How to become a really experienced developer overnight
I get a lot of request from a lot of people who see my works and
get inspired and ask me how can they do the same? The questions I
generally get are following:
- How can I become a developer like you?
- How can I develop projects like you did?
- What do I need to learn in C# to become like you?
- Does Microsoft Certifications help? Should I go for the
- What did you do to become MVP? I want to become MVP too.
- I am 23 (or 24) and I want to become like you. What do I need
Generally the questions are like this. Everyone asks me for a
"shortcut" way to becoming a really good developer. So, here's the
magical secret for becoming a really good developer and achieve
everything I have achieved:
Work 18 hours per day, 7 days a week, 360 days a year for
Yes! That's the secret. It's pretty easy. The only thing you
need to do is "work" and do nothing else and you will achieve
everything that I have achieved. Pretty easy. I did that, so you
can do it too! Piece of cake.
If you want to go for the "long" way then here're the things you
- Take part in open source projects or make several yourselve.
This is the best way to learn really useful things.
- If you can, try setting up your own company. I have setup 3
companies so far. 2 were not that succesful, 1 is very
successful. It helped me learn so many things that I would have
never learnt by working in other's companies as an employee.
- Read articles everyday. There are thousands of articles to read
msdn.microsoft.com. I still read almost all the articles that get
published in codeproject every week. If you read 10 articles per
week and do it for a year weeks, you have the knowledge
of 480 articles! Who can beat you then?
- Not only read articles, but try out the attached source codes.
Make similar projects yourselves and use the ideas presented in the
articles in your own project. I spend everyday at least 1 hour in
trying out new technologies. This not only increases my knowledge
but also makes me more experienced in doing things better and helps
me do my office work better and faster.
- Get into companies which gives you exciting projects to work on
and you get to do something in everything. For example, join a
company which gives you the freedom to design your modules, develop
it, test it, document it etc. The idea is to gain experience from
all stages of development. Make sure the company has enough bright
stars to learn from. If you just become another cow in a big dairy
farm, no benefit.
- Don't leave a company if you are underpaid but you do a lot for
the company. Have patience. Build yourself up and you will one day
get what you deserve. I used to get $250 per month in my first
company which used to do outsourced projects for a really big
company in US. I worked day and night in that company and worked in
8 projects in 7 years. I did not leave the company only because of
the technologies I could learn and apply and the variety of things
I could do there. Best of all, I could work on many outsourced
projects myself from various countries which exposed me to a wide
variety of technologies. So, when I left the company and
joined another one, with the vast experience I had gathered from my
previous underpaid company, my salary became $200/day in the new
company. See the difference. If I had left earlier seeking higher
salary instead of technologies, I would not have learned all the
cool things and I would not become so expensive as I am
- This is very important for those who cost $200/day now. Don't
change yourself once you start earning this much. Be the same
person as you were when you used to get $200/month. Remember, it
was the attitude and the burning desire to learn and grow that
made you become what you are now. If the burning sun inside you
becomes a dying candle, you lose.
- Don't start your career in a company where you are given nice
specs to read on, you have lead developers to decide all
input/output/pseudocodes, you have a solid QA team to test
your work, you have managers and administrators to take care of
every management and administrative issues etc. In such a company,
the only thing you become is a "smart typist". You basically
translate English to C#. The right side of your brain does not
develop at all. Start your career with small companies which deal
with lots of challenges and you get the chance to burn your brain
and fingers out. The sweet smell of your roasted brain is far
better than the sweet scent of your polished cubicle inside a
decorated corporate office.
- I have seen the following evolutionary cycle of developers and
see where you fit in:
- Beginner: Does not wear shoes, comes to office on sandles.
Looks very sober. Shirt is outside pant. When you ask them,
do you know .NET events and delegates? They say, "uh, ummm, no I
don't think so. Is it birthday events?"
- Beginner+: Gives you "I know it all" look whenever you talk
about programming. Wears shiny shoes, full sleve shirt is
nicely put inside dockers pants. Back brushed hair wtih
"Set Wet" gel and always on $300 sunglasses. When you ask them, "do
you know .NET events and delegates?" They say, "Events and
delegates are coooool man! You can do anything with them and mark
my word man, "anything". I haved used them in sooooo many
projects. Did you just learn about .NET events and
- Intermediate: Clothing turns a bit pale. Sunglass is
old-school. No hair gel. Anytime you speak about some terms like
EJB, Spring, Design Patterns, their eyes sparkle like the brightest
star in the November sky. They start doing a lot of off-the-record
work inside office. They start going to online groups, start
working with friends on open source projects, start reading MSDN
Magazines etc. If you ask them, "Can you make it?" They always
reply, "Sure, you will get it tomorrow." But usually you get it
after a month.
- Intermediate+: Generally you get it within 1 or 2 weeks overdue
- Advanced: They wear the same "I am a Geek"
or "Microsoft Windows XP" logo T-shirts everyday (until it
stinks and you can smell it as soon as they enter the
office) and shiny sports shoes. They start talking about
software development processes, RUP, Extreme Programming,
Agile Development etc. If you ask them to do something, they
reply "Give me a functional specification, a technical
specification, test plans, milestones, release plans, mockups and N
number of developers and I will get it done."
- Very advanced: Does not wear shoes, comes to office on sandles.
Looks very sober. Shirt is outside pant. When you ask them,
do you know .NET events and delegates? They say, "They seem to
suffer from bi-directional strong reference problem which
prevents garbage collectors from collecting the listener properly
and the only way to release the reference is to bring down the app
- Do take Microsoft Certifications without cheating. You will
learn a lot.
- Write articles & blogs. Share everything you learn. Someone
out there will benefit from it someday. Don't hesitate thinking
that you don't know much to write about.