My Deliberate Practice Plan to Become a Better Programmer

My Deliberate Practice Plan to Become a Better Programmer

In the previous post, I reviewed the book So Good They Can't Ignore You. I wanted to take the ideas and advice from there and to create my own plan for deliberate practice as a software developer. Here's what I came up with...

Continuous learning

Being a software developer means to always be learning. Whether it's a new framework, new programming language, or a whole new programming paradigm learning something new is integral.

There are several ways to do this and I will try to incorporate all of them, though more will take more presidence and attentnion than others.

  • Use sites like Pluralsight and Udemy for on-demand tutorials and training.
    • Watch at least one course each one or two weeks, depending on the length of the course.
  • Watch at least one software presentation on YouTube or similar site.
    • Watch one at least each week. This should generate some "Top 10" posts for everyone to enjoy or, if it's really good enough, a post about a specific presentation.
  • Read at least one technical book each quarter.
  • Read and try to understand at least one journal paper on programming each quarter.


Of course, one of the biggest and best things to do as a developer is to actually program something...anything to help put into practice what I've learned. The above methods are great for learning new things, but they have to be put to use, as well, otherwise I won't be able to retain what I've learned.

  • Have at least one personal project going at a time.
  • Blog about things learned and always have a demo project for it, if possible.
  • Get certified, if available.

Being uncomfortable

Doing deliberate practice often means being uncomfortable during the practice. This is an easy way to know if the practice is good or not. Here a couple of ways I can step outside of my comfort zone.

  • Speak at a local user group at least once each quarter.
  • Try to speak at a conference at least once this year.
  • Do more screencasts instead of regular text posts for the blog.

Keeping track

Now, none of the above doesn't mean all that much if I don't keep track and accoutable for each of these. Saying I'm going to do it doesn't mean I am going to do it.

  • Once again, blogging about each of the above items as much as possible
  • Use a time tracker such as Plan to keep a digital record and for some nice reports.

Since it's very close to the 2017 year, this is a great time to get started with this.

Do you have something you've done work very well for you but wasn't mentioned? What are your plans for having deliberate practice?

Why I'm Reading Research Papers

Why I'm Reading Research Papers

Book Review: So Good They Can't Ignore You

Book Review: So Good They Can't Ignore You