I’m a fan of top 5 lists. Top 10 lists are even better, but this is a top 91 list of resources to make you a better programmer. You’d think there would be 9 more to make it an even 100. Come to think of it, it’s really bugging me now, kind of like when someone pulls their food out of the microwave early and leaves a few seconds on the digital display.
The internet has really opened up opportunities for self-teaching. Many great web developers have never so much as set foot into a college IT course (myself included) but instead, out of interest or necessity, learned to sling HTML, PHP, or whatever else, on their own.
Big thick tech books used to be my first step when learning a new technology, but where do you go once you understand the basics and you need a little help? Usually it’s Google searches that lead to discussion forums that require lot’s of weeding through bad answers and long threads. But recently some new resources have become available for developers who need a little help.
It’s always nice to have a forum you can go to when you run into a tough spot while developing software. Well, now that Stack Overflow launched (a few months back), developers can submit questions to a huge group of fellow coders. The suggestions are rated and the best answer rises to the top so you don’t have to dig through a ton of wrong answers to find the right one. It’s a great way to get answers and help others who are in need by sharing your expertise.
Refactor My Code
Have you ever wished you had a second set of eyes to look over some questionable code you cobbled together? Refactor My Code allows developers to submit code samples to other developers to have them critiqued and optimized. This is a great resource when you’re new to a language or platform and you just need a few pointers in highly specific situations.
Microsoft has introduced a new program for early stage startups called BizSpark. The goal of the program is to help get broke starups the tools they need to develop and deploy their software.
There are a few requirements to enroll in the program: Your startup has to be younger than 3 years old, make less than $1 million per year in revenue, be web-based, and you must be enrolled by a network partner.
For an early stage startup with little cash, this is a great way to get full access to Microsoft development tools and server software. You can even use things like SQL Server in your hosted, production environment under the program, which goes a long way if you use their database.
I found a local network provider to give me enrollment access and I’m really impressed with how much software is available. It’s no joke. You pretty much get everything Microsoft offers for free. So, if you’re like me and you use the Microsoft .Net platform for your startup (even if you don’t), check out BizSpark to help you get off the ground.
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