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Jani Hartikainen:
In order to become a better developer, you must first become a teacher
August 18, 2014 @ 10:35:28

In his latest post Jani Hartikainen makes a recommendation for those wanting to become better developers: first become a teacher. He suggests that communication is the second most important skill a developer can have.

What is the most important skill for a developer besides actually writing code? Communication. What do you typically do when you communicate as a developer with someone else? You explain problems, you describe solutions, you talk to non-programmers about what you're doing. You could also say that you're teaching others about what you're doing. [...] Being a good communicator is often completely overlooked.

He looks at why it's important for a developer to have good communication skills and what it means to "communicate well" with fellow developers. He suggests that real teaching can start when developers understand the domain and code they're working with. He also talks about the flip side of things, the importance of listening to other developers and those trying to help. Listening well means understanding the question and being open to different ideas, even if they contradict your own.

As with all aspects of programming, the best way to improve communication and your ability to reason about code on a higher level is practice.
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Link: http://codeutopia.net/blog/2014/08/18/in-order-to-become-a-better-developer-you-must-first-become-a-teacher/

Brandon Savage:
Frameworks DO matter.
May 26, 2014 @ 10:51:15

In his latest post Brandon Savage follows up his previous post (about learning the language first) that points out that frameworks are important/useful but they shouldn't be the focus.

In writing about how the framework you learn doesn't matter, I hoped to advance a position that articulated the fact that among the many frameworks, picking the right one is less important than getting a solid grasp on the underlying language. In fact, frameworks have tremendous advantages to them. They take care of a great deal of things for us, things that most applications need and nobody wants to write every time they need it. Frameworks are tremendously helpful.

He points out that learning a framework first and depending on it for common functions limits your skills and hinders you from the power of the language (PHP) itself. He suggests that it's not a "language or framework" debate, but more of a "language then framework" perspective.

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Link: http://www.brandonsavage.net/frameworks-do-matter

Brandon Savage:
The framework you learn doesn't really matter
May 20, 2014 @ 09:21:50

In this new post to his site Brandon Savage suggests that you don't learn any particular framework - learn PHP first, then move up from there.

Towards the end of my talk at phpDay in Verona, I was asked by two developers which framework I thought they should learn: Symfony or Laravel. I understand the pressure that developers feel like they're under to learn a framework, and to somewhat "predict the future" by figuring out what is likely to be popular in PHP for the next few years. But my answer to them wasn't what they expected. I told them that if they were new to PHP, that they should focus on learning PHP.

He notes that while frameworks can make it easier to get up and running more quickly, they can also make "tribes" if there's not a solid foundation in the language first. If the developer knows the language first, they can move into any framework and with limited effort pick it up and run with it. PHP frameworks come and go, and learning just one can limit you future when its popularity fades.

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Link: http://www.brandonsavage.net/the-framework-you-learn-doesnt-really-matter

KillerPHP.com:
Why PHP should be the first language you learn
February 13, 2014 @ 10:43:46

On the KillerPHP.com site there's a new post from Stefan Mischook where he suggests that PHP is the first language you should learn if you're new to development.

Anyone who reads my stuff knows that if I am anything, I am practical. So when it comes to learning (and teaching) programming to someone new to the whole programming game, for several pragmatic reasons, I think PHP by far is the best language to begin with. Here are some of the reasons: it is easy to learn, it is the most popular web scripting language and it is fast to program with.

He shares these thoughts and a few more in a short video (or here on YouTube).

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Link: http://www.killerphp.com/articles/why-php-should-be-the-first-language-you-learn

QaFoo:
Learn OOD - to unlearn it again
February 11, 2014 @ 12:52:10

In this latest post to the QaFoo blog Tobias Schlitt recommends learning proper object-oriented design first before trying to worry about the interactions between the objects.

One topic we regularly teach in workshops for our customers is object oriented design (ODD), i.e. the art of crafting classes/interfaces in a way that the result is an easy-to-understand, maintainable and flexible code base. With the agile focus on shipping working software, some might consider the skill of OOD less important. One popular argument is that quick reaction to change is more important than designing objects and their interaction carefully. I personally look at it the exact other way around. This blog post summarizes why you need to learn OOD first, in order to avoid it to some degree again.

He's broken up the rest of the post into a few different topics reinforcing this idea:

  • Learning OOD the classical way
  • OOD in fast pace and agile
  • Refactoring is the key
  • Learning OOD to unlearn it

Finally, he makes the recommendation that all developers should learn about effective refactoring and automated testing to help create well-structured OOP applications.

