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How do I improve my coding skills?

I'm a 4 yrs experienced programmer with JAVA being the strong point of mine. I know basics of web, C++ android, blackberry programming. Was wondering how should I improve myself.

Does learning new languages help or learning design stuff and learn to become a architect? How do you guys plan yourself for future? May be learn a language every year? or be in touch the the new technologies?

How do you guys improve yourself as a core programmer?

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marked as duplicate by Anna Lear Jan 13 '12 at 15:13

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Practice makes a man perfect! :P –  c0da Jan 13 '12 at 9:00
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2 Answers

One thing that has really helped me is doing a pet project (roughly) per year. My general guidelines are:

  1. It should be something useful, even if only to me (an itch to scratch),
  2. It's perfectly ok to re-invent the wheel (as it's a learning experience),
  3. It should involve concepts / technologies I'm unfamiliar with,
  4. Finish it. Actually finish it. No excuses, finish it.

I've already posted a question for this year's project, but sadly I haven't had a chance to start it yet. I've also posted an answer that documents my process as a solo developer, as up until now all my pet projects are solo projects.

And of course, my other extremely obvious way of bettering myself as a programmer is lurking around Programmers SE, and reading everything, without really understanding most of it. But I'm understanding more and more every day, thanks everyone!

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You don't necessarily have to learn a new language to be a better developer. I for example are a 99% C# developer. First I was doing only WinForms (desktop) applications. Then I started to learn WPF/Silverlight when they came out. Then found out how cool LINQ is so I made a few smaller projects just to see how to use it. All this time I was studying computer science I was lucky that my mentor was pretty cool and made it possible for me to choose what things I want to do as a project. So I was able to improve myself in web developement while creating some MVC applications. Now I have a cool job where we develop Silverlight apps but are likely to switch to HTML5/Javascript so these are the things that I am tackeling now. Just keep widening your view in any direction you feel confortable. You can never know to much especially in software developement. So just pick yourself something you would like to have (a mobile app shoping list/a web application where you can track your bonsai tree growth and fertilazation/ a desktop application which will help you track your workout progress)

Learn about good practice and try to implement it and over time you will have a lot more knowladge and (maybe more important) confidence in yourself.

Keep (smart) coding and have fun:)

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