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Jani Hartikainen:
In order to become a better developer, you must first become a teacher
August 18, 2014 @ 10:35:28

In his latest post Jani Hartikainen makes a recommendation for those wanting to become better developers: first become a teacher. He suggests that communication is the second most important skill a developer can have.

What is the most important skill for a developer besides actually writing code? Communication. What do you typically do when you communicate as a developer with someone else? You explain problems, you describe solutions, you talk to non-programmers about what you're doing. You could also say that you're teaching others about what you're doing. [...] Being a good communicator is often completely overlooked.

He looks at why it's important for a developer to have good communication skills and what it means to "communicate well" with fellow developers. He suggests that real teaching can start when developers understand the domain and code they're working with. He also talks about the flip side of things, the importance of listening to other developers and those trying to help. Listening well means understanding the question and being open to different ideas, even if they contradict your own.

As with all aspects of programming, the best way to improve communication and your ability to reason about code on a higher level is practice.
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Link: http://codeutopia.net/blog/2014/08/18/in-order-to-become-a-better-developer-you-must-first-become-a-teacher/

/Dev/Hell Podcast:
Episode 48 Old as Dirt
July 24, 2014 @ 12:55:53

The /Dev/Hell podcast has released their latest episode today, number 48: Old As Dirt. In this episode hosts Chris Hartjes and Ed Finkler are joined by guest Elizabeth Smith about being "old as dirt" and mentoring other developers.

Our guest this week is Elizabeth Smith, PHP internals veteran and guru of PHP on Windows (she says "I wish every company was as good at giving back to open source as Microsoft"). We talk about being Old as Dirt in relation to a blog post Ed made last week, how to mentor up and coming developers, and the history of PHP on Windows.

They also talk about Ed's The Developer's Dystopian Future article, PHP-GTK and the PHPMentoring project. You can listen to this latest episode either through the in-page player or by downloading the mp3 directly.

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Link: http://devhell.info/post/2014-07-11/old-as-dirt/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Becoming a PHP Professional The Importance of Others
December 03, 2013 @ 09:59:37

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post in the "Becoming a PHP Professional" series today from Bruno Skvorc. In this latest post he talks about the importance of other people in the process, including both learning (being mentored) and teaching (mentor).

When you work on improving your skills on your own, you'll often find yourself stuck. In fact, the experts frequently find themselves stuck more often than newbies, but it's the speed and skill with which they "unstick" themselves that makes them stand out in the cold, snowy field of identically unimpressive snowflakes.

He talks about having an "invisible friend" or another non-developer to talk to that may provide a different perspective (see rubber ducking). He covers teams and both the good and bad of being a part of them. He also looks at the mentoring/being mentored relationship and some places you can go to get more information about both in the PHP community. Finally, he looks at a tricky topic - ego in development and the inflation that can happen as your skill level grows.

Others around you - either digitally or in real life - can protect you from both inflation and deflation - a good mentor or colleague will tell you when you're steering wrong, and they'll motivate you when you're in a slump. They'll help you avoid the multi-month cooldown periods and the post-burnout lack of interest that eventually occurs.
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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/becoming-php-professional-importance-others/

7PHP.com:
PHP Interview With Ligaya Turmelle Co-Founder Of PHPwomen.org
January 07, 2013 @ 12:19:00

7PHP.com has posted its latest in their series of interviews with members of the PHP community. This time they talked with Ligaya Turmele, a co-founder of the PHP Women group and speaker.

In this edition I talked with the full time Goddess, Ligaya Turmelle who is the Co-Founder Of PHPwomen.org - The PHP Women User Group. [Ligaya @lig] is also the Principal MySQL Technical Support Engineer at Oracle. She has been speaking at so many conferences namely ZendCon, PHP|tek, Day Camp for Developers, Zend PHP Conference; and she will soon speak at the incoming hot SunshinePHP Conference (organized by Adam Culp) scheduled for February 8-9 2013 where she will talk about 'Replication with MySQL'.

Her answers mention a few things like:

  • her relationship with the PHP community
  • recommendations she has for people wanting to learn more about PHP
  • how small decisions have effected her life
  • her picks for best conferences
  • her "good" and "bad" list for things that happen at conferences

You can read the full interview here.

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Reddit.com:
I'm interested in teaching others PHP. Is anyone interested?
July 27, 2012 @ 09:21:49

If you've been doing PHP for a while and feel the need to get out there and help others learn the language (and the whole ecosystem around it) but don't know where to start, check out this thread over on Reddit with some helpful resources and suggestions.

