Home > Articles > Programming

"The Best Programming Advice I Ever Got" with Eric Lippert

  • Print
  • + Share This
Noted C# developer Eric Lippert shares some advice that has been useful in his career—not to mention his role in developing the first Lord of the Rings fan page back in 1993!
See more advice from other programmers here.

Like this article? We recommend

Like this article? We recommend

Read Essential C# 5.0 or more than 24,000 other books and videos on Safari Books Online. Start a free trial today.


Eric Lippert

Programming and Job Experience:

I am a Principal Developer on the C# compiler team and a member of the language design committee; previously at Microsoft, I worked on the design and implementation of VBScript, JScript, Windows Script Host, and Visual Studio Tools For Office.

Most Notable Achievement:

I was the first person to put a “The Lord of the Rings” fan page on the Internet; it was hosted on a Gopher server in 1993.

Most Frequently Used Programming Language:

C# of course!


When I first started full time at Microsoft in 1996, I was a fresh-out-of-college junior developer on the team that owned the VBScript and JScript compilers. I already had a pretty decent understanding of Visual Basic, but I knew nothing about JScript and I needed to not only learn the basics, but become an expert. My manager advised me to pick a relatively narrow area, say, JScript language semantics, and then find questions on the internet and within Microsoft that other people had on that topic. If I could answer the question, I’d answer it. If I couldn’t, then I’d research the question until I could definitively answer it. This paid off in more than just my increased expertise: I was learning a lot about JScript semantics of course, but I was also learning what problems our customers ran into most often. Moreover, I was improving our relationship with customers, some of whom were themselves experts. In fact, we ended up hiring one of those experts, who ended up being a fantastic asset for our team.

Back in 1990s, USENET newsgroups were the best source for customer questions; nowadays of course, we have resources like StackOverflow, which is a veritable firehose of high-quality questions and answers.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account