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Becoming a Better Programmer by Pete Goodliffe

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Chapter 27. Avoid Stagnation

Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation... even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.

Leonardo da Vinci

When was the last time you learnt something new and exciting enough to put on your résumé? When was the last time you were stretched beyond your capabilities? When was the last time your work made you feel uncomfortable? When was the last time you discovered something that delighted you? When were you last humbled by another programmer and encouraged to learn from them?

If the answers to these questions are the dim and distant past,[30] then you have entered the comfort zone: a place that some regard as nirvana—where your life is easy and your work days are short and predictable.

However, the comfort zone is a pernicious place. It’s a trap. An easy life means you’re not learning, not progressing, not getting better. The comfort zone is where you stagnate. Pretty soon you’ll be overtaken by younger developer upstarts. The comfort zone is an express route to obsolescence.

KEY

Be wary of stagnation. Seeking to become a better programmer, by definition, is not the most comfortable lifestyle.

Few people make a conscious decision to stagnate. But it can be easy to slip into the comfort zone and coast along your development career without realising. Take a reality check: is this what you’re doing right now?

Your Skills Are Your Investment

Beware: maintaining your skill set is hard work. It involves putting yourself in uncomfortable ...

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