4 Development lessons from Game of Thrones

Game of Fish graphic
Dan France

I LOVE Game of Thrones. So much so that I don't even really like to call it Game of Thrones, because the series is ACTUALLY called A Song of Ice and Fire. (The first book was titled Game of Thrones.) I've read all of the books a couple of times and have quite a few intense theories that I love to talk about with anyone who will listen. (Seriously, just find me on Facebook; I'll nerd out about this series all day long.)

It's not just me - the whole liquidfish team loves it (except for Melissa, because she is obviously not even close to cool).* On Mondays, we sit down and talk about it. Through the course of reading, viewing and discussing, I've recognized a few simple lessons that any new developer will surely run into.

I'm a relatively new developer who isn't classically trained. I graduated from a dev boot camp out in San Francisco called CodingDojo. It was a pretty intense three-month program, where we gained intermediate knowledge of Web development. The course was great, and I'd recommend it to anyone who is interested in breaking into this field.

Whether you're self-taught or have even attended a dev boot camp, if you're new like me, I think you'll enjoy, and learn from, the following lessons.

Dragons != Solution

New technology is awesome. It's fun and exciting, but if you don't know what you're doing with it, you're going to get burned.

When Daenerys hatched those dragons, I think the world muttered, "Ooooh snap. Things are about to get crazy." I was sure she was going to ride those bad boys into battle in no time, but that was not the case. She has these amazing creatures that Westeros hasn't seen in 1,000 years but has no idea what to do with them. She can't train them, can't touch them and can't ride them. All she's done at this point is let loose a couple of monsters on the world without any way of reeling them back in.

As a new(ish) developer, I hear other new developers throw around new frameworks like they are name dropping, as if somehow knowing of this new framework will revolutionize everyone's lives around them.

All of these technologies have their place, and I'm sure they can help you create a great app, but if you don't know the fundamentals of your programming language and the framework you choose, you're not going to get very far.

If I were to give some advice, to both you and Daenerys, I'd say find someone who has experience with the technology you want to implement. Cough cough, Tyrion.

Being too rigid can cost your head

Let's just talk about ole Ned Stark. I LOVED that man. Head of House Stark, Lord of Winterfell, Warden of the North and Hand of the King. Loving father and honorable, loyal man... but he was rigid - too stuck in his ways, and because of it, he lost his head.

With programming, I've learned to be really flexible. You have to be. Rarely is a project going to go exactly as planned. You could have the best management team in the world to gather all of the technical requirements documentation and all of the copy and images; the design files could be layered exactly how you want them; but once you open your favorite IDE, you need to be prepared to have a couple of curve balls thrown your way. Page layouts can change. A client may want to add, edit or delete a feature. Plain and simple, it can get cray.

If you don't anticipate some changes along the way, you are going to end up a miserable programmer. No one likes that.

Winter is coming... you've been warned.

Don't trust a lady in red

I haven't figured out how this applies to programming, but Lady Melisandre really weirds me out.

Seriously though, Lady Melisandre is crazy. I don't trust her as far as I can throw her. I am willing to bet she has a really important part to play in the upcoming books/series, but man, I don't trust that lady.

You know nuthin'

I don't know how many times I've said, "What the heck was I thinking?" Every day, I become a better developer, and every day, I realize that I don't know a thing. I think this is a great position to be in. It keeps me humble, keeps me hungry and keeps me learning.

Frankly, in this industry, there is far more that we don’t know than what we do … and that is awesome! We will be exposed to all sorts of technologies, projects and ideas. Almost every day you’ll hear a feature a client wants to implement, and you’ll be able to say, “I’m not sure how to do that yet, but I know it’s possible.” Keeping an attitude like this will help you become a better developer, employee and potentially entrepreneur.

*Editor's note: This statement is not based on fact. It is merely the opinion of the author, who will not share his HBO GO account.