Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Dozen Extracurricular Activities to be a Better Developer

[This was originally posted at]


I talk to a lot of developers, see a lot of resumes, and give a fair deal of interviews. One of the biggest gaps I see is a lack of any extracurricular activities - i.e. work-related tasks not required by your current job. Empirically, I notice a direct relationship between a dev's technical confidence and the quality of their extra curriculars. Here are some ideas of good extra curriculars that won't just make your resume stick out, they'll make you a fundamentally better developer.

  1. Write a technical article (such as for, or any website in the Codezone community).
  2. Start your own blog
  3. Give an internal presentation to your company
  4. Mentor newer developers
  5. Help out with your companies technical interviews
  6. Get a certification
  7. Get a patent (obviously not feasible with most companies, but the larger ones may support it)
  8. Start an open-source project
  9. Attend a user group (for example, if you're in Chicago, consider attending the Chicago .Net User's Group)
  10. Participate in online forums, answering others questions (which goes great with having your own blog and writing articles)
  11. Make your own personal website
  12. Help your non-technical friends set up their own web sites.

No matter where you are, there's likely at least some of these you could do in your current job.

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