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Apprenticeship Patterns by Adewale Oshineye, Dave Hoover

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Read Constantly

If you read even one good programming book every two months, roughly 35 pages a week, you’ll soon have a firm grasp on the industry and distinguish yourself from nearly everyone around you.

Steve McConnell, Code Complete

Context

You have Unleashed Your Enthusiasm to open lots and lots of doors.

Problem

There seems to be an endless stream of deeper and more fundamental concepts that are eluding you, despite your proficiency at Your First Language.

Solution

Focus your thirst for learning on consuming as much of the written word as possible. Emphasize books over blogs as you construct your Reading List.

There should be seasons of The Long Road when you have (or take) the opportunity to read a significant number of books. For Dave, this was in 2002–2003, a couple years after he started programming and just as he was hitting a plateau in his first language, Perl. This season was enabled by public transportation: Dave had about 90 minutes a day on the train to read whatever he wanted. He was so intent that he would continue reading when he got off the train and walked the mile to his cubicle. Immersing yourself in the classics and primary sources of the field provides an unparalleled education when coupled with Finding Mentors and frequent interactions with Kindred Spirits.

Part of this immersion should include exploring the vast warehouse of knowledge that is the academic community. Reading the occasional research paper will stretch your mind and keep you in touch with the cutting edge of computer science, and also offers a source of challenging new ideas. Trying to implement these ideas will expand your toolbox with new algorithms, data structures, and design patterns many years before they reach the mainstream.

Action

By reading this book, you have already begun to apply this pattern. The trick is to keep up the momentum after you’ve finished this book. Decide now what your next book will be. Buy or borrow it so that when you finish this book, you can switch immediately to the next one.

You should also try to keep a slim book with you at all times. This will let you use the little bits of dead time throughout each day (such as train journeys or waiting in queues) to learn.

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