From Good to Great in 2 Steps (The answer might surprise you)

You are good at using Django. You could become a very proficient developer if you just kept doing a few things to get you from being just a good developer to becoming a great developer.

Here are some things you can do to get started.

  1. Work on more personal projects
  2. Read the documentation

When I created my first application ever I had no idea what I was doing. The “Official Tutorial” doesn’t really help all that well either. I mean, does it? If you’ve done it a zillion times in the past, do you really think it’s going to work if you just do it one more time? NO.

I’m not saying the app that you create is a bad application to start with. It’s actually a great start. And the Official Tutorial is actually quite good. What are the things that you can learn from the Official Django Tutorial? Here are a few things:

  1. You learn the correct order to develop your application in. Start with Models, then create Views, then create Templates.
  2. You actually create an application You’re not just learning for learning sake, you’re learning something that is actually useful. And you, yes you can improve it to make it better.

And, actually there is a secret to all this. The Official Django Tutorial (or any tutorial) is the secret to creating big – even… giant – pieces of software.

You probably know Facebook when it was in its early stages. There was nothing fancy about it. It was a PHP application that allowed you to put in some information about yourself, add a picture of yourself, and that was basically it. When you logged in, you were able to request friends with other people at your school. You can do that with Django in a few hours or days.

What made Facebook stand out from the rest of the Social Media platforms? They iterated on it quicker than all other Social Media platforms. Today, Facebook code is millions of lines long and far more complex than most operating systems in operation today. This is how real software is created. This is precisely why you need to stop…for the love of all that is good…STOP worrying about being great.

Great implies that you can create Facebook as it is right now. Great implies that you don’t need to write tests, don’t have to read the documentation, don’t have to use other technologies like caching software (Memcached), indexers (Solr or ElasticSearch), Kubernetes / Docker, etc…

You don’t need to be great. You just need to be competent. You need to be able to understand how to read documentation. You need to be able to iterate on your code to make it better. But what does “better” mean? That’s really up to you.

  1. Start with a personal project.
  2. Create a tiny version of that project (Think: Polls Application from the Official Django Tutorial).
  3. Figure out what will make it better.
  4. Figure out how to make it better.
  5. Make it better.
  6. Then do it all over again.

You will never feel like you’re a great developer, but eventually you’ll gain more confidence. You’ll become a competent developer. When you’re confident, you’ll apply to companies. You’ll work as a freelancer. You’ll own your own blog. You’ll get better. That’s what I want for you. That’s what you want for you.

Let’s make it happen.