The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Aspiring Programmers

I was sitting in front of my Surface, doing absolutely nothing, when I thought I came up with a brilliant idea for a blog post title. After vainly musing to myself about my good fortunes for 30 minutes, I came to another brilliant conclusion. I went to bing to confirm it. Here’s a glimpse of what I saw:

There were more than seven results.Well turns out I’m not the Haruki Murakami of creative titles as I’d like to believe. I’d hate to surrender this perfectly good opportunity to write however, so I’m going to slightly amend my original title and discuss a topic that I am more apt write about. It’s not that bad, because Stephen Covey’s son Sean did the same with his father’s book.

By chance, this is a topic I should be writing about anyway. A lot of younger students who are interested in pursuing a career in software development ask me frequently on what exactly they should do to prepare. Likewise, I get a lot of adults asking me how they can pick up programming (well usually it’s because they want me to build their ‘brilliant’ app idea and I tell them how they can do it themselves) I know that everyone has their own way of learning how to program; I’m personally tempted to just tell people get a copy of Visual Studio and make a calculator, using Stack Overflow to fill in the gaps. Evidently however, there’s no one stop shop to learn programming, even resources like Microsoft Virtual Academy and SO can’t solve all your problems (and please, don’t mention a college degree). If they could, what would be the point for you to become a programmer? The purpose of a programmer isn’t to merely follow instructions, but to create instructions for tasks that we have yet to accomplish.

Thus, it’s with this in mind that I’ve come to suggest certain ideals to aspiring programmers. I don’t think they’re all absolutely necessary. There are legendary programmers who pulled it off without having a mentor, without having a decent computer and without helping anyone else in the process. But can you really name any who pulled it off without following at most, two of these points? I can’t think of any. These recommendations are going to provide you a footing from where to launch yourself in epic world of computer programming. Without further ado, I present the 7 habits of highly effective aspiring programmers.

  1. Procure more mentors
  2. Put your money where your mouth is
  3. Prove yourself (challenge)
  4. Don’t fear the technology
  5. Delve into everything
  6. Mend your Mind, Soul and Body
  7. Programming is just a means and not an end

I know that it might be tempting to look at the list and say “Well golly Mansib, some of these are essential to any career.” That’s definitely true. We’re all doing all of this to some extent already, but it’s a question of what extent. Before you were doing it unconsciously and not actively. Now that you know, hopefully you’ll pull all the stops.

I’ll post a detail analysis of each habit on a period basis. Stay tuned 🙂

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