Secret to being a good developer

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Secret to being a good developer
Published in Oakville Today | about 1 year ago

There's a secret on how to be a good developer. I share my thoughts on the subject here.

I'm sharing an email I wrote to a student of mine.  She asked me how she should go about learning more about a particular technology.  See my answer below:

Hi <student_name>

Yes, self learning is probably the most important skill to have to become a developer. The best way to learn is to practice either on your own projects, practice on volunteer projects, or practice on the job.

Having said that, pick the technology you want to learn. Is it WordPress? Python? Angular? React? something else? Once you've selected what you want to learn, take a look through their "getting started" guides. Usually their getting started guide walks you through a few basic things like how to make a Hello World app, how to create a simple page, how to create simple interfaces etc...

Along the way, you will run into problems. Write down all the questions you have. Come up with ideas on what you think the cause of your problem might be, then design experiments to test your ideas. Be prepared for experiments to give you results you never expected. But with each new finding you should get closer and closer to the answer. Make use of websites like stackoverflow.com where you can ask people questions and get feedback. Sometimes people will use words or concepts that you don't understand. Write those down, and again, come up with ideas on what you think they might mean, design experiments to test your ideas, repeat, repeat, repeat. After a couple of months of practicing on your own, you'll start to feel very good. The SECRET to being a good developer is a lot of time, patience, hard work, and RELENTLESS INVESTIGATION (via scientific method).

If you can get a senior developer to review your projects once every week or two weeks, that can also help a lot! Because they will tell you how people in industry typically do what you've been attempting and give you a sense of direction.

Hope that helps!