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Catalin Rosu, a.k.a Red, is a professional web designer and developer who loves to be creative and enjoys CSS techniques. You can find articles and tutorials on front-end web development by visiting his blog at red-team-design.com. Also, you can connect with him on Twitter as @catalinred. Catalin is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 26 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Thoughts on Becoming a Better Developer

04.09.2013
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I ask myself this question quite often. What it takes to become a better developer? Not a ninja, guru, master or whatever, but just a better developer. I’m talking about how to improve and learn more every day.

Become a better developer

So, it’s about the diversity of knowledge you have, it’s about staying up-to-date with latest technologies and standards? Or maybe just sticking at what you’re doing best and keep practicing makes you call yourself a good developer.

Disclaimer. I know everybody has an opinion on how to become a better developer or designer. This article contains some of my personal thoughts, things that worked for me and I hope you’ll find them useful as well.

Stay up-to-date

Couple of months ago, Louis Lazaris wrote a good article on staying up-to-date with latest development and tech news. There are some good resources there, you may want to check if you missed something to subscribe to. ;)

Also, I’m sure this comprehensive resources list made by Elijah Manor will definitely help you add more bookmarks.

Get motivated

The best way to learn is to teach.

A friend asked me a while ago what motivates me to write articles here. My reply was simple: because I enjoy it. I don’t write on rocket science here, but I do like to learn stuff by teaching it and that’s a pretty darn good motivation for me.

Be part of the community

  • Are you a designer? You must be on Dribbble. It’s amazing what people can share there and it’s a great place to learn from the best.
  • Are you a developer? Then you must try GitHub, there are so many great projects you can fork and contribute to.
  • Need answers to your development questions? Stack Overflow is the place where all your questions get answered. Go further and answer to questions people ask, it’s a great way to learn stuff.
  • Are you even a human being? Then Twitter is the place where you can interact with all your favorite devs.

Google is your friend

Seriously, whenever you need a friend who can give you a good advice, Google will not disappoint you. Ask him first. I receive a lot of emails with all sorts of questions and unfortunately, I don’t know all the answers but Google does. :)

Learn how, when and why.

Beginners know how. Professionals know when. Masters know why.

The above is not really a learning quote, but it inspired me a lot and maybe you’ll find it interesting too. It often pops up in my mind when trying to learn something new.

Read, read and… read

Whether is The Art of War by Sun Tzu or a CSS/JavaScript/PHP book, it’s important to keep on reading. It’s no secret that you cannot read a book without learning something.

Less is More

Now, I’m curious about whether this principle applies here too. Do you have to learn about more technologies/programming languages or just try to focus on what you’re doing best and try to improve more and more?!

Although knowing bits from different languages/technologies is always a plus, it’s important to have an area where you’re very good at it. That’s why, besides trying to go deep into other stuff, remember to keep practicing and improve what you’re doing best.

Use the force

When everything fails, use the force!
Use the force!

Conclusion

The reason I wrote all of these is because lately I find myself a bit overwhelmed on the amount of the new stuff which is found in the wild every day. I’m amazed by the tutorials I found about on Twitter and I feel like I’m quite obsolete sometimes :)

Also, while I try to learn something new every day, I have a strange feeling like I’m not doing enough, I’m not dedicating enough time for improving my skills. Do you feel the same, or am I the only one crazy here? :)

So, what to you do to stay fit?

Published at DZone with permission of Catalin Red, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)

Comments

Arun Sharma replied on Wed, 2013/04/17 - 11:29am

 I am crazy too.. Feeling exactly like you...

raoul ghosh replied on Wed, 2013/04/17 - 1:14pm

the key is not to move around randomly in the space, but to have some focus. for example, i'll only focus on a few topics at any given time and ignore everything else. once i'm reasonably comfortable, i'll pick up something new. this makes filtering the amount of new data you expose yourself to, easier. 

Siew Ling replied on Wed, 2013/04/17 - 8:01pm

 I have the same feelings too.

Catalin Red replied on Thu, 2013/04/18 - 2:30am

Hey guys, thanks for your comments. I'm glad too see I'm not the only one "crazy" here.

Catalin

Youssef Ghoubach replied on Sun, 2013/04/21 - 2:48pm in response to: Catalin Red

The same here bro !

Stevie Braga replied on Tue, 2013/04/23 - 3:17pm

 Feeling exactly like you! I looking for something to study deep while scratching other things...

Void Main replied on Sat, 2013/09/14 - 9:41am

I'm "crazy" just like you.

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