"Learn to work even harder on yourself than you do on your job." - Jim Rohn.
For many working in software development, no matter what platform or language they're programming within, they rely heavily on their employer for their professional development. While there's nothing wrong with taking a reactive approach to your own professional development, relying on an Enterprise organization to create programs and offer training courses that are designed to improve your skills doesn't have to be the only way to improve your coding skills. There are many different ways that developers can take learning and development into their own hands. Whether you want to hone your skills and become a power coder in an existing development platform or learn other platforms and languages that you don't already know - here are a few things you should be doing in order to become better at your craft:
- Take ownership of your education.
In order to become a more refined coder, you must do your own research and become the catalyst for change in your organization. It's easy to do the same thing day after day. However, doing the same thing day after day and expecting some sort of promotion or raise isn't something that is likely to happen. Take the time to research classes and training on your own. Not only will this research allow you to create a program that's perfect for you, but it will show your employer that you take your skills seriously and want to be better. This type of initiative gets recognition - in the best possible ways.
- Become a Twitter Power User.
If you aren't already, connect to this major social network. There are literally hundreds of influencers on Twitter that are spreading blog articles, tips and other interesting information. Sign up for an account and start perusing hashtags. A list of the top hashtags in the development industry.
- #(Your Development Lanuage
These are just a few. You can literally search anything related to software development and join in on the conversation as you gain access to more and more educational resources.
- Take pride in your work.
This sounds basic, but it's a must. Your job isn't just a job. You're creating something amazing that's changing the world. It's something very few people have the ability to do. Why do you think there's such a major shortage of developers? Taking pride in your work means constantly researching, analyzing data, learning new programming languages, fixing bugs and maintaining your code. These things are absolutely necessary to be become a better programmer.
- Develop yourself before you develop anything else.
One of the most important parts of professional development is becoming more self-aware. This means being responsible, respectful, making the right decisions and taking ownership. Professionals do not allow stress or mounting pressure to impact how they perform. Professionals don't rush through code. Professionals don't stop learning. Professionals rise above department politics. In order to be a better programmer, you have to pay special attention to the small details in your day-to-day interactions.
- Just keep learning.
Once you're done with a course or program, don't just wait around until the next one comes along. Research immediately which one you'll be taking next. Read every possible resource, do more research and continue learning. There's no reason to stop, because when you stop, you stop getting better. The best programmers aren't just good at writing code by chance. They weren't just born with an innate competence. Being a great developer requires the right attitude towards education. Once you foster that learning mindset, never give up.
As Wallace D. Wattles said in The Science of Being Great: "If you will make the necessary effort, you can develop any talent." Being a better developer doesn't have to be difficult. By simply doing research, reading, taking regular IT training courses and having the right mindset, any developer can become better.
Don't you think it's time to develop yourself for a change?