I'm interested in teaching PHP and programming concepts to people. I've been told that I teach people in a way that is easier to grasp than what's conventional and I would like to get other peoples opinions on how to produce code and perspectives when you're not native to PHP specifically.

In the comments there's mentions of things like:

  • the PHP Mentoring project
  • ProTalk.me for sharing your videos
  • What kinds of topics people are looking for
  • and responses from people that would like to learn more about the language themselves
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Anthony Ferrara's Blog:
Becoming A Better Developer
November 09, 2011 @ 08:54:27

Anthony Ferrara has a new post today on his blog with some things he think you can do to become a better overall developer (and not just in PHP). He shares six things from his own experience to help answer this question.

One of the most frequent questions that I get asked is "How can I become a better developer?" I think that it's a very good question to ask that deserves a good response. But how can you respond to something like that? Becoming a better developer depends so heavily on past experience (where to grow), interests and rationale (why do you want to grow), that it's really hard to answer without a fair bit of discussion. This post reflects my experiences from both my own growth and the growth that I've seen in others.

The things on his list are pretty simple, but they're easy to forget in your day to day development life. Things like being motivated to better yourself, gaining confidence in your abilities, sharing your knowledge and/or becoming a mentor to developers with less experience than you. Interestingly enough, this last one can sometimes teach you a little something about you and your processes too.

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John Congdon's Blog:
PHP User Groups (Orlando and Daytona Beach)
April 14, 2011 @ 10:36:33

In this recent post to his blog John Congdon looks at some of his local user groups - Orlando and Daytona Beach in Florida - and how they handle their meetings and groups differently.

I am a member of two PHP user groups. Each one runs a little bit differently. I am looking for feedback from other people in other PHP user groups to find ways we may be able to make these better. he East Central Florida PHP User Group (Daytona Beach area) is new/restarting. [...] They seem to be more geared towards teaching new PHP developers. [...] The Orlando PHP User Group is quite different. They lean towards more presentation style meetings. Someone proposes a topic, and then someone volunteers to be the presenter.

He asks for comments from the community as a whole, wondering what he can do and what other groups in similar situations have done to help grow and improve their group. Comments on the post include suggestions of a more traditional approach over the mentoring aspect, a possible mixing of the styles and using tools likee Google Moderator to pick out the topics people are most interested in.

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Zoe Slattery's Blog:
PHP TestFest 2009
February 02, 2009 @ 08:44:54

Its that time of year again - time to get the ball rolling for this year's PHP TestFest. Zoe Slattery has kicked things off with a new post for today.

It's time to start getting the 2009 PHP TestFest underway. The TestFest is a worldwide event in which PHP user groups and individuals contribute to PHP by writing tests for PHP. It's a great way to contribute to one of the most successful open source projects there has ever been, it's also pretty cool to see your name in the the source distribution for code that's running on over 20 million web domains.

If you're a user group (or really just want to participate), send an email over to the PHP qa list (php-qa@lists.php.net) with your preferred date and a primary contact for the group. The groups/people will then be listed over on the PHP wiki so you can check to see if there's others in your area already participating.

Things are just getting organized, but there's already a few things in the works - a SVN repository where participants can commit tests directly (instead of funneling them all through a few people like before), some sponsors (maybe elePHPants!) and the search for mentors to help out those writing tests and can do the final review/commit of the user-submitted tests.

More event and contact information can be found near the end of her post.

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PHP.net Wiki:
Mentor Listing Added for TestFest 2008
April 09, 2008 @ 12:12:02

The mentor list for this year's TestFest 2008 has been started (as mentioned by Ligaya Turmelle on her blog). The list so far includes people from the community like:

  • Elizabeth Smith (near Chicago)
  • Pierre Joye (Munich)
  • Sebastian Bergmann (Cologne)
  • David Coallier (Ireland & various others)

Local organizers are still being assigned. Those considered must already committers at PHP.net and will be available to answer questions for their given areas. Ultimately, they will do the final commits of the resulting tests.

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Joshua Eichorn's Blog:
Thanks for your thoughts on improving PEAR
May 08, 2007 @ 15:02:00

Following up from a previous post of his that got lots of great feedback, Joshua Eichorn has posted his own thanks, not only for the responses to his own thoughts but to the PEAR community as a whole.

You'll be happy to know that were already working on many of your suggestions, Greg's post on the subject has some more details. I'll be sharing everyones comments with the rest of the PEAR group at our meeting on the 13th, so if anyone has a suggestion they haven't submitted yet thats your deadline.

The thing he's most excited about is the new mentoring program that will introduce new developers to the PEAR-ality of it all and get them involved with both the coding and the community.

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