My company kindly bought a copy of The Pragmatic Programmer, 20th Anniversary Edition, for us all to share. Naturally, I'm hogging it 🐷
The word "Pragmatic" means "fit for it's use". This book is all about taking real-world scenarios to learn how to become the best programmers we possibly can.
The book isn't cheap, but that may be because it's filled with gold. As part of my learning and cementing of topics covered in the book, I'd like to present bit-sized chunks, as I go through them. This is the first.
- Care about your craft
- Think about your work
- Take responsibility
If you've chosen dev as a career (or perhaps just fallen into it), good for you! I hope you're enjoying it. This can be a career which not only rewards you well financially, but intrinsically too. You get to create and build, solve problems, and, if you're lucky, see how the things you create make the lives of others better.
This work is a craft: "a skill in doing or making something", which requires that you put in the effort to get better at it. Like other crafts, the more you mindfully apply yourself, the better you'll get at it, and the more rewarding it becomes.
This is your path to take: you need to be prepared to learn new things on your own time. If you're lucky, like me, your company will assign dedicated learning time every week. If your company doesn't do this (yet!) then try bringing it up: it's an investment by the company into the skills of the people working there which pays off not only through improved work output, but also increased happiness amongst the workers as they feel more fulfilled and challenged, and have a safe space to learn and fail (and learn by failing).
To that end: think about what you're doing. Don't just do it "the way it's always been done". Consider alternatives, or, at the very least, come to fully understand why it's "always been done that way". Perhaps there's a good reason -- or perhaps you can come up with something better!
Finally: take ownership of your career. If you make a mistake: own it. We learn through failure -- so try to figure out what went wrong and how to prevent it in the future. Stand tall and admit that, just like everyone around you, you aren't perfect, and you're on a long path of learning which is unlikely to ever end. If someone else makes a mistake, remember: you do too. Everyone does. So help your co-workers out: what can we all learn from the mistake? How do we prevent it from happening again?