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If you want to succeed as a programmer, you need to immerse yourself in the programming culture. This is more true if you’re still a pupil. The field of programming is so broad and there’s so much information to absorb that you’ll never come out on top if you participate from a distance. Fortunately, blogs are a readily accessible medium keep you in the loop.
Just to be clear, these programming blogs are NOT meant to replace hands-on practice or proper instruction. If you’re a complete novice, you should first pick a programming language to learn and then start by learning the basics. Once your feet are wet, that’s when these blogs will come in handy and boost your skills up a few notches.
Joel on Software is one of the most incredible resources for any aspiring software developer. Over the last 15 years, Joel Spolsky has written and accumulated over 1,100 different articles that touch on subjects ranging from coding habits to project management to software business practices to the advent of new technologies.
For your benefit, Joel has a clear list of his “Top 10” articles for easy browsing. He also has a list of helpful articles for “New Developers,” which talk about the mentality of newbie coders, how to progress when you feel like you suck, and other kinds of advice that are must-reads.
Unfortunately, having retired last year, Joel no longer writes new articles to the site. However, the compendium of knowledge is so vast that you’d be remiss to pass it over.
Coding Horror is an actively maintained half-personal blog by an experienced web and software developer, Jeff Atwood. You’ll find a broad mixture of posts related to programming, his own private thoughts on a particular topic, summaries of his own research, or even advice for newbie and veteran programmers alike.
The blog posts have evolved over many years and the focus of the blog itself has evolved with them. That being said, the posts are relatively light reads and they’ll get you thinking.
If you’re interested in game development or want to break into the gaming industry, Gamasutra is the one site that you must read. Free-to-play monetization? Virtual reality consoles? Development post-mortems? Advice on succeeding as an indie? Need help finding a job? You’ll find all of that here and more.
Technically, Gamasutra is more of a community with a blog component, but it can be read as a blog all the same. It’s divided into several sections: Programming, Art, Audio, Design, Production, and Business. It really runs the gamut for game development, so if that’s a specialty that interests you, don’t skip this one.
A List Apart is a multi-author blog that focuses on web design, web development, web standards, and web content. Basically, if there’s anything important going on in the world of web programming, you’ll probably hear about it here. That isn’t to say it’s a news site — because it isn’t — but it’s an important resource nonetheless.
There’s a lot of good advice here. Which tools are useful for a web developer? What’s the best way to style elements? Are you interested in interviews with web development gurus? A List Apart updates at least once a week, so it’ll fill you with web content goodness slowly but surely. If you have the writing chops, you can also write for them and get paid.
The David Walsh Blog is another web-development-centric blog in the same vein as A List Apart, but its focus is slightly different. The posts are formatted more in the style of tutorials with concrete goals and examples rather than lofty theories and design guidelines. For a web development newbie, it’s a fantastic resource for learning.
It’s no secret that the programmer’s club is dominated by men, but that’s becoming less true with every year. Yet while the stigma behind “female coders” is deteriorating, that doesn’t mean it’s extinct. It’s tough being a woman in a man’s world, which is why the Girl Developer blog exists.
Girl Developer is run by Sara Chipps, a successful web coder who co-founded Girl Develop It, a non-profit organization that aims to help females become software developers. Her blog touches on gender-neutral topics from time to time, but it’s a great window into some of the challenges and struggles that she encounters.
The Daily WTF is a user-submitted blog that showcases some of the worst coding practices witnessed in a real working environment. The site owner approves and edits submissions to keep a sense of consistency between posts, so don’t let the “user-submitted” part of it turn you away.
Fortunately, the site’s focus isn’t so much a mockery of bad code as it is a warning of what to expect in the real world. There’s also an element of shared misery as we, the readers, sympathize with the submitters for having to deal with any bad code.
Why should you read it? Because you’ll learn what not to do. Because no matter how bad you think you are as a programmer, at least you aren’t this bad. And because it’s downright humorous!
Which programming blogs do you follow? Are there any others that you would recommend to students of programming? Take a look at your RSS feeds and comment below with some of your favorite coding-related blogs!