I find that I learn development by doing, doing wrong, then fixing, then learning a better way. One example is the use of master pages on my web site. I wanted to learn the new technology, break it, fix it, then figure out a better way. I think that’s why I do so many different prototypes and always seem to have 3-4 pet projects on the go.
JP Boodhoo has posted two of the best posts I have read regarding improving yourself as a developer:
The real crux of the quest, as I see it, having both discipline and passion. Scott Hanselman‘s recent podcast about Hiring and Interviewing Engineers hit it on the head. You just can’t teach height.
One question I have been asked is what books/resources should a developer use/read to improve. I would put them in this order:
- A blog aggregator
- Code Complete (low level, gets you past being a cowboy coder and better prepared to be a developer in a team environment)
- A book on Design Patterns (GOF, Head First Design Patterns come to mind)
- Antipatterns (Definitely helps temper Paternitis)
- Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture
- A Refactoring book or three (Refactoring to Patterns, Refactoring – Improving the Design of Existing Code, Working Effectivey With Legacy Code)
- As many technology books as you can get your hands on
I’d be really interested in seeing other people’s lists. There are tonnes of good developer books/resources out there I haven’t read and the budget for books is looking good this year.