Master your development tool of choice

Following the spirit of “Master your programming language of choice“, is the skillful use of your favourite development environment or IDE (integrated development environment), such as Microsoft Visual Studio or Dev-C++. You need to know the shortcuts, keyword highlighting and anything else that will make your programming job easier.

For example, if you deal with strings a lot (say SQL statements), it will help if your IDE makes it easier to find on the screen. The standard seems to be red colour for strings. The default colour highlighting for Visual Studio 2003 is black. How can you find any string literal in your code quickly if the string literal is the same colour as your code?

With all the advancements in development tools (such as Intellisense), you should be focusing on the one thing that computers cannot do for you: thinking. Thinking of the algorithm that will implement your business logic. Thinking of the different possibilities that your logic can succeed or fail, and handle them. There are lots of code generation tools out there to make your life easier. That said, there will be instances where you have to do the actual coding yourself.

Your greatest asset is your ability to think.