Professionals practice their art with exercises to improve their skills. A musicians spend endless hours on their instrument between performances, athletes go to training between games. This is what we expect from professionals and we should expect the exact same behavior from software developers. It can happen that your company will give you some time to sharpen you competences and it is a perfect opportunity to learn new technologies. But what if you don’t receive this extra time ? Do you practice at home ? What are the tools that can help you practice ?
You can go to the Dojo ! A Dojo (“place of the way” in Japanese) is a place where you can gather to practice martial arts such as karate, judo, jujitsu, kendo and much more. And there are also coding Dojos where you can practice Katas (“form” in Japanese). These exercises aim to train your mind and muscle your brain by writing a specific snippet of code repeatedly. You can also practice Katas by pair using TDD, Uncle Bob calls these Waza (“Art and technique”), one is writing the tests and the other the code. There are a few online Dojos allowing you to exercise on Katas :
You can also contribute to open sources project, especially now with GitHub. It features thousands of projects waiting for help in every domain you might like and in every programming language you might consider.
But remember that practicing does not mean that you have to work for your employer you can and you should practice on anything you want to do : it should be fun !
See you next time for “Acceptance Testing” !