I’m a firm believer in constantly reminding yourself that you don’t know everything and that there are, for sure, people out there doing things better, faster, and smarter than you are. It’s not because I’m some sort of manic depressive, it’s because I’m a realist and it’s the truth. I also view myself as a professional and as such I want to be sure I’m doing the best job I possibly can.
That said, when it comes to programming and/or development, a fantastic way to keep yourself on your toes is breaking apart someone else’s code and just checking it out. Your experience should tell you a boatload of information you won’t get out of any book. For example:
- I used to make that mistake
- Wow, I never thought of it that way
- What the heck is this function?
- I would have done the exact same thing
If at least one question or statement similar to the above doesn’t cross your mind when reviewing someone else’s code, you should consider taking a second or third look until it does.
Our industry changes every day, cliche as that sounds, but it’s a professional duty to remain as up to date as possible and never convince yourself that you’re done learning.
A great concept to try and wrap your head around is a framework, a piece of code designed to be as versatile and helpful as possible no matter what the situation brings. Combine that with striving to be as lean as possible and you’ll see a lot of creativity in programming. If you write PHP, check out a few of the Best Lightweight PHP Frameworks of 2010, you might learn somethin’!