Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.
Every profession has its own tools. As a weekend woodworker I have procured many tools for various techniques. Knowing what a tool can do is part of the task, but knowing how to use the tool properly is what being a professional is all about.
IT has many sets of tools and techniques that I have used over my ten plus years in software development. The most basic tool is the Integrated Development Environment or IDE for short. When I first started in Java development I used Netbeans to work on JSPs and servlets. The IDEs of today have come a long way and give you much more insight. When I first began using an IDE to debug Java code I felt like I really started to understand what is happening on the server. I know work with Eclipse as my Java IDE, it has served me well over the years. While I worked at Dice we used IntelliJ, it has a lot of nice features that I enjoyed. Each IDE works in its own way and you have to learn its shortcuts to be effective.
Another tool I use frequently as I have worked a lot with relational databases is SQL Developer. This is a free tool from Oracle that allows you to look at the database and understand what the data is doing. This can be helpful when you need to research a production problem and want to see what the underlying data values are.
This is just a few of the tools that I use, what is in your toolbox?