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Why Don't Software Developers Do More Coding Exercises?

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Coding exercises seem like a great idea if you want to learn coding. If you want to learn a practical skill then you should practice, right?

And yet coders don’t do a lot of them. Some, but not a lot. And the longer you’ve been a coder, the fewer of them you seem to do. Ask your favourite long-term veteran coder. A few of them will act guilty that they don’t, but almost none of them actually do coding exercises.

Why don’t we?

I could rail about how silly that is. But I won’t. If nearly everybody doesn’t do something, it’s usually because it’s not as good an idea as it seems. They used to tell us to all use flowcharts for designing program logic. We didn’t. We were 100% right on that one.

We’re basically right about coding exercises, too. But there’s a better alternative that a few people do, especially long-time coders. That’s what you should actually be doing. It’s more fun, too.

But before we get to what you maybe should be doing, let’s talk about why you’re right about most coding exercises.

A Reader Letter: Oh No, I Keep Doing Useful Tasks!

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A reader wrote me an email recently. That’s always a good feeling! He had a question about Mastering Software Technique and general code learning that I’ll bet a lot of you share: it’s easy to go off the rails doing useful things rather than what I recommend. But why? Is it a problem? How can it be...

Simple and Silly Productivity Hacks: The Done List

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Like most developers who have been developing awhile, I have my favoured ways to keep myself productive. Most are standard: careful use of caffeine, a frequently-curated TODO list, an obvious place to check my priorities, occasional retrospectives and so on.

I also have a few less-common ones that...

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