The Pragmatic Programmer

I finally found some time to start reading “The Pragmatic Programmer”.  I got through the first chapter, and I’m already hooked.  A lot of good information, and recommendations, presented in a clear and concise way.  Some great summaries of some things I’ve tried to do at work, including:

  • Fix Broken Windows – Don’t let small, broken things stay broken.  It degrades the overall impression of the project, and leads to more and more ignored problems
  • It’s Both What You Say and the Way You Say It – Make sure that when you’re communicating with people, either written or in conversation, that your tone is respectful and the message is clear.

The section I found the most valuable was the Knowledge Portfolio section.  I made the mistake of not putting enough effort into continuing my education after I landed my job.  I let the work be my sole teacher, where as I should have kept reading and trying other things outside if my job’s responsibilities.  Other books I’ve read have advocated that as well, but TPP provided great concrete examples, with links!  Some of the recommendations I get nervous about finding the time to do, but something is better than nothing, and I will try to accomplish as many of these as I can this year:

  • Learn at least one new language every year – This one seems daunting, but is probably the best suggestion.  I’ve done enough C# / Java, I need to branch into something different.
  • Read a technical book each quarter – I’m on my way to doing this one.  One a quarter is definitely doable.
  • Participate in local user groups – This one makes me nervous as well.  I understand the importance of networking, but I need practice.  I’ll try to attend at least one this year, a very low bar to set
  • Stay current – I read all day on the internet, and all night on my phone.  Might as well add some tech sources to my reading list.  Gladly, the book adds some recommendations.
  • Get wired – Join a newsgroup.  I think once I decide what language to try and learn, I will look for a newsgroup to join to keep me interested.

There were many more great suggestions and Tips, and I’m looking forward to the next chapter.

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