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Adam Machanic

Adam Machanic, Boston-based SQL Server developer, shares his experiences with programming, monitoring, and performance tuning SQL Server. And the occasional battle with the query optimizer.

Six Months to Being a Better Dev?

So just like poor Hugo, I've been tagged by the menacing Denis, asked to describe the steps I will take to becoming a better developer over the next six months.

I gave this some thought, and decided that I won't commit to reading any more technical books--I have a huge shelf of books I've already read or am halfway through.  And I won't commit to posting any more blog posts--I will try to post more, but no guarantees.  And I won't study anything new or do anything at all with technology.

No, instead I'm going to go the other way entirely.  I've buried myself far too deeply in the study of software development over the past few years, and I believe that if you're too obsessed with a single topic that you're going to end up either burned out or with tunnel vision. Luckily I think I've narrowly avoided both so far, but I don't want to risk getting there. So to become a better developer, I'm going to do the following:

  • Start going back to the gym. I realized the other day that it's been over a year, and I've managed to pack on about 10 pounds as a result. Disgraceful.
  • Start working with music again. I have thousands of dollars of gear sitting right next to me as I type, and it has grown dusty with disuse. How sad is that?
  • Read one non-technical book a month. I haven't read a novel for over two years, because I've had my head buried in database books. I'm going to change that. I just got a copy of Freakonomics and I'm going to start there. Not fiction, but at least it's not technical.
  • Start homebrewing again. Another hobby of mine that I have a bunch of equipment for, and it's sitting there gathering dust. And I'll be thirsty after all of those gym visits...

I hypothesize that by increasing the non-technical influences in my life I will return to development with greater vigor and more focus, and therefore will be a better developer. I'll let you know how it turns out.

No tags, I'm going to let this one die right here. But Denis, watch out. Next time something like this crosses my path you're it.

Published Tuesday, July 17, 2007 8:22 PM by Adam Machanic

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Denis Gobo said:

Today my twins are one year old . It is supposed to be a little easier from now on (until they hit 2

July 17, 2007 8:07 PM

Denis Gobo said:

Yep i will take a break in January and read



The earth is flat

4 hour work week

Confessions of an economic hitman

the Baroque Cycle

Until then you know the list  ;-)

July 17, 2007 8:18 PM

Bill Graziano said:

Adam, you have EXACTLY the right idea.  And Freakonomics is a great book.

July 17, 2007 10:00 PM

Stephen Moore said:

I second the nod to Freakonomics.  Very good read.  And I agree with your approach on this too.

July 18, 2007 9:48 AM

Brennan Gordon said:

Read Pilgrims Progress. It's centuries old and written for children, though most adults today would struggle to read it. It is also short.

July 19, 2007 2:56 AM

Brandon McKinney said:

So how did all of this work out for you?

January 14, 2008 12:09 PM

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About Adam Machanic

Adam Machanic is a Boston-based SQL Server developer, writer, and speaker. He focuses on large-scale data warehouse performance and development, and is author of the award-winning SQL Server monitoring stored procedure, sp_WhoIsActive. Adam has written for numerous web sites and magazines, including SQLblog, Simple Talk, Search SQL Server, SQL Server Professional, CoDe, and VSJ. He has also contributed to several books on SQL Server, including "SQL Server 2008 Internals" (Microsoft Press, 2009) and "Expert SQL Server 2005 Development" (Apress, 2007). Adam regularly speaks at conferences and training events on a variety of SQL Server topics. He is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for SQL Server, a Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP), and an alumnus of the INETA North American Speakers Bureau.

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