Know thy SDK


One of the biggest problems I see in junior engineers is the fact that they don’t invest enough time in reading and exploring the SDK documentation for whatever library/framework/OS they are using. I was in the same boat when I started my career, and the main reason I was not doing this is that software documentation is usually pretty terrible. There is no structure to it, no easy-to-follow guides, and it’s easy to get lost. So why do I recommend this even though it’s not an easy process? 


There is an easy way to make SDK exploration almost painless. Next time you encounter something you are quite not sure about a class or a method from an SDK, take 5 – 10 minutes and read the documentation about it. If possible, read the source code and try to form a better mental model. This simple habit will transform your career because, over the next couple of years, you will know 10x more about a particular SDK, which will make your life as a developer a lot easier. The better the mental model, the faster the speed of delivering features. 


Preferably every day, spend 5 – 10 minutes reading through the documentation and reading the SDK source code if possible. As an alternative, one session of 10 – 15 minutes every time a bug is encountered or a new feature has to be developed. This will give you a deeper understanding of the SDK, which will help you construct a more accurate mental model


If a problem is large and hairy, in this case, the problem of mastering a particular SDK, don’t give up on it, break it into small manageable pieces and handle one piece at a time (look up one class at a time) repeat this enough times and the problem is not unsolvable anymore (mastering an SDK). This tactic can be applied to anything in life and it works like a charm. 

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