Yitzchok Willroth, better known as coderabbi, spoke at the Oklahoma PHP/Tulsa Web Devs user group Monday night as part of his Wisdom World Tour. He is sharing principles he learned studying the Torah that have helped him as a developer. I think the things he shared are just good real life principles that apply to every day life. If you get a chance to hear him, I highly recommend making the time for it. Highly recommended.
Here are just a few of the points that he shared.
- “Cultivate a Mentor, Find a Colleague” – A mentor will help you grow and learn quicker. To find a mentor, you should “identify, interact and initiate”. Identify someone that you would like to learn from. Then start Interacting with that person by talking, email, asking questions. After you have developed a relationship, Initiate the idea by asking if they would mentor you. People are an important resource which is you need colleagues in your life. Colleagues can learn from each other by their interaction. This can be through pair coding, code review or just talking. Another way is via websites. doyou.computer and exercism.io are two places where they use group coding challenges to help you learn and grow. I haven’t used either yet, but I am planning on it.
- “Do not separate yourself from the Community” – People grow by interacting with other people. In the tech world, it is easy to isolate yourself. You need to make an effort to join a community and interact with it. Proverbs 27:17 – As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Different ways you can interact with the community is by user groups, conferences, IRC, twitter. There are numerous ways. Another way is by contributing to open source software. The key thing is to start and then continue.
- “Verbalize” – Sometimes you can help yourself find a solution by talking about the problem and solution with someone. You can talk to yourself is no one else is available. Another option is to whiteboard the process. Creating the explanation will help you clarify the solution.
- “The timid does not learn” – Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t quit. The key is to start.
His ending was a quote (I don’t remember the Rabbi’s name he quoted): If I am not for myself, who is for me? If I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?
One of the things he stressed at the beginning of the talk was to take one point and start to implement it in your life. There were a lot of good things presented, but it is easy to get overwhelmed by trying to do everything, so you don’t do anything, so start with one item. My item from the talk was to improve my interaction with the community. I have often fallen into the trap of isolating myself just because it was easier. Some of the ways I am going to reach out to the community is blogging, twitter and user groups. I have been blogging, but the quality of what I have blogged has not always been the best. I am going to strive to improve the consistency and quality of my blogging. I am also going to start to use twitter. I am going to continue going to user groups, but I am going to expand my circle of contacts. It is easy to just talk to the 1 or 2 people I already know. I am going to reach out and start interacting with new people.
Once again, if you get the chance to hear Coderabbi talk, make the effort to attend. You will not be disappointed.