17 September, 2006

How to Be a Better Developer

Steve Bayzl writes in his blog Petit ecureuil, 5 Easy Ways to be a Better Developer. Steve makes some very good points. Here is the list with my comments:
  1. Learn Ruby and Ruby on Rails: Steve's point is that you need to learn how to write clean and maintainable code. He is right on the money. It is simple: bugs need to be fixed, you will want to extend your app, and/or someone else is going to work with the code too.
  2. Read The Daily WTF?: I think the lesson here is learn from your mistakes and of others.
  3. Learn something new every week: Someone is doing something new and better everyday. I joked the other day that the Internet is moving so fast, we are now on Web 4.0. The point is that if you want a career as a developer, you need to be constantly learning.
  4. Understand customer wants != customer needs: A very wise observation. I have two comments -- First, one common situation is your customer comes to you to get a new tool to solve their business problem. What they really need is better management, better communication, and better processes. The best application in the world will not fix a management problem. Second, prototype solutions so you can test the viability before building. Usually customers cannot see the pro and cons of what they want until they can put their hands on it.
  5. Find some passion!: Having passion will definitely make 1, 2 and 3 easier. It will also help you find better solutions than the next guy. When hiring, you need to look past education and skills to character, including passion. These are the people that I want working on my team.

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