97 Things Every Programmer Should Know

(Chris Devlin) #1

(^36) 97 Things Every Programmer Should Know



Clint Shank

WE LiVE iN iNTERESTiNG TiMES. As development gets distributed across the
globe, you learn there are lots of people capable of doing your job. You need to
keep learning to stay marketable. Otherwise you’ll become a dinosaur, stuck
in the same job until, one day, you’ll no longer be needed or your job gets out-
sourced to some cheaper resource.

So what do you do about it? Some employers are generous enough to provide
training to broaden your skill set. Others may not be able to spare the time or
money for any training at all. To play it safe, you need to take responsibility for
your own education.

Here’s a list of ways to keep you learning. Many of these can be found on the
Internet for free:

  • Read books, magazines, blogs, Twitter feeds, and websites. If you want
    to go deeper into a subject, consider joining a mailing list or newsgroup.

  • If you really want to get immersed in a technology, get hands on—write
    some code.

  • Always try to work with a mentor, as being the top guy can hinder your
    education. Although you can learn something from anybody, you can
    learn a whole lot more from someone smarter or more experienced than
    you. If you can’t find a mentor, consider moving on.

  • Use virtual mentors. Find authors and developers on the Web who you
    really like and read everything they write. Subscribe to their blogs.

  • Get to know the frameworks and libraries you use. Knowing how
    something works makes you know how to use it better. If they’re open
    source, you’re really in luck. Use the debugger to step through the code
    to see what’s going on under the hood. You’ll get to see code written and
    reviewed by some really smart people.

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