If you really want to be good, here are some things you should do.
- Work with one or two good people on significant projects on a regular basis. Find your complement at any cost.
- Always have a project to work on. Always. ALWAYS. Even if you’re not working on it Right Now.
- Study things that matter. Actually spend time in a quiet room reading, thinking, and working through examples. Study more than the instructor tells you to.
- Overachieve on every course project you ever do.
- Don’t stay immersed in one monoculture. Experience as much of humanity as you can. You’re going to be the one saving these people, and you won’t know how to save them if you don’t know what they need and how they feel. It will make you a better person.
- Ask for things. People like to give them to you and in fact often feel bad when they can’t give you what you want. This goes for jobs, keys, grades, swag, and dates.
- Have some confidence. Lack of self confidence is an epidemic among smart programmers, and humanity in general. If you doubt your skills, work on a harder project. When you finish it you’ll be better and you’ll know you can learn. The people you are competing with probably aren’t as good as you’re afraid they are.
- Don’t agonize over what “kind” of hacker you are. Figure out who *you* are, and be that.