Learning software development skills gives you control over technology. It also gives you greater insight to how a computer works. Sure, search engines help when you have a problem. However, having an idea of what is happening, makes your searches 10 times better.
This also opens up a world of possibilities. If you think, “Gee that door keeps swinging shut, and I want it to stay open.” You can find something, and wedge it under the door. Programming is the same thing, it empowers you to solve problems. 🙂
The best way to improve at programming, is to have projects. The best projects are the ones you can accomplish. Too often, people become frustrated after a few hours or days because they haven’t made the next Angry Birds or Facebook. So keep in mind that the big applications take large teams years to to make. Find a mentor, ask questions at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find a local group.
One kind of project, is to create a blog (like this one), about a topic you feel passionately about. A great step by step free course to help you along the way is from Simple Programmer. The course is called “How to Create a Blog That Boosts Your Software Development Career“, however, the steps are general enough that they can be used for any type of blog. The steps are easy to follow, and there is a lot of room to take different paths to learn even more. In later posts, I’ll be describing how to set up your own server, and truly delve in to new aspects of technology (new for some of you anyway).