Walking uphill

March 20, 2009

…and don’t ever think, ever think, ever think too much…

Filed under: Uncategorized — walkenji @ 8:55 pm

I was searching for ways to become a better programmer…. and I found the following site…

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/47898/good-practice-projects-to-improve-programming-skills

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/4002/code-katas

The 2nd page has the following quote (from Jeff’s code kata). http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001138.html

I don’t have a long list of effortful study advice like Steve and Peter and Dave do. I’m far too impatient for that. In fact, there are only two movements in my book of code kata:

  1. Write a blog. I started this blog in early 2004 as a form of effortful study. From those humble beginnings it has turned into the most significant thing I’ve ever done in my professional life. So you should write blogs, too. The people who can write and communicate effectively are, all too often, the only people who get heard. They get to set the terms of the debate.
  2. Actively participate in a notable open source project or three. All the fancy blah blah blah talk is great, but are you a talker or a doer? This is critically important, because you will be judged by your actions, not your words. Try to leave a trail of public, concrete, useful things in your wake that you can point to and say: I helped build that.

When you can write brilliant code and brilliant prose explaining that code to the world — well, I figure that’s the ultimate code kata.

My first action on reading his advice above was to create this blog. Writing is a skill I need and want to have and I want to get involved in the virtual world. I’ve been absent since my uni days when I was actively involved in online tv show/movie forums.

As a taekwondo practitioner (I received my yellow belt at the end of 2008), I love the analogy of comparing coding practice to katas (or in TKD, patterns). Last week, the instructor emphasized how critical it was to practice, even if only once a day, even if only in your mind, because it built up the muscle memory. And once you got that muscle memory, then you could start focusing on doing the patterns with more speed and power.

Reading further into Jeff’s article, he references articles by Steve Yegge and Peter Norvig that I haven’ t yet had time to read.

After reading the links listed above, I think I will look into the python challenge site.. it looks like a good place to start and whet my appetite. http://www.pythonchallenge.com/

And I also want to have a closer look at codekata (http://codekata.pragprog.com), since this concept is still quite novel and new to me.

Random point: I just finished listening to ‘Deadsong’ by ‘Before the Dawn’… they are a very average band. I wouldn’t really listen to another song.

On the other hand, I listened to ‘The Zutons’ for the first time yesterday and I am hooked. I am really impressed by Abi Hardings awesome saxophone playing. It is so inspiring and the songs are so catchy and have a really seductive rhythm.

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