Time for Growth

In my last post I listed the technologies I'm curious about, but I also listed some of the technologies I'm not so enthusiastic about. That triggered some reactions and someone pointed out to me that my knowledge about C# and Java is outdated.

This has been the beginning of a soul-searching process on my part.

A problem of arrogance?

Rather than seeking to find out more through questions and learning (actions viewed by them as showing vulnerability), arrogant people tend to generalize from their limited, narrow life experiences and try to impose their small worldview on others.

-- How to Detect Arrogant People

I stumbled upon the previous quote and, while I find it a little harsh, it doesn't paint a pretty picture. Am I confining myself to the small enclosure of my own comfort zone, forgetting to question it from time to time?

Since I've always made it a point to keep my open mindedness as wide as possible, I decided to do something about it in order to improve. The time has come to let go of some stiff ideas that get in the way, challenge my beliefs and grow up as a person.

Conquering the mountain of my ego

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, says ancient Chinese lore, so I started to take some baby steps in that direction. I found some very inspiring insights in the videos by Jayme Edwards, who shares what he has learned over the years as a software developer in order to lead more healthy professional lives.

His approach really inspired me and made me realize that it's more important to me to be helpful on a project or organization rather than being an ass about technological choices: while I have my preferences and ideas, I can't let these things get in the way of making a positive impact.

I also decided that an update in popular technologies outside my usual picks is overdue, so I went ahead and invested some time there.

New discoveries

The first thing I wanted to find out was how it would look like if I wanted to start a project in .NET, for example a simple API. I didn't want to install .NET Core on my machine, so I opted for docker images. I created a small F# project and I was surprised! There are relatively few obstacles to get started and while it still requires some configuration files, the available documentation is excellent and all the basics are already covered. Kudos!

Next I decided to find out what has been happening in the Java world since 2012. And to my great surprise the introduction of lambda expressions is a bigger deal that I thought! Coupled with the new Stream API, the power of Java has been greatly extended.

For example, to loop through an array we can turn this:

List<Integer> numbers = Arrays.<Integer>asList(1, 2, 3, 4);
for(int number : numbers) {
  System.out.println(number);
}

into this:

List<Integer> numbers = Arrays.<Integer>asList(1, 2, 3, 4);
numbers.stream()
  .forEach((number) -> System.out.println(number));

While there are still a lot of limitations due to the way object orientation was implemented in the language, this is already a great improvement!

Conclusions

I am glad to make this effort to widen my horizons. I might never be an actual fan of some technologies, but I decided to stop treating this as a deal-breaker. Instead I'll give more importance to the people involved in a project and the potential positive impact that I can have.

Truth is, horrible code can come from any language, but it is also true that with (almost) any language you can build awesome stuff. And regardless, at the end of the day I am going to work with people, not programming languages, and if the people are cool and I can be of help, what more could I wish for?


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