hypothesis to Coaching
    25:21 Emotional Reactions as Legacy Code
    29:08 Why David’s Approach to Self Improvement Works for Programmers
    31:15 Ethical Problems with Optimising False Positive in Hiring
    37:44 Ways that Programmers Harm Themselves in Their Careers
    43:28 What Non-Technical People Get Wrong when Dealing with Programmers
    48:00 Applying Lessons Learnt from Hypothesis to Coaching
    50:03 Rigour in Self Improvement Writing
    56:30 Explaining Computers to Non Technical People
    01:02:55 The Nature of Mathematical Expertise
    01:11:32  David’s Practice with Teams and Organisations
    01:14:23 Getting Better at Sprint Planning

    Originally published , last updated .

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