I think most developers assume that the more years they write code, the better they become. I have a very different measure for whether you are really bettering yourself.
Ask yourself this, and answer honestly:
With every new project you successfully complete, do you feel that the previous project was not done as good as the one just finished? Do you have an urge to open that previous project and bring it to the same standards as the latest project? Or do you feel that both projects have been created equally?
Everybody knows that SPAM caused the IT industry to respond with content filtering techniques and SPAM blocking techniques to help control this useless waste of bandwidth and irritation factor.
Same with large files. Bored employees are sending lots of 1MB+ mails containing the latest movie or powerpoint presentation of some joke. This obviously does not help the IT budget. So they either block certain content such as MPEG files or park them for late delivery.
What about employees visiting non-work related web sites? Surfing non-business related web sites wastes available bandwidth for important business related work. So IT departments block access to sites not deemed work related. And here I started discovering the first encounter what I now call "IT paranoia". At a large company I sometimes consult for, which houses easily a hundered developers - many of which write code in Java, I once tried to browse for information on one of the well known java sites. Their proxy server denied me access because it was non-business related. This impeded quite a bit on my productivity.
I was quite impressed to receive the publisher's response to my list of errors in the text of the book "Professional Techniques for Digital Wedding Photographers, 2nd edition". I'll paste it below...
From: Photobook@aol.com Date: 4 January 2005 18:31:48 GMT+02:00 To: email@example.com Subject: From Amherst Media Dear Waldo, Thanks for your careful review of the Hurter book and for taking the time to bring the errors to our attention. We will bring your comments to the author's attention when the book is reprinted. Best Wishes, -- Barbara A. Lynch-Johnt Assistant Editor Amherst Media, Inc.
I have just now received an SMS from Chas Everitt - the estate agency. But first some background. I recently (2 months ago) sold my old home and bought a new one. The old one I sold through Chass Everitt, the new one I bought directly from Urban Constructions - the developers.
Anyways, the SMS promoted a new townhouse for sale - as if I am interested!!!!! I mean - I just spend the most money I have ever spent on a new house - barely 2 months old, and now they want to sell another house to me? This is down right stupid, blind and irritating.
Sounds like a paradox? Nope - I don't think so. What does it really matter if you are brilliant at your work in the IT industry, specifically?
You would expect to receive more clients by the day, always being overbooked and people would fall over their feet to get you to do their projects. Especially if you are way under priced.
However, real life has taught me that politics, relationships, smoke and mirrors and FUD for change significantly skews this idyllic opinion.