You know the drill.

Learn a new language to complement your programming skills.

It would be a typical New Year’s resolution for developers to learn a new programming language this year. But seriously, what’s the point of learning C# when you’re a Java developer (or vice versa)?

What you should be striving for are programming languages that are orthogonal to your current skill set. If you’re an enterprise developer used to statically typed OO programming languages, try dynamic languages like Python and Ruby. If you’re already using dynamic languages, try your hands on functional programming like Erlang and Scala. Same goes for platforms: web developers might want try programming in RIAs.

The point here isn’t to add bullet points to your resume, but to have different ways of looking at problems, like adding new tools to a toolbox. For example, had I not been aware of the basics of functional programming, I might have tried to force traditional Java-like synchronization techniques in my Google Wave gadgets instead of the more elegant FP approach.

Just a short plugging:

Rapid Development‘s Classic Mistakes (in software development) was a real eye-opener for me when I read it four years ago. Even though it was written almost a decade ago, a lot of the mistakes listed there were still present in my company.

To keep the list up to date, Construx (Steve McConnell’s company) is now holding the Classic Mistakes survey for 2010. Help update the study by taking the survey here.

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