People have a tendency to come back to those things that they’re comfortable with. This is never more evident than in the realm of computer science, especially in web development. Everyone is an evangelist for some…thing they love using — for everything. There’s nothing wrong with that. Being excited about what we’re doing and the tools we’re using to do it is important in keeping ourselves interested and motivated in our work. This evangelism, however can stifle our growth as developers, and hold us short of our peak effectiveness.

As an avionics technician of 20 years for the US Air Force, I’ve spent a lot of time around all kinds of tools. Hand tools, power tools, ground and servicing equipment, test and calibration equipment and so on. It can seem daunting to someone on the outside the sheer breadth of tools I had at my disposal. If that wasn’t enough, many of those tools could be used for more than their intended purposes, with a lot of functional overlap. I was told by an early supervisor that it wasn’t as important to know how to use every one of them as it was knowing how to figure out which one to use. We had volumes of technical manuals to show us how something worked. He told me that everything in the tool room was nothing more than a tool, an idea I carried with me throughout my career. …


Ronald Roe

A web developer and Air Force veteran attempting to merge the lessons from both careers to help mentor developers on their journey.

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