And one would have to be riding the short bus not to notice that most of the Flash Devs come from a similar background (notice I say Flash and not Flex, ahem). This blog post is directed at you guys, my fellow flash devs/UX dorks. You programming autodidacts (look it up mofo!) in the audience. So, if you come from a compSci background, go back to reading your white papers or writing your book on functional programming for AS3. You probably know all of this stuff.
Please understand the intention of this blog post: I'm just sharing things that weren't taught to me right off the bat. I was starting to feel a little behind the curve, and was wondering if I needed to go back to school or something. F that. Who needs school when you have blog posts and wiki/tutorials to read?
Check it yo. This is my list of things to learn by the end of the year, wanna follow me on the journey? It might be fun, nah, it'll probably suck, but you might be able to make some more money. Got your attention? Coolio. Let's get smert!
1. ANT. Learn it, love it, build it. (thanks FlashBum)
install ANT Flex Builder 3
do something with ANT
2. Command line blues. Afraid of the command line? Don't be! It's a powerful tool in the jedi's arsenal.
3. SVN, GitHub whatevs. Use one. Organizational skills are needed. If you are like me with everything on your desktop, learn organization. A clean mind is a razorsharp mind with teeth that can destroy major problems.
*3.14159 Learn Design Patterns. Here's a book to get you started: AS3. Like really really learn what MVC is. Because there is a difference between knowing MVC and KNOWING MVC. You'll know when you know it, because then a bright light from the heavens shines down upon you, and your eyes start to glow green. Seriously, look at my Twitter avatar.
4. Learn a real language. AS3 is rad, and it's my first language so I'll always have a special place for it in my cold dark heart, but it's very limited. If byteArrays throw you for a loop (ha, programmer joke! sigh, I know) learning C++ might help you with that. I don't know if I can recommend C++ to everyone, but try it, you might like it. There is a lot of power behind that language. Especially in this bad economy, multilingual == security.
*4.5 Learn Data Structures mofo! And algorithms if you dare.
5. Study what's been open sourced by Adobe, like the Flex Compiler (java) and Tamarin (c++) the Actionscript Virtual Machine 2, or aka what makes AS3 run. By knowing what actually is going on under the hood will ultimately make you a much better programmer and/or bitter/insane. Then you'll start to understand what Joa Ebert has been talking about for the last year or so.
6. Embrace change, don't resist everything. I'm saying this as much for myself as for everyone else. Also try to think optimistically. Ha!
7. Learn a Functional Programming language. I've been studying Erlang and F# a bit, which has allowed me to figure out the idea behind the XMPP protocol. I've also been told that Clojure is pretty awesometastic. This is the added bonus level though. Functional Programming is not easy at all, it's based on Lambda Calculus and it looks like it too. I've also heard that once you successfully complete a project in Erlang that not only do you get a free membership into Mensa, but you also learn the secret to space time and who shot JFK.