How to be a good IT student

English is not my first language, so the whole story may have some mistakes… corrections and fixes will be greatly appreciated. I’m also still a student, so my point of view could be far from reality, be gentle ;)

That’s it! I‘ll pass my software engineering degree next October! I’ve been learning a lot at ISEN, and now some students are asking me advices to be more than just the classical student that is listening to his teacher. So here’s some advices!

Everyday I’m doing technology watch

The easiest step is to do some technology watch. You need to be up-to-date all the time. It’s as important as coding because you’ll be able to see trends, discover new things, and get a huge IT culture. I’m using RSS feeds with Feedly to watch over my 150 websites. Yes, 150 websites. Of course I’m not reading every article, but even going through titles is interesting. For the insane one, my opml file is available here. Here’s a hint of some of my feeds, regarding the fact that I’m more a developer with strong affinity with Linux:

  • Tech - Numerama
  • Hacker News
  • Reddit
  • Codding Horror
  • All blog about company/languages/whatever: AngularJS blog, AWS Official Blog, Chromium blog, CloudFlare blog, CoreOS blog, Docker blog, The GitHub Blog, Github Engineering, Joel on Software, Mozilla Hacks, Mozilla Security Blog, Netflix Tech blog, OpenStack blog, Xebia blog, etc…
  • Sam & Max
  • Dave Cheney
  • Boing boing security
  • Voxxed
  • Journal Du hacker
  • La vache Libre
  • Canonical Blog
  • Linux Foundation
  • Phoronix
  • Slashdot
  • High Scalability
  • The New Stack

Start small, and add new contents as time goes.

Do every Hello World tutorial

Now that you follow many many websites, you’ll see a lot of frameworks, languages, concepts, weird names. Use Google (or DuckDuckGo) to see what is this weird thing! The goal here is to make associations. Here’s my typical workflow:

  • See some Scala stuff in the news or any social networks
  • Find the official website for Scala
  • Generally, click on “read more” or “Docs”
  • Answer this two questions: what does it accomplish? In which case I should be using it?
  • Make the Hello World tutorial

Thanks to this, in the appropriate time, you’ll remember that this stupid thing is actually solving your issue(or not), or will make your life easier(or not).

Last thing: if you find a niece piece of software, make some projects, or even better: contribute to it! Bonus points if you’re sharing to your Twitter account. Other bonus points if you’re using GitHub to show your projects.

Get involved in the local dev community

This is perhaps the most important advice. Get out of your confort zone, and go talk with others! I bet that there’s some local communities in your city that is looking for student in software engineer! For example in Brest, There’s the Java User Group, the Google developer Group, which are proposing talks around many stuff(don’t get fooled by the name). By going to this type of events, you’ll learn faster than by yourself, because you’ll have a summary made by someone like you(bonus points if you can follow them on Twitter for example)

Don’t be shy, and go even if you’re a total stranger and you don’t understand a word. It’s normal at the beginning, as your skills will increase, you’ll understand more and more, and even be the one that is speaking!

Play with Linux

Knowing your way around GNU/Linux distributions is a real skill. Many developers are finding CLI(Command-line interface) more intuitive than clicking everywhere. Start small, use Ubuntu on a VM, get a low-cost server on OVH, or any other cloud provider, and play with it.

Please, feel free to react to this article, you can reach me on Twitter, Or visite my website.