Archive for January, 2009

How to become a better programmer

January 5, 2009

ride of into sunset

Life as a software consultant is pretty good. You come into a company, build an application or two, and once the project is over you climb back up onto your horse and ride off into the sunset.

* You aren’t asked to hang around.
* You don’t have to worry about any pesky bugs or support issues.
* You get to work on new greenfield projects.
* You often work with the companies best and brightest.

It’s great fun and life is pretty good.

It wasn’t until I stopped being a consultant however, and starting building and maintaining my own applications, that I realized I was missing out on a big opportunity for learning.

What you miss

When you build something, and then don’t stick around to maintain it, you are only watching half the movie. You don’t get to see how it ends.

* You miss out seeing where you got the design right – and where you got it wrong.

* You miss out on seeing which areas you tested well – and those not so well.

* You don’t get to see which features your customers love – and which ones they hate.

You basically miss out on all the great feedback that would tell you where you kicked butt, and where you screwed up. All of which would of course help you on your next project.

And that’s a shame.

So for those of you building apps and thinking about moving on – slow down.

See how the movie ends.

Your future customers will benefit from your broadened experience, and you will be stronger for it.