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Becoming a Better Developer and Letting Go Of Dogma

By Dan Gautsch on January 20, 2015

I recently found myself in a debate with some of my colleagues where I was in the minority during the course of the discussion, and was having a hard time conceding my point and acquiescing to the greater group’s logic.

The topic really doesn’t matter for the sake of this post, but I went home and really had to think about why I felt the way I did and why it was hard for me to see everyone else’s point of view. After some time I realized that I had become so stuck in my own dogma that it blinded me from seeing the other point of view.

When it comes to developers, there are often two types of ways to embrace new ideas. On one side, you have those who are reticent to jump into every new technology, technique, and methodology because they’re unproven and risky. These folks are happy to stick with what has worked for them for years (and probably will for many more to come).

On the other side are those who relish the chance to try the latest and greatest on their current project. New stuff is exciting, pushes the boundaries, and is sometimes vastly superior to previous techniques they’ve learned. People in this camp are often itching to move on to whatever is “next” because it broadens their skill-sets and challenges them to learn new things.

It’d be hard to find someone who is strictly one type or the other in every single context, but regardless, being a developer who employs the best of both is important.

As you go through your career, you may find that you transition between both mindsets but never fully embrace one side or the other. This brings me back to the discussion with my colleagues. I had simply swung too far toward the “tried and true” philosophy and needed to bring myself back to center; change is important and absolutely necessary to help us evolve as developers. Still, it doesn’t hurt to have a bit of skepticism when something new is presented—as long as, again, you aren’t blinded by your own dogma.

We all have an opinion and all think we’re right at times… but in a profession where technology (and the principles that guide it) changes so fast, you need to have open arms to at least some extent, or you’re eventually gonna drop the ball.

What do you think? Do you sometimes find yourself in one camp or the other? Drop us a note in the comments.