97 Things Every Programmer Should Know

(Chris Devlin) #1

Collective Wisdom from the Experts 37

  • henever you make a mistake, fix a bug, or run into a problem, try to W
    really understand what happened. It’s likely that someone else ran into
    the same problem and posted it on the Web. Google is really useful here.

  • A good way to learn something is to teach or speak about it. When people
    are going to listen to you and ask you questions, you’ll be highly motivated
    to learn. Try a lunch-’n’-learn at work, a user group, or a local conference.

  • Join or start a study group (à la patterns community) or a local user group
    for a language, technology, or discipline you are interested in.

  • Go to conferences. And if you can’t go, many conferences put their talks
    online for free.

  • Long commute? Listen to podcasts.

  • Ever run a static analysis tool over the codebase or look at the warnings
    in your IDE? Understand what they’re reporting and why.

  • Follow the advice of the Pragmatic Programmers* and learn a new lan-
    guage every year. At least learn a new technology or tool. Branching out
    gives you new ideas you can use in your current technology stack.

  • Not everything you learn has to be about technology. Learn the domain
    you’re working in so you can better understand the requirements and
    help solve the business problem. Learning how to be more productive—
    how to work better—is another good option.

  • Go back to school.

It would be nice to have the capability that Neo had in The Matrix, and simply
download the information we need into our brains. But we don’t, so it will take
a time commitment. You don’t have to spend every waking hour learning. A
little time—say, each week—is better than nothing. There is (or should be) a life
outside of work.

Technology changes fast. Don’t get left behind.

*ttp://www.pragprog.com/titles/tpp/the-pragmatic-programmer h

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