- The older I get, the more I believe that the only way to become a better programmer is by not programming. You have to come up for air, put down the compiler for a moment, and take stock of what you’re really doing. Code is important, but it’s a small part of the overall process.
- What I am proposing is that we spend less time coding and more time developing skills in other areas that complement our coding skills. Become a better writer. Become a better speaker. Improve your personal skills. Participate in the community.
- Programming, like all writing, is just another form of communication. Writing code that the compiler understands is easy. Writing code that other people understand is far more difficult.
- You won’t– you cannot– become a better programmer through sheer force of programming alone. You can only complement and enhance your existing programming skills by branching out. Learn about your users. Learn about the industry. Learn about your business.
- The more things you are interested in, the better your work will be.
- Try to spend some time talking to people instead of the compiler. That’s how you distinguish yourself from your peers. And that’s ultimately how you become a better software developer, too.
- Ideally, you’d write code, and then write or talk about the code in a way that inspires and illuminates other people.
- And even if productivity isn’t an issue, the inevitable tides of our economy will be. You will at some point in your career be dealing with a tight job market. And it’s not your technological skills that will determine how well you succeed at those times.
- It’s your personal skills that will count. How well do you communicate? You should know how to present your ideas both to individuals and small groups. Can you write clearly and somewhat grammatically. Do you come across as confident in yourself and your abilities? Do you have leadership skills (that often translate into management skills)? Are you responsible? Are you a nice person to have around (or at least not completely repulsive)? Yes, there are those who are so technologically brilliant they can get away with caring just about technology, but for most of us these other skills are essential.
- So, as you go off to college, don’t let your technical classes get in the way of getting a good education. Take a writing class. Take a class or get involved in an activity that forces you to do some public speaking. Do some drama or improv. Join a club. Do some volunteer work. Do some tutoring. This kind of experience will have long term benefits to your career that you wouldn’t believe.