What to learn? What is the best profile of a developer? How to improve developing skills? Those are the principal questions that every passionate developer asks.
I interviewed a lot of new fresh developers for recruitment or for training; I read many CVs and what I can say about all of them is that every single one of them is counting the number of framework he know.
“Well I know .NET, I know JEE, I know Symfony and I’m really good with Python Django”
Mmm OK! But can you tell me why we use interfaces in OOP, why we use getters and setters, what the difference between a static method and a non-static method and how the memory handles them what are the four principals of OOP. Do you know what a floating point is? What do you know about parallel programming and monitors?
Those are generally my questions, and sadly only few developers were able to answer them and the reason behind it is because they didn't answer correctly to the above questions. Because you see I don’t really care about how many framework you know, I don’t care how many .Net certificates you have because the real question is do you know how to code.
After all, frameworks are a collection of ready-to-use code, you just Google them and you will find the suitable class to use, but if don’t know how to code you will never know what to look for and you still writing crap code even if you know all the available classes.
So what to learn? Personally I suggest starting with the C language, have fun programming, look for complex problems (like the 8 queen problem, sorting..) and enjoy yourself solving them, feel the power of algorithms, feel the greatness of creation. No UI, no buttons, just you and the console displaying green text (nice effect). Why
is the C language important? Well, first of all, developers must master data structures and coding (can actually write a good if statement and loops).
Second, the C language is arguably a low level programming language so developers will deal with low level details like memory management (pointers)
and also some other stuff like floating points numbers (check this tutorial http://www.cprogramming.com/tutorial.html#fptutorial), fixing point numbers (check this article http://x86asm.net/articles/fixed-point-arithmetic-and-tricks/), processor cache and memory, and many other low level issues that help developers understand computers and create better optimized code in future. Also I suggest writing a
TCP/UDP C based application to deal with low level sockets and network layers. So stop dragging and dropping UI, stop that android/windows phone application that you are doing and go develop some real sh*ts.
After playing with c language go and learn some oriented object language ( I recommend java) and please instead of goggling every single library try to understand the basic of OOP learn what actually is a static method, why we have public, private and protected key words, learn why we are using getters and setters, try to feel the real power of encapsulation, write basic programs that show the value of OOP. After developing some of your own projects and after making all kind of mistakes start reading other people’s code, fall in love with design patterns and SOLID principals learn them and try the applies them every single time you write a peace of OOP code.
Now you have a nice understanding of OOP, you can change the air by learning concurrency and parallel programming. Study what a mutex is doing, what is a monitor… Implement some fun problems like the traffic problem. Concurrency is fun but hard so learn it. In the same time try to learn about compilation process, learn about state transition diagrams and grammars… And if you have time and effort try to understand operating systems and how they work by implementing one (of course with minimum functionality it can be just a console that displays info about hardware) have a look at SOS (simple operating system) http://www.cs.unm.edu/~crowley/osbook/sos.html
I know that was some hard concept and need a lot of time and efforts to master. But hey you the one who want to be the super developer so work for it.
My final thought will be a developer that really understand programming and have great ability to learn is much better than a developer that knows all the framework classes, know how to use them but write sh***y code.