Preparation, Presentation, and Passion

I’m a little behind on my posts for the last two weeks, in part because my work was kind enough to fly me and a few coworkers out to a conference. With some time to reflect on the sessions I attended, I learned a few things that I thought might be useful to others.

I’ve been to 5 developer conferences so far, and I’ve witnessed my fair share of exceptional speakers, mediocre sessions, and disaster-level presentations. One talk will have me completely entranced, and then next will knock me out like a bad flu and Nyquil. So what makes one talk better than another? Continue reading “Preparation, Presentation, and Passion”

Pair Programming: Accelerate Your Learning

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

– Benjamin Franklin

In a way, being a developer is like being a professional student. We don’t just educated ourselves and then spend the rest of our career’s using that knowledge. The dev world is just to vast and dynamic to sit and stagnate. Instead, we spend our time googling, reading, and prototyping. We test our limits and build new things, because that’s what truly successful developers do.

You don’t hear about that one developer who secluded himself in his cubicle, entrenched himself with narrow-mindedness, and strove for mediocrity. Or if you do hear about him, it’s usually not good. Noteworthy developers are constantly learning and thinking creatively. Great developers can impart their ever-growing knowledge base, as well as their desire for learning, to others. In that sense, great developers are both students and teachers. But how do you transition from a junior developer to a skilled, knowledgeable one? Continue reading “Pair Programming: Accelerate Your Learning”

The Default Developer Answer: It Depends

Development is filled with questions. What’s the best approach? What should I name my new object or class? Where is the best source for information? Depending on who you ask, you might end up with some opinionated answers; a few may even verge on fanatical. “C# is the best programming language, hands down.” “Only languages with managed runtimes are worth coding in.” “If we just had X, it would solve all our problems.” Unfortunately, answers usually aren’t so unconditional.

“Life isn’t black and white. It’s a million gray areas, don’t you find?”
― Ridley Scott

Continue reading “The Default Developer Answer: It Depends”

Developing Yourself: Sometimes Code Is Just Code

We’ve all written our fair share of code. Sometimes it’s elegant and well-reasoned, and sometimes it’s convoluted and flawed. No one is perfect. There will always be that moment where you look at code you wrote a year, a month, a day ago and say “What was I thinking?”

So it stands to reason when someone else is reviewing your code, or just happens to stumble upon it one day, they could have the same thought. Maybe they have a different solution in mind. Maybe they see a bug you missed. Maybe they just don’t like the way it reads. For one of a million reasons, they could decide your code is lacking in some way. And, in all likelihood, it is. 

Continue reading “Developing Yourself: Sometimes Code Is Just Code”

Developing Yourself: You Are More Than Just Your Code

There are plenty of amazing developers out there. They turn software development into an art form, designing elegant programmatic masterpieces in a fraction of the time.

Then there’s me.

Don’t get me wrong. I can whip up a new application, design a new web page, or test drive some new functionality in. It might take some time and/or googling, but I can definitely do it, and I’m sure most developers can say the same thing. Those technical skills develop (there goes my allotted pun for the post) with experience and time, hopefully into something at least approaching the level of talent I mentioned before.

But what about all the other skills?  Continue reading “Developing Yourself: You Are More Than Just Your Code”