Code Is Ephemeral, Concepts Are Eternal

Lots of people ask me things like "should I learn MVC or Web API first?" "HTML or Javascript?" "Angular or React?" etc. After all, there's only so many hours in the day, and what time we have to spend learning is often limited by other factors (energy, work policies, etc.) This leads to the most common question I get from junior programmers: What framework, stack, or language should I spend my precious time learning?... Read more >

Learn or Die: Warding Off My Coding Career's Eventual Obsolescence

I often give technical demos at my work about various topics, and the most recent one was an introduction to ASP.NET Core 1.0 that spawned a lot of blog posts. Overall, this class was well-received (at least I believe so, given that people keep showing up) so hopefully I'll get to continue doing these kinds of presentations. At the end of these sessions, I generally "open the floor" for comments, questions, concerns, extended discussion and the... Read more >

Need To Know: Why I Think Self-Driven Learners Make The Best Programmers

What makes a quality programmer? In a previous post I listed out five "personas" that I believe make an effective programmer: coder, investigator, theorist, logician, communicator. I still believe that each of these traits are essential to being an effective developer, but there's one trait that I left out that might be the single most important factor in determining whether a person will be an successful programmer: the drive to learn. "Successful" programmers (for whatever that... Read more >

I Don't Care If I Suck, As Long As I'm Learning

I am an enormously self-critical person. If I'm going out to a party, or having dinner, or even just giving a presentation, I'm constantly playing back my speech and my actions in my head to see where I went wrong. It sounds like two awful television sports announcers who follow me around only to trash whatever I think or do or say. DICK: And here comes Matthew, shuffling into the presentation arena, sporting a wrinkled button-down and black slacks with... Read more >

We Don't Have Enough Teachers of Technology

Scott Hanselman has an post up called Bad UX and User Self-Blame - "I'm sorry, I'm not a computer person." It's an excellent read, and in it he discusses the phenomenon of users blaming themselves when something goes wrong when using a computer. Specifically he notes that older people and people who are new to technology feel this way often, saying that it's their fault something went wrong. Hanselman wonders if the problem is abstractions (emphasis mine): I... Read more >