How to Grow As A Self-taught Software Developer

With such a high demand for software developers,comes with the rise in self-taught developers.

Most self-taught developers feel inadequate,compared to  the graduate developers .

So today i will point out a few things you can do to go past your inadequacies and be  a strong developer.

1.Have a Growth Plan

You can’t hit a target you cannot see, and you cannot see a target you do not have.

— Zig Ziglar

To grow you need a plan.

Know who you are  and your limitations and then develop a growth plan,with clear goals,action plans and time frames.

2.Master Computer Science(CS) concepts.

Mastering those makes the developer see the big picture of why we code the way we do and be efficient programmers.

Master concepts like data-structures,algorithms and recursion.

Most self-taught developers struggle with such concepts which stoops them from writing elegant code,which is easy to read and runs faster.

3.Read Documentation 

Most of us developers learn through channels like YouTube,stack overflow.To truly understand your tech stack,read documentation.

Documentation is not as easy to understand, but remember with any growth it’s hard before it becomes easy,keep at it eventually you will get the hang of it and then start reaping the rewards.

4.Find A Code Mentor

Every master was once a protege.To perfect your craft you need a mentor.

Your mentor doesn’t need to be a physical person you meet like everyday.You can follow writings by respected authorities in your field e.g Robert C. “Uncle Bob” Martin.

You can even ask your immediate supervisor to mentor you.

A great way to find mentors is by attending meetups in your area.

5.Embrace the Impostor Syndrome 

I know for most self-taught developers it feels like you in over your head and feel like an impostor,because at the back of your head you fill like you not qualified because of lack of formal qualifications.

Instead embrace that feeling and let it propel you to learn more and be a better developer.

6.Deliberately Practice

Imagine Cristiano Ronaldo practicing once a week or whenever he feels like.Do you think he will be playing at the level he is currently playing?

To be world-class you have to be willing to put in the time,practice those algorithms,puzzles and implementing those data-structures everyday and be deliberate about it.

It wont serve you to be doing the same stuff,playing at the same level,you don’t grow.

Use sites like Topcoder and hackerearth to practice and compete.

7.Teach Others

To grasp any concept,teach it to another person,especially a non-technical person.If you can rephrase it in layman terms,sure you have mastered it.Utilize local meetups,sign up to give a talk there.

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10000 Hour Rule Fact or ???

1000 Hour Rule

Does the 10000 hour rule apply to developers??

The 1000 hour rule which is credited to Malcolm Gladwell,an English-born Canadian journalist, author, and speaker.

The principle holds that 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” are needed to become world-class in any field.

In his book,Outliers,he contends that Bill Gates became world class by putting in his 10000 hours by interacting with a computer at an early age.

With regards to software developers or programmers I beg to differ,with a lot of bootcamps around,which continually churn out programmers every six months or so.

That proves that a skill can be mastered in less than the 10000 hours recommended by Gladwell.

Quoting a recent Princeton study which tears down the theory.

In a meta-analysis of 88 studies on deliberate practice, the researchers found that practice accounted for just a 12% difference in performance in various domains.

What’s really surprising is how much it depends on the domain:

• In games, practice made for a 26% difference

• In music, it was a 21% difference

• In sports, an 18% difference

• In education, a 4% difference

• In professions, just a 1% difference

One good example that disproves the theory is the case of Muhammad Hamza Shahzad,a boy aged 7 who became the world’s youngest qualified computer programmer and the case of Zora Ball,the youngest game programmer.

I know some would argue that those are special cases,but who isn’t a special case?

I believe the theories and the rules are made to tie down people and to make people question their abilities.I doubt there is a day after 5 and and a half years you wake up and feel like you’ve put in your 10000 hours and you ready to conquer the world.

My Reading List For 2017

Reading list

That’s not me of course

Every year towards my birthday I review my previous year to check how far I’ve gone with respect to my goals and plans.
I also take time to create reading list for the year ahead.
Today i would share some of the books that i will be devouring in 2017.
The books that interest me usually have to do with computer science,leadership and of course my faith which is Christianity.
I will focus on computer science or programming.

Computer Science/Programming

Algorithms

Introduction to algorithms

1.Introduction to algorithms

This is my all time favourite book,when it comes to the study of algorithms and data structures.
I am a huge fan of algorithms and data structures,for any beginning programmer i will recommend this book anytime as it covers the basics of algorithms and which are very important in programming and distinguish between a good software developer and a great developer

2.Clean Code:A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship

That’s another book i have read a couple of times.It keeps me grounded on how to construct software.
I am a huge fan of Robert C.Martin,i would pick up any book by him.

3.Clean Architecture: A Craftsman’s Guide to Software Structure and Design

Another book by Robert C.Martin,I’m sure it will be a great read.Its due to be released later during the year.

4.Soft Skills: The software developer’s life manual

Every developer needs soft skills,that is one area where most developers struggle.
Somnez covers that aspect of a developer in great detail.
I have been following John’s blog for some time now,so i trust that his book will be a good read.

5.Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction

 

That’s my reading list for 2017,if you want me to share my whole list on other categories just leave comments in the comments section.
keep coding!!