Programming Pearls

I just finished reading Programming Pearls (Jon Bentley, Second Edition, 239 pages). It was a great experience!

If you are a developer or have a degree related to Computer Science as I do (Computer Engineering, in my case), this can be a delightful way of reviewing some of the basics on solutions for interesting computing problems.

The author has lots of knowledge and experience in algorithm design and implementation, which surfaces up in a mostly inspiring way.

In my personal experience, I see that most professional programmers do not spend their days creating algorithmic solutions to real-life problems, but rather spend time in system’s design and architecture, integration between multiple components and API’s, bug fixing etc. In any case, studying classic algorithmic problems and different solutions to them is always useful. At a minimum, it stimulates problem-solving skills, and certainly adds creativity to when tackling other programming challenges.

I also find it very interesting to study algorithm design, data structures, the tradeoffs between space and time complexity, and the different variables incurring when creating software in general. The traditional sorting and searching problems, for example, and their best solutions, are always good starting points to think hard about programming.

As it is clear already so far, I really enjoyed the book. Even if I don’t program full-time anymore, and even if my personal interests are currently shifted more towards software products and entrepreneurship around them, this book resurrected in me some old admiration and respect for the basic programming skills that lay at the foundation of everything else, when it comes to software engineering.

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