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Wednesday
Oct092013

Continuing Education

I've realized that throughout the last few years, life is a lot easier when you have background knowledge of a topic. For example, just a few years ago I didn't know much about version control or any programs related to it. I had a vague idea of it - it would help me save my work and revert it if I made a mistake - but not much else.

It was not until I worked in a team-based environment in a job that I understood more of its usefulness. You can do cool things like have one team on the core code while another team focuses on customizations, and combine them as a release package. You can even split the code when you're ready to work on a new feature, and blow it away if it turns out not working out.

That knowledge not only help me set up version control at home, but I was also able to help others. Recently a co-worker requested help setting up version control, and I was able to do so in confidence. Even though I had questions, I knew what types of questions to ask.

Just last night, I was playing a demo of Ace Attorney on my NDS next to my bookshelf, and I casually looked over and saw a book: Head First Design Patterns. I thought to myself "Ya know, I should've finished reading that book awhile ago". Not only do I have books to learn topics, but I have other sources as well: a Safari Books Online subscription and various educational sites like Code Academy and Khan Academy. Just then, I realized I have all these resources to become a better programmer, and I've drifted away from actually using that time to do so. Sure, working on a game itself is a highly educational activity, but when it comes to knowing the solution for a problem, or at least a good process to explore possible options, there are holes that can be filled with prior knowledge, which as a consequence can speed up game development. In other words, knowing the right tools for the job.

So I've decided to set a goal for myself: try to set up at least an hour a day to do something educational. I think I'm going to start with that Design Patterns book as I've been wanting to finish it for a long time now.

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