Becoming a Better Software Engineer (BaBSE) is a series that I started at the beginning of the year. Every Friday I will write about something I’ve learned in the technology field (and mostly likely in the field of life). This helps further my skills as well as any other fledgling technologist or software developer that wants to learn. So, let’s get on with it, shall we?
There are two things that will always stay the same when it comes to software development (and anything in the technology industry in general) are:
- Things will always change.
- If you don’t accept the change and keep up with it, you will be left in the dust.
When you know these two things about technology it makes thing a heck of a lot easier, that is, if you are willing and able to learn quickly and efficiently. It also doesn’t hurt to actually love to learn new things.
Know your learning style
Some people need to learn new things by doing them while others can learn just by reading something or someone telling them how to do something. It’s important for you to know which learning style works the best for you because as a software developer you are going to be doing a lot learning quickly.
For me, I learn best with a mixture of tutorials, books, and hands on work. I find that I get a vague understanding of something by reading and then solidify it with doing physical work. Over the past year I have learned almost everything technology related this way and it’s worked well.
You better love to learn
One of the main reasons that I got into information technology and development was because I loved learning new things. This field encourages me to keep learning new and better ways to do something because information is always changing.
One thing that you should know about the technology industry is that if you don’t actually love to learn, the chances of you doing well and actually liking what you do are pretty slim. Like I said before, you have to be able to learn because this industry is constantly changing; if you can’t stand to change or learn something new, you are at a major disadvantage and will most likely end up bitter about your job.
No, it really doesn’t ever end
It’s funny when I start this though, “well, now that I got learning ‘x’ out of the way it’s going to be easier to do…”. That feeling lasts for about an hour until I realize that learning ‘x’ has opened me up to an entirely other set of things to learn as well as all the exceptions. Learning about software development doesn’t really ever end.
There were always be a new version of something, a new framework to try, new operating systems and languages to learn; always something. Being able to know your learning style and loving to learn will make this easier.
Learn to learn more than tech
The number one reason that this site isn’t totally about programming and technology is that alone does not make you a good technologist. Being good at anything doesn’t involve only that one thing; talent builds off of and around other expertise. When I wrote about becoming a technologist, I made the claim that there are 7 things that you will have to be good at to be a good technologist. Programming is just one of them.
Just as being a good human is made up of a bunch of stuff, so is being good at anything else. Learning how to communicate effectively (so many tech people can’t), understanding entrepreneurship and business, as well as learning about becoming and staying productive, will benefit you greatly as a software engineer.
So, rather than get out of school, learn for a couple of years about a job that you took and calling it “good”, we as technologists have to keep learning everyday to stay ahead of the curve and to make our jobs more enjoyable and productive.