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My favorite programming advice

Great advice on how to get better at programming

This is a great bit of programming advice I have found on programmers stackexchange and bookmarked. It helped me shape how I code over the years and it still does.


  • Use the language all day, every day. Usually this means being full-time employed in the language.

  • Read all you can about the language. Especially, "best practices" and idioms.

  • Join a users group to talk with others about the language and what they do with it.

  • Work with other people's code! There is no faster way to learn what not to do in a language than to have to clean up after someone did something awful.

  • Support the code you write - every bug becomes a tour of your worst decisions!

  • Study computer science and languages in general.

  • Learn a very different language. A great compliment to C would be a functional language like Lisp. This will turn the way you think about your procedural language inside out.

  • Learn to use the frameworks and APIs available for that language.

  • Take the time to do your own experiments with the language. SICP is not applicable to C, but the attitude of learning a language by testing its limits is a very productive one.

  • Read the history of the language to learn why it was made the way it is.

  • Attend conferences to hear the language authors speak, or to hear what industry leaders are doing with the language.

  • Take a class in the language.