Learn Git in … 30 days

Recently I stumbled on a tutorial named Learn git in 30 minutes. While there is nothing wrong with that tutorial, it’s actually pretty accurate, and clear and easy to follow – thumbs up to the author about the writing – I have great concerns about how should we learn Git.

Git is not that easy.

Don’t get me wrong, Git is a great tool, perhaps the greatest developers’ tool since C language. Where I work at, we switched from Team Foundation Server to Git two years and a half ago, and I’ve never looked back – Git does things right where TFS did wrong. It really helped my life, as a developer, easier.

But everything comes at a cost.

As powerful and flexible as it is, Git is also complex and easy to mess up. It can be your best tool,  but it can also be your worst nightmare, when something goes wrong.

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StackOverflow – a missed opportunity

Back when I was young and mostly stupid, I discovered StackOverflow. The site struck me hard. There were a lot of “Wow” moments for a third year student. I still remember the first time I asked the first question, then even think about the questions to ask (so I can gain some precious reputation – yeah, I was young and stupid, remember?), and the first time I tried to answer a question myself.

It has been a long time since those days.

I still use StackOverflow, even at this very moment. But it’s on demand, instead of browsing it everyday as a habit. I search for a question, read the answer, possibly vote it up, then leave. Sometimes, when I have absolutely nothing to do, I try to review the suggested edits from other users. And that’s it.

I don’t entirely leave StackOverflow, I just don’t actively use it any more.

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What does it take to be a developer?

No I’m not talking about becoming a “developer” like Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerberg, or even someone less “famous” like Linus Torvald or Anders Hejlsberg. Man, I’d give up many things to become one of those. To become such successful developers, you must be extremely talented, extremely determined, and of course, a sizable amount of luck. I’m talking about an average human being, trying to become a person who can enjoy his work (and hopefully, provide his family with that work). 

Somebody might think, it’s easy to be a developer today. Most problems can be found on the internet – by searching Google, or asking questions on sites such as StackOverflow. Some might even jokingly define “programming = copy and paste answer from StackOverflow”, but we all know that, it takes more than that.

I’ve been trying to answer that question. I’m not a great developer by any mean. A decent, at most (My boss has been saying that I’m doing a very good job, I truly hope he’s not just being nice). It’s been 14 years since I get into programming, 10 years since I made the final decision to be a programmer, when I chose the faculty at my university  and 6 years since I began my professional career as a developer. It’s been all natural to me – what does it take to be a decent developer?

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Don’t be that developer

It’s never been easier to be a developer. With the availability of Internet these days, for almost anywhere, anytime, it’s just few clicks away to find the answer of your question. With proper keywords, especially when you have an error message, Google can lead you to the answer within a fraction of second – mostly StackOverflow, or some other websites/blogs that the people have already answered it.

If you want a more specific question where you can’t find an answer to, you can simply ask. It’s free. The days of Expert-sexchange are long gone. People around the world are willing to help you, without knowing who you are – they jump into your question, read it, guess it, understand it, ask something to clarify, think about a solution, possibly try it, post it to you.

They spend time, their precious time, to make your life, just a little easier.

And they don’t charge you a penny. Perhaps they like solving problems. Perhaps they like helping people. Perhaps they like the reputation count in SO. But in the end of the day, you don’t have to spend a bunch of money a professional consultant would cost you.

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