Improving Your Developer Skills
I’ve been asked twice this week by two different colleagues from where to start in order to improve yourself as a developer. This question is very tricky and probably you’ll hear a different answer from every person you ask it. Also, in reality the “recipes” you get won’t necessary work for every person but they can be guidelines for improvement. This is a short version of my recipe and what I told my colleagues.
This is an important thing to do when you want to improve yourself. If you want to learn something, a book in that area can help you to find all the details in one place. The problem is finding a good book to read which can become a very difficult thing to do. If you have friends that can recommend a book then probably it is a good one (cause you trust your friends (-: ). In the last half a year I read six different development books and they contributed a lot to my skills.
One of the things that lead me to my current position and knowledge was my MCPD certification. Since I wanted to test my knowledge, I went to those certification exams. I’m not saying that it’s a must for everyone but signing to an exam can force you to sit down and to learn the materials. Of course if you use brain dumps you will gain nothing out of the test and I didn’t use brain dumps in the learning process. When you pass a certification you can be sure that you understand some portion of the materials the exam checked.
Practice can lead to perfection. This statement isn’t a joke. If you don’t practice what you are learning you gain nothing. One part of my current job is a .Net instructor in Sela College. When I’m delivering a course I’m giving a lot of weight to lab practices. In the last course I delivered, when the labs started a few of the students just picked up their stuff and went home. When the course’s test came they failed and the students that stayed and practiced passed. The moral of this story is that with no hands-on (and of course with no study) you can’t succeed in the real world tests.
Blogs, Magazines and Development Sites
Every day I’m reading a few Blogs that I like. Also, if I can I read an article in on-line magazines and development sites. This is helping me to stay updated with technologies and with other people suggestions and thoughts. The problem is finding the better ones from the flood of sites and blogs in the internet. In that case again you can ask your colleagues what they are reading.
There are many other things like taking a mentor, working in a supporting company environment, lecturing and instructing (which force you to learn a lot in order to know what you are talking about) and more which can help you to improve your skills. When you start doing those things it won’t guaranty that you improve in the short time but it will indicate that you are passionate for your profession and in the long run you will gain a lot.