Geeky/Programming Ramblings

A Good Memory Is A Great Thing To Have

Well, I haven’t posted in a while. Still busy as ever. Was up north for the 4th and my 10 Year reunion. Pics are on Flickr.

Anyways, this post is about a “Good Memory”, or even better, the ability to memorize things. Memorization.

So what does memorization have to do with anything? Well, as far as computer stuff goes, programming, development, database stuff, networking, sysadmin, all aspects, even just regular old users using their computers. Memory (not RAM), but remembering how to do things is going to make you better. Not just better, but substantially better.

Remembering things will probably make you a very good developer. How? You won’t have to keep looking things up. It should start out with you remembering the syntax of the language you are using. Then comes remembering how to setup and tweak your tools (IDE), then comes remembering different concepts (loops, OOP patterns, etc). Next comes remember old code you wrote to solve some problem, and going back to it and using it again. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

As any good developer should, you should be able to remember how to use the OS and tools you are using. If you can’t even do that, you probably shouldn’t be developing software. A simple example, like setting up a printer in Windows XP, or pinging Google, or using CTRL+C and CTRL+V – these simple concepts are going to make you a better computer user, not just a developer. There is no excuse for not knowing these simple things!

Now, if you can remember tons of little things like that, and then start adding in Framework libs, and IDE tricks and how the network works, or every other nugget of info you should be remembering. You might not remember every blog or site bookmark full content, but you should remember that you bookmarked it and why. Just little things.

Another area where memorization is key is with music. Playing music. Singing music. Take playing guitar or piano for instance. You can read off the music time and time again, but you are using part of your brain on that, not focusing on actually playing. Once you memorize the music, you can play it better, and focus on actually playing, not where you are on the music page.

Same thing with looking up things in help or guides for development. If you keep having to look up DATEDIFF in SQL books online, you are just wasting time. Learn how it works, learn the params and what they are, and memorize it.

I think the only time you should be using the help is to search for something that you haven’t memorized. Like, “I wonder if there is a C# function to do XYZ”. Then, you search help, even better Google, or ask someone who you think might know. But you shouldn’t have to Google or ask someone “Hey, do you know I set up a FOR loop?” – That you should know, and have memorized (plus a ton of other things!!)

The more you memorize, the better you will become, because you can focus on the problems to solve, not learning the tools and concepts you should already know. Oh, and you can play some wicked guitar as well 🙂

By Steve Novoselac

Director of Digital Technology @TrekBikes, Father, Musician, Cyclist, Homebrewer

One reply on “A Good Memory Is A Great Thing To Have”

What in the world made you think of this to post? Though I do agree with most of it…there are some things I don’t care to remember because its just as easy to look it up.

I’d rather fill my memory with things that are most important…god, my wife and kids, myself, family, then work (development).

I takes me just as long to google something I don’t care to remember in SQL than it does to sit and try to remember something or if I have done it before.

Another way to think about it…is if you remember something and always do it that way, you are running the risk of someone one else doing the same thing, only better. It doesn’t hurt to look it up even if you know a way to do it. There’s always going to be someone or something doing it better than the way you do.



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