2011 is winding down and 2012 is upon us. Have you set any goals for 2012 both professionally/personally? Regardless of the answer, I’m sure one or two of the items listed below can help. I usually don’t blog many opinion posts, due to the fact that I like to keep my blog technical. This post is an exception. :)
11 Things every Software Developer should be doing in 2012.
- Get on Twitter – If you’re not using Twitter and are a Software Developer then you are missing out. I believe that Twitter is the one of the MOST important tool a Software Developer can use. Why?
- Regardless if you have 10 followers or 10000 followers, any coding question can be found and answered in a matter of seconds using Twitter Hashtags.
- Get software developer news straight from the source by following other developers.
- Again hashtags – To monitor topics important to you. For example, I use it to monitor #wp7, #silverlight and #wpf.
- To stay engaged in a conversation with other developers and to see what projects they are working on.
- Read StackOverflow Daily – StackOverflow is the number one forum for asking a coding question. Even if you don’t have an account, it’s worth it just for browsing questions and learning. I think it is a wise investment of your time to spend at least 20 minutes a day reading StackOverflow.
- Start a Blog – I believe that every Developer should have a blog. Why?
- It is a footprint that we leave for other developers studying our craft.
- It allows you to become engaged in the community.
- It helps you market yourself as a professional.
- Get out there – Get out of your shell and start talking to other developers at local user groups/other meet ups/conferences. I will let you in on a secret – most everyone is shy at first. If you start a conversation with them then it usually takes off very fast.
- Networking with other developers is big – really big. You start building connections in the industry and if you ever need help then you have someone to go to.
- Carry around a modern phone - If you’re a developer and carrying around an older phone then its time to upgrade. I remember a manager at one of my jobs that had to walk back to his desk to email me something. I remember thinking, “This guy is in IT?” Just like some industries you need to drive a fancy car, have nice clothes or the latest jewelry. In technology, we need to stay current with our computers, software and mobile phones.
- Embrace Mobile – Do you think this “mobile” thing is going away? Well, it is just getting started. You need to know more than how to develop for the iPhone, WP7 or Android. You need to learn how to create web applications that will run on every mobile device. (Including phones, iPads, Windows and Android slates). I believe that every developer will have to create a mobile application in his/her programming career. This is something a modern developer cannot ignore.
- Learn at least one design pattern- I am not going to tell you which one you should learn or focus on, but you need at least one. I prefer MVVM for myself because I am a Silverlight/WPF/WP7 Developer. If you are familiar with at least one design pattern then it would make me feel better about hiring you.
- I’d start with this book: Gang of Four – Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable OOS.
- Set reachable goals each and every year – Create a short-list of goals that you are looking to accomplish in the next year. Not only should you be challenging yourself with a set of goals, you should also create a quarterly outlook/Gmail reminder to evaluate your progress. I am a believer that you should start small with a goal and build up from there. I did this with my MCPD certification. I shot for the MCP, then MCTS then the MCPD.
- Learn a different programming language – Simply put, it broadens your perspective and permits a deeper understanding of how a computer and programming languages actually work.
- If the only tool you have is a hammer, you'll treat every problem as a nail.
- Boost your confidence – It always amazes me how few developers are confident in themselves. If you feel like you’re behind on something then learn it. I can’t find any excuse for staying ignorant in this industry. There is just too many FREE resources on the web.
- Read Blogs/Programming Books/Magazine – How many programming books have you read this year? What about good developer magazines? I believe a good developer would read at least 5 programming books a year and at least a magazine or two monthly. Even if you don’t have a subscription to MSDN you can get the .PDF for free a month after release. How can you get better if your not constantly reading?