Growing Your Developer Skill Sets & Career
People invest in a lot of things. For me, investment makes me think firstly of stocks, bonds, real estate and other assets. However, one common and overlooked investment that is crucial to your success, is yourself! Over the past couple years, I’ve made a conscientious effort to do just that. From eating healthy and working out, to expanding my knowledge and education in my career as a developer.
One of the easiest and best ways to grow your skill sets and knowledge is to learn from others. Everyone has something to offer, often times much more than you expected. In this spirit I joined my local PHP user group and went to my first meetup to join other like minded, (or not), developers. As a bonus, this was a special meeting as the Coder Rabbi was giving the night’s topic speech: “Talmudic Maxims to Maximize Your Growth as a Developer” aka his “Wisdom As A Service” tour.
Cultivate a mentor(s)
- Apprentice yourself to a mentor that you can lean on and learn from.
- Identify potential mentors, interact with them.
Acquire for yourself a colleague(s).
- Pair coding. Allows for unlimited opportunities to learn and grow in real time.
- Code review. Having your code reviewed and reviewing others’ code can have a substantial impact on your skills.
- Side projects with your colleague.
- Learning groups.
- Accept an apprentice under your wing. Teaching others often makes your knowledge grow and forces you to see it from the student’s point of view.
- Write and blog about your experiences and ideas. Share your knowledge with others.
Stay a part of the community
- Learn and share with and from everyone.
- User groups
- Virtual communities
- Contribute to open source projects
- Create open source projects
Endeavor to be someone – grow as a developer
- Push your boundaries.
- Check out other languages and how it solves problems.
- Consistent progression and continue growth.
- ABC – Always Be Coding!
- Your vocational coding should mimic your vocational coding.
- Rubber ducking. Explanation and verbalization improves your understanding and concentration.
- Pre-emptive commit messages.
- Diagram your solutions.
- Be disciplined about reviewing the diff before a commit.
- Code katas.
- Do not be timid.
- Ask for help.
- Share your experience and results.
- Take chances, though it main mean failure.
- Find your niche and be the best you can be at it.
As you can see, each point is a high level topic that could very well be its own blog post and discussion. Hopefully this gets the wheels turning and reignites your spark to grow, share, and advance yourself, and your career!