Several people responded, and we each have our opinions. After detouring through a clever (read trick) question about efficiency, one member floated an interesting proposal.
Why not get together, read a good book (like Andy and Dave’s The Pragmatic Programmer), and discuss a section or two? A small group of working and hobbyist coders would have time to do some code review and to share real-world experiences.
I’ve long argued that most professional software development lacks any kind of mentoring. Open source development (and not just Free Software development) can provide some of that — but we don’t go far enough.
I’m not sure what’s holding us back. Maybe it’s the general lack of discipline (as kicked off the thread). Maybe it’s cultural, based on a cowboy-frontier ethic. Perhaps the uncertainty surrounding intellectual property and idea ownership makes things tense.
Whatever the case, it’s nice to see that others recognize the need to improve the nature of software development and to discuss things as peers. Hopefully this idea will work out.
Are you involved in peering or mentoring? What’s your experience?