Agile mindset: Making agile more than just a development methodology

agile mindset

Mindset is everything

To software developers, the word “agile” usually conjures up thoughts of project tracking, story points, and team velocity. To truly be the most effective developer that you can be, the word agile should also remind you that change is constant and that you must adapt. An agile mindset is the greatest tool a software developer can possess.

Too many software developers fall into the routine of their process. We work our stories, finish our sprints, and move on to the next iteration. While this does allow software to be produced in a predictable manner, it also can shackle developers. When facing a new challenge that challenges their existing mindset, these shackles can hold a developer back. Continue reading

Debugging like Elon Musk

Every time I think I’m doing pretty good with my projects, I take look over and see what Elon Musk is doing. Then I instantly feel like I’m wasting my life. That guy does such huge things and he does them so quickly it is mind boggling. What is his secret? Can I be like that?

The answers is yes, if you use “First Principles” reasoning. I have found that when you apply first principles to debugging software that you will get to better solutions. So what is first principles? Here’s Elon explaining the how and what of it:

So here’s the take away:

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Learn a new programming language

In the world of software development there’s always something new popping up. New languages, frameworks, operating systems, databases, you name it. The challenge for a developer is to stay on top and ahead of these new technologies. It can be very tempting to give up and not learn anything new, but I want to propose that learning new things like a new language or framework can be very helpful!

Learning begets learning

The more you practice the art of learning something new, the easier it is to learn new things. This sounds like tautology, but it is true. Continue reading

Coder’s block

Writer’s block is a problem that writers have when they simply don’t know what words to put on the page. Developer’s have this same problem, I like to call it coder’s block. Where does it come from, and how do we get rid of it? Let’s dive in.

Where coder’s block comes from

My theory is that coder’s block is the result of burn out. When you are so close to your work for so long burnout becomes a serious problem. At first you will start to make “simple” mistakes more frequently, and eventually most things start to take longer to finish. This all builds on itself and starts to erode your self confidence in your work.

Once your confidence is being questioned it is every easy for things to snowball to the point where you are afraid to write code for fear of it being another broken thing to fix. At this point you are deep in the throes of coder’s block. Nothing seems to work right, and it seems like it never will.

The worst part of this is that most of the damage is self inflicted.  Continue reading

Doing the work

Sometimes it is painful.

The deadline that is looming closer. The code that just won’t work correctly no matter how much you cuss at it. The simple library upgrade that wrecks your program completely.

But it has to be done. And you need to do it.

At times like this you need to remind yourself that nothing great was ever created without some struggle. Everything that was ever created that is considered good involved some one doing hard work to make it happen. You are no different. If you are going to make something good, you will be working hard on it. Continue reading

Recent experiments

A fireworks experiments

Experiments are cool!

I’ve always been curious about the world around me. And now thanks to reading a few great books I understand that I can easily do experiments on the world around me to learn where I can push the boundaries to learn new things!

Framing these things as experiments is a powerful mind hack: If an experiment fails, that’s ok! It was just an experiment. Keep that in mind the next time you find yourself pausing before trying something new or scary.

Let’s take a look at what I’ve been up to!

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Announcing Developer Interviews

I’m super happy to announce that my first book, “Developer Interviews: How to land your dream job on your terms” has been released on Amazon!

Check it out:

Developer Interviews cover

Developer Interviews: How to land your dream job on your terms

In this book I give my tips on how software developers can interview better when it comes to the dreaded job hunt. Some of the things I talk about include:

  • What companies are looking for
  • What YOU should be looking for in a company
  • Warning signs that a company might be a bad fit for you
  • Why technical recruiters can be a great help
  • What to do if you make a mistake during the interview

The book is available for a very programmer friendly price of $1.28, or if you are a member of Amazon Prime you can borrow it for free on your Kindle! Also, if you are subscribed to Kindle Unlimited, this book can be yours for free!

I would really appreciate it if you check the book out and leave me a a rating and review on it.

Writing this took what seemed like forever, but it was a great exercise. I think I’m going to do a blog post about when “developers write books”. Its a great step in my entrepreneurial journey. But first, why did I write this book?

The motivation for Developer Interviews

Too often I feel that interviews “just happen” or are otherwise taken for granted. Especially by those who aren’t as intimidated by the whole process.

Additionally I’ve observed that while an interview might seem to go great, or the company might really want you to join them, there are warning signs that you should look out for. If you see one of those, then that might not be the job for you!

So if you are looking for advice on what you can do better when interviewing, please check this book out! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave me a comment below.

Teaching what you know

Aristotle on the vitures of teaching

Yet another thing Aristotle was right about.

Teaching. The best way to truly know something is to teach it to someone else.

I’ve heard this over the years, and I can testify that’s there’s a lot of truth to it. I have found that when I do a presentation or attempt to teach something that I am not very familiar with, my presentation suffers.

Me a teacher? I don’t know anything!

At it’s core teaching the transfer of knowledge between people. The best move for a teacher is to learn more about that topic then your students do.

This does not mean you have to become an expert, rather, you just need to know a little more than the people you are teaching. In fact, you can use this to your advantage: Find a spot in the topic (say Python Flask) and study it.

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