Today I was chatting with a young engineer who made a remark about a (much older) coworker that really struck a nerve. The remark was "I have to do all the pull requests for his code as he hasn't learned git well enough."

One of the best pieces of advice that I received as a young engineer was that time spent mastering your tools is rarely time wasted. Since then the tools have changed many, many times, but the concept still holds true. A little time spent periodically learning more about your editor, your rcs, whatever tool you use regularly, almost always pays off in the long run.

Sometimes this is a long, boring, process. I can't say that reading the O'Rielly book about Git was fascinating, but it certainly has paid off these last few years. Having areas of expertise where you can help your team, especially when you are the new member, is really valuable.

Also, there's something politically saavy about being well-versed in your professional toolkit. I've noticed over the years that most people who have taken the time to be good at vim/git/emacs/whatever generally have invested in learning to write reasonable code. Not all of them are great, but they're rarely the person you are worried about.

So, my call to action is this: spend some time regularly "sharpening the saw". It'll pay off both in your productivity but also in your interaction with your peers!

- Jim Anderson