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Link: http://qafoo.com/blog/064_learn_ood_to_unlearn_it.html

SitePoint Programming Blog:
What is the Best Programming Language to Learn in 2014?
February 07, 2014 @ 10:44:59

On the SitePoint Programming blog today Craig Buckler has published a new post with some suggestions as to which programming language is the best to learn in 2014. The results come from a compilation of job postings and popularity, but it's interesting none the less.

It's been a year since I revealed the best languages to learn in 2013. Once again, I've examined the data produced by Jobs Tractor who analyzed more than 45,000 developer jobs advertised on Twitter during the past twelve months. [...] Take this survey with a large pinch of salt. Then add pepper, ketchup and numerous other condiments. I'm not convinced Twitter is a reliable source of job-related data and regional differences can skew results.

The results of surveys from other outside sources are also included, showing slight variations compared to Craig's numbers. Most of the languages are the same but their orders are pretty different depending on who you ask. Of course, he does make one major recommendation about all of these results: "Never use statistics as the sole basis for learning a language."

If you've mastered a language or two, the choice is far simpler: pick something that interests you (intellectually or financially). Programming skills are transferable and the learning curve will be shallower when learning a new language compared to when you first started.
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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/best-programming-language-learn-2014/

Mashable.com:
10 Programming Languages You Should Learn in 2014
January 23, 2014 @ 12:09:46

According to this new post over on the Mashable site, PHP is one of the "languages to learn" for 2014. Others in the list include Java, C and relatives, Python and Ruby.

The tech sector is booming. If you've used a smartphone or logged on to a computer at least once in the last few years, you've probably noticed this. As a result, coding skills are in high demand, with programming jobs paying significantly more than the average position. Even beyond the tech world, an understanding of at least one programming language makes an impressive addition to any resumé.

They point out that PHP powers more than 200 million websites all around the internet and shares a few links of places to learn more about the language (including Udemy and Codeacademy).

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Link: http://mashable.com/2014/01/21/learn-programming-languages

Stefan Koopmanschap:
How to Get the Most Out of a Conference
November 01, 2013 @ 12:49:51

Stefan Koopmanschap recently posted a great new article about how you can get the most out of conferences and what they have to offer besides just the sessions.

At the most excellent PHPNW conference, Kat convinced me to deliver the first unconference talk of the day. It took me a while to get the right topic. I ended up with a topic I felt everyone at the conference could use for the rest of the two days that they were there: How to get the most out of a conference. For those that were not there, I want to try and put my unconference talk into a blogpost, so that everyone can use this information for their next conference.

He's broken it down into a few different major topics including the obvious "learn from the best" as well as:

  • Learn and meet the best
  • Find your new colleagues (or new friends)
  • The backchannels
  • Hack away! (at hackathons)

He also makes a great recommendation about providing feedback - not only is it important to the conference to let them know they've done a good job, but also to the speakers to help improve their skills.

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Link: http://leftontheweb.com/blog/2013/10/25/How_to_get_the_most_out_of_a_conference/

Antonin Januska:
Cool Stuff I Learned About Laravel 4
August 20, 2013 @ 12:41:34

In this new post to his site Antonin Januska shares some of the "cool stuff" he learned about Laravel 4 while he was working on a project using this recently released version.

I started using Laravel 4 for testing, hobby projects, and actual work (ha!) a couple of months back and was genuinely excited about the upgrades as well as features I wasn't aware of from previous versions as well. So here goes...

On his list are things like: Composer and its easy-to-implement autoloading structure, overriding default fields, using "remember" to cache data from queries and database seeding. There's a few others in the list, each with some example code (though sometimes just one line) that shows it in action. If you'd like to find out more about the Laravel framework, check out the project's main site.

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Link: http://antjanus.com/blog/web-development-tutorials/cool-stuff-i-learned-about-laravel-4

Reddit.com:
I want a job as a developer. Here's my situation, can you help?
June 20, 2013 @ 11:17:48

On Reddit.com there's a recent post asking what kinds of things someone can do to gain the skills they need to get a job as a web developer. Disregard the comment at the top and get straight to the good stuff - there's lots of great recommendations here including:

  • "take the time to take algorithm classes , UML classes and db modelling classes and , very important , read other people's code"
  • "Work on stuff that interests you." and "Work on stuff that doesn't interest you but solves a problem for someone else"
  • "Pick a major CMS (doesn't matter which one) and tear it apart."
  • "Go through the PHP tracks on codeacademy.com"
  • "Go to MIT Open Courseware and start reading up data structures and algorithms."
  • "Just keep programming. You'll do stupid things, but having to do those things should become annoying."

Unfortunately, the poster started things out with a "don't tell me to read a book" mentality, so there's some responses in there about that. Don't let that disuade you from some of the other answers, especially if you're new to PHP, though.

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Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/PHP/comments/1gpmr5/i_want_a_job_as_a_developer_heres_my_situation


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