My pragmatic programmer goals

In light of Tip 8: Invest Regularly in Your Knowledge Portfolio in The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master, I’m adding/copying these bullet points [from the book] for archival and sharing purposes.  Here goes:

  • Learn at least one new language every year. Different languages solve the same problems in different ways. By learning several different approaches, you can help broaden your thinking and avoid getting stuck in a rut. Additionally, learning many languages is far easier now, thanks to the wealth of freely available software on the Internet (see page 267).

  • Read a technical book each quarter. Bookstores are full of technical books on interesting topics related to your current project. Once you’re in the habit, read a book a month. After you’ve mastered the technologies you’re currently using, branch out and study some that don’t relate to your project.

  • Read nontechnical books, too. It is important to remember that computers are used by people—people whose needs you are trying to satisfy. Don’t forget the human side of the equation.

  • Take classes. Look for interesting courses at your local community college or university, or perhaps at the next trade show that comes to town.

  • Participate in local user groups. Don’t just go and listen, but actively participate. Isolation can be deadly to your career; find out what people are working on outside of your company.

  • Experiment with different environments. If you’ve worked only in Windows, play with Unix at home (the freely available Linux is perfect for this). If you’ve used only makefiles and an editor, try an IDE, and vice versa.

  • Stay current. Subscribe to trade magazines and other journals (see page 262 for recommendations). Choose some that cover technology different from that of your current project.

  • Get wired. Want to know the ins and outs of a new language or other technology? Newsgroups are a great way to find out what experiences other people are having with it, the particular jargon they use, and so on. Surf the Web for papers, commercial sites, and any other sources of information you can find.

It’s important to continue investing. Once you feel comfortable with some new language or bit of technology, move on. Learn another one.

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