What do I plan to do over the next 6 months to become a better developer

Fri, July 13, 2007, 04:29 AM under Career
After not doing memes for over 2 years, I broke my rule last December and yesterday; today I notice another one where I got tagged (thanks Raymond). So, this is the last meme I am doing for the rest of the year. Now I must tell you what I plan to do over the next 6 months to become a better developer (the format seems to be random so I'll take a wordy lengthy approach).

Well, I've never been involved in a large team project (>20 people), but I have delivered multiple projects (through multiple versions) where the team ranged from 1 to 12 people so I have drawn some conclusions for small projects (at most 100K loc) including the following 3 facts:

1. You do not need formal education or certifications to be a good developer; you just need a logical mind and a genuine interest in the field (and to be lucky enough to work on a handful of projects with talented people that are interested in mentoring you).

2. No matter what process/methodology/best practises/etc you use, the bottom line is that good talented people with a clear vision will deliver good results; the rest simply will struggle.
Another variation of striving for those things is when a talented good developer thinks he can improve others by sharing his knowledge via a methodology, when actually if his team has talent they'll get it right and if they don't then the rules won't help them either. Funny how the people touting a methodology are the ones that can make things work even without it..

3. If you don't understand the technical platform you are working with then you are probably going to be doing things in a suboptimal way and trying to fit old patterns to new paradigms.

Your mileage will vary of course, depending on how long you've been in the industry and the kind of projects you have worked on. I am certainly not projecting the above assertions on you, simply stating that for me personally, they hold true as facts. Moving on (hopefully without pissing too many people off ;)...

Considering points 1 and 2 above, I made the decision a little while back that I am as good/bad a developer as I was at that point and that I was not going to drastically improve/deteriorate from an algorithmic/design/management/performance point of view as years go by. Combining this decision with point 3 above, I decided that the only thing I need to do to stay at the level that I am today, is to keep abreast of all the new technologies that get thrown out from the various vendors. A long time ago (when funnily enough I was a Java developer) I decided to choose and commit to one vendor only: Microsoft.

To bring this blog post back to the meme and in conclusion, my personal choice as a developer is: Stay current with everything new on the Microsoft platform. That is what I've been doing for the last 6 months and this is what I am going to do for the next 6 months.

As to which bits of the Microsoft offerings I specifically focus on, well that varies and this blog is my documentation/sharing vehicle for some of the bits I play with... There is a pattern as to the things that interest me and you can infer that from the Categories on the left of this page. Hope this helps and stay tuned via one of the subscribe options also on the left :-)

In the spirit of the meme, I wonder what these guys' professional plans look like over their next 6 months:
[ Ian, Kenny, Mitch, Phil ] you are IT!
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