In December, I participated in the MLH Local Hack Day. Hack Day is an opportunity for tech nerds of various disciplines to get together and collaborate on projects or to simply attend lectures presented by various people and organizations.
During Hack Day, I was invited to speak to the students of our local tech school – South Hills School of Business and Technology – about my experiences as a programmer and an entrepreneur. One of the topics of my presentation was advice for aspiring developers. Below is some of the advice I gave.
Never stop learning. The people who get ahead in life are those who are educated. They read daily. They are always learning the skills needed for tomorrow’s workplace. Those who are left behind – particularly in tech – are those who have antiquated skills.
Shut the TV off. At the end of your life, you will never look back and say “I wish I had watched more television”. TV can provide entertainment, but it will never help us achieve our goals. In fact, TV will derail our goals and dreams by preventing us from acting to achieve them.
Learn Linux. It’s sad the number of techies out there that don’t know their way around a Linux server. Given the number of things that run Linux such as Android, Docker, AWS, and Google Cloud; knowledge of Linux is crucial to your tech career. If you’re stuck in a Windows-only world, it’s time to diversify!
Write Code Daily. A weight lifter gets stronger by lifting weights. A runner gets faster by running. A coder gets better by coding. Reading books is great, watching videos is cool too. But if you want to write better code, get in the habit of writing code every day.
This is just a short list of the advice I provided. Nonetheless, it’s a pretty solid checklist to start down the path to becoming an expert software engineer.