There are three things that new programmers must learn to do. These take years to learn, so give yourself time.

The three top things are…

  1. Build Lots of Things
  2. Know Your Value
  3. Go Beyond Code

Let’s look at each one of those lessons more closely.

Build Lots of Things

Build things, lots of things, every day. There is no substitute for building things when it comes to being a programmer.

The best programmers are usually the ones who have built the most stuff over a long period of time.

Know Your Value

In the beginning the value of your skill is pretty low. If you are diligent about tip #1, your market value will grow faster than you feel you can raise your rate.

Eventually you will find yourself underpaid and you’ll find a better deal elsewhere. That’s one of the best learning experiences you will have in your career.

Go Beyond Code

Writing code ends up being about 10–25% of what you do as a programmer. The rest is either thinking by yourself or communicating with other people.

Managing your personal energy and improving your life skills in non-code areas will end up being more valuable than being 10% better at your chosen toolset ever will be.

Code is a great hobby, passion, and career, but always remember there is more to life than code.

How To Learn These Lessons

These lessons are learned through experience. I’ve put them in a rough order of importance and sequence. It is up to you to put enough time and energy for this wisdom to manifest in your own life.

For me, it took about a decade for these simple sounding tips to really sink in. If you are lucky, you might learn them quicker since you are aware of them now.

And when you figure out how to accelerate the process, it will come to you even quicker.