I just read a big magazine article on career development. This was specific advice to testing professionals. But most advice carries over to the development arena. I will share some of the highlights here.
Find a good mentor early. Always be working on creating a professional network. Read books. Reach out to the community. That means both in person and online. Make active learning a part of your day. Go to software development conferences. Build a portfolio of successful work.
Get to know many programming languages. Also learn design. Practice the art of reusable coding. Keep up with current events in the software development world. Study topics in your profession. Put new skills you learn to use immediately if possible.
Do not neglect your family when you have to work a lot of hours. Work on areas that you are weak in. Utilize process improvement to achieve a higher maturity level on your project. Get involved with writing and speaking. For example you should write articles. Strive to always improve. Check your progress by requesting feedback from your peers. Stay away from politics on the job.
Consider rotating to different groups on your project. Build up your communication skill set. Learn and use automation for testing. Once you develop skills, be confident in them. This already is a boatload of advice. It is time to stop writing about it, and start living it for me.
Cisco Packet Tracer - I downloaded this software for free from Cisco. From the name "Packet Tracer", you would think this is some type of packet capture/analysis tool similar t...