This is a continuation from my top 10 programmer hacks which can be found here.
6. To Learn Any New Language, Re-Write A Few Tools You’ve Done In The Past
Most developers will learn about 3-4 languages (in detail and depth) throughout their careers. Mostly now-a-days, you will need to know Javacript for web work, then you will need to choose a server-side language, and then you will most likely need to learn Java or C++ to do any type of mobile or regular software work. And perhaps a functional language to prove how smart you really are. 😉
Now the key to mastering any language is to get some experience working with it. I highly recommend re-writing a few simple tools (nothing too large) in the target language you are attempting to learn so it will give you a good feel of how things will be like, and how to just do things in general. You’ll find that this is a great exercise and you will walk away with a much better understanding and intuitive sense of the language.
7. Be Willing To Learn From Others
When I first began my career as a developer, I would exclusively build all my own tools without looking at other people’s code, without talking to people.. and also without really doing that much research in general. What I found from this approach was that I was able to build things via my own method and it came about with a bit originality. However there were many times when I was doing things inefficiently and how they could have been improved if I just had read through some other code from what others have worked on (things that were similar). You can save yourself much headaches and frustrations down the road if you learn from others.
8. Never Stop Learning
As a developer, you must know you’re the quintessential knowledge worker. Your job is to gain domain knowledge and expertise of tools so you can turn some commands/logic into a working product. Insomuch that you’ll be constantly learning new tools and frameworks on a constant basis. The developer that halts his learning and says to himself… that’s enough for me, is the developer soon to become a dinosaur as new tools and developments rise to take place of existing ones. If you’re not the type that is curious and willing to learn new things, via tinkering, via reading, via watching, via any means of absorbing knowledge necessary, then you’re not the type to become a great developer.
9. Be Ready And Willing To Experiment At All Costs
One of the most important aspects of being a developer is the ability to experiment with tools, ideas, theories and methods in such so that you can learn what is xyz and what it is for, and how best to use it, etc. The only way to gain such knowledge is to be constantly experimenting with things. You’ll never know until you do, and you’ll
10. Always Keep Practicing
Software development is much like playing a sport or an instrument. The only way you get good, is through repeated doing. And the way to get bad at it is to stop doing, obviously. So in general, keep building things. Keep writing scripts. Keep writing tools for yourself, and for others. Keep contributing to open source projects and just stay active. Start many projects but always aim to finish what you start. And always, keep learning.
And there you are. There are my 10 most practical programmings hacks that if you keep in mind and utilize all of these, you will surely become the developer wizard that you aspire to be!