Tips to become a better programmer?
Hello friends, in today’s insight, we are going to talk about 10 things you can do to improve your skills in programming and become a better developer.
Programming is not as easy as it looks, All the programmers we see on youtube or those that work on huge applications that we use daily, have done a great amount of work to code at that level.
Whether it’s Web Development, Mobile App Development, Game Development, Machine Learning and AI, or any path you may be interested in, it’s going to require a great amount of work and dedication to spring up success.
There are some tips and practices however that can help you to boost your programming skills and help you become a better developer.
I have personally been helped by these practices and I know a lot of programmers who have followed similar practices.
You have to take note however that these are not magical tricks or top-kept secrets, they are just simple things that require discipline. For the sake of Diana, let’s get started.
CONCENTRATE ON THE FUNDAMENTALS
Most programmers especially when starting out concentrate too much on the syntax of a programming language they are trying to learn. Instead, the best practice is to concentrate on mastering the fundamentals of programming.
When you understand the fundamentals, you will have no problem working with different programming languages and frameworks. Most programming languages are fundamentally the same and differ only in syntax and implementation.
Do not bother about syntax, you can easily look it up in the documentation online. Just understand what you want to do and the rest will fall in place using millions of resources online. I must re-emphasize this one, please, master the fundamentals of programming.
CHOOSE A PATH
Programming is broad and learning programming can be overwhelming, sometimes you may be tempted to learn everything, from web development to mobile app development, Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence, Dev Ops, Desktop app development, embedded systems, Cyber security, etc. but that can be very catastrophic.
You want to choose a path and stick with it. You want to be really good in one path than just having a general idea of many fields. When you choose a path, it will help you with the tools that you need to make your journey successful.
This will also help you choose a set of technologies that you want to work with, including languages, frameworks, and libraries.
Let’s say you want to be a Full Stack Web Developer, the MERN stack may be a path you want to take, which is MongoDB, Express.js, Node.js React. These, in such a scenario, will be your main technologies, learn as much as you can about them.
If you find yourself getting interested in other fields, it’s okay to dive into them. Maybe you’re interested in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, it’s ok to learn Python and TensorFlow on the weekends and then maybe fully go into it. Just don’t focus on hundred things at a time.
Make sure to know and understand your path and specialize in your set of technologies. The purpose of this is so that you don’t wind up working with so many different things that you can’t really build more than just a to-do list with any one set of technologies.
CODE CONSISTENTLY (EVERY DAY IF YOU HAVE TO).
In order to improve as a programmer, you have to code as much as you can (Make sure you don’t burn out). Coding consistently helps you to stay in sync with code and improved your output.
If you have projects and you are been consistent in coding, you will definitely be time-efficient as that will give you more engagement with your project. Inconsistency in code can kill the passion sometimes.
Just make sure to watch your energies so that you don’t burn out.
DON’T GET WEARY OF LEARNING
Truth is, if you have chosen to be a developer, you have chosen to learn indefinitely. You see, software development is such a fast-paced field, there are almost always new technologies, libraries, frameworks and updates are so frequent that you cannot afford not to be learning.
If you are a developer and you dislike learning, I’m afraid you will become irrelevant in no time. This is why it is so important to have a path as earlier stated so that you can concentrate on the technologies that are relevant to you and stay abreast with recent developments.
You need to also understand what your preferred learning method is. Some people do better with books, others with Videos, others with hands-on projects, and so on. Find what works for you and stick to it.
If you are really aiming to improve your programming skills, you must not be comfortable with only the things you know. Shake things up, step out of your zone of comfort and challenge yourself to do more.
You can do this by taking part in online challenges and practices. You can sign up to DevPost where you can participate in different Hackathons.
Apart from winning prizes, hackathons are a great way to challenge yourself and improve your programming skills or build a teamwork mentality.
If you happen to be a react web developer, you can challenge yourself to work on a mobile app using React Native or the Ionic Framework.
In the same vein, you can work on a Desktop Application using Electron.js since you already understand web technologies.
Challenging yourself is really a great way to build something that you never imagined you could build. You can do more when you push yourself a little bit harder.
Practicing Algorithms is a great way to challenge yourself and improve your skills. And no, algorithms are not only for job interviews.
Algorithms are applicable in our daily lives away from job interviews, they help developers to be more logical with their code and they are a great brain exercise.
Many of the things that go into writing algorithms are ultimately helpful, even though you don’t work with that exact algorithm that you’re practicing, it’s working out that part of your brain that helps you with your real-world projects. And they also help you understand certain principles and methods of optimization.
You don’t have to spend countless hours per day doing this, just sign up to websites such as Code Wars or other similar websites, and try to dedicate a couple of hours per week trying to solve some challenges, this will undoubtedly help you to become a better developer.
NETWORKING (ENGAGE WITH OTHER DEVELOPERS)
This is no easy task, especially if you are an introvert, but it is one of the best things to do as a developer. You need others from whom you can bounce ideas off of. Networking with other developers is also a great learning resource that is often underrated.
Networking can also help you land a dream job; it can also introduce you to people who can help you in your programming journey. Sometimes, it’s really true that it’s not much about what you know but who you know.
Start by getting in touch with developers in your area or attending meet-ups for developers. There is almost always a network or meeting of developers that you can benefit from.
Furthermore, some programming concepts are much easier to understand when they are explained in person than say in books or videos, you are able to seek clarification and ask questions when you are meeting with someone.
You can also be of help to others in the things that you have learned. It’s so motivating when others are able to learn from you. So, do not shy away from networking events, they come with various opportunities.
Networking is one of the BloomTech Strategies in their job guaranteeing program.
WRITING CLEAN CODE & GOOD CODE PRACTICES
Make it an effort to write as much clean and readable code as possible. Keep it in mind that others will come across your code and you want their experience with your code to be smooth. Imagine what you would want if you were reading someone’s code; Apply that to your code.
Avoid huge functions that make following code difficult, avoid too many comments in your code, and adopt a hint naming convention for your variables and functions.
This will undoubtedly make your code easy to follow and understand, it will be easy to maintain as well.
Be as dynamic as you can, avoiding repeating yourself (DRY – Don’t Repeat Yourself). If you find yourself writing the same or very similar code frequently in your project, just know that something is not right and you can refactor your code to make it better.
READ OTHER PEOPLE’S CODE.
Initially, this may seem like a boring activity to do, but it’s one of the best practices for growth. Not only will this help you to understand the best practices that others have employed in their codebase, it will also help you identify what they are not doing well so you can improve on them. This will ultimately be a springboard to growing your problem-solving skills.
Unlike tutorials where you learn neatly crafted code, with other people’s code available on GitHub and other platforms, you learn the real-world examples of projects written by different individuals. This will give you great insight into other developers thinking patterns.
When you get a job as a developer, you’re going to be working with a bunch of code that someone else wrote and you will need to decipher it, some of which will be legacy code. In the end, you will realize that writing code is somehow easier than reading someone’s code.
So go on GitHub, find some projects that use similar technology to what you’re using, the same languages or frameworks and tools, and start to examine it and ask yourself, how you would have written the same thing or how you could improve it.
If you don’t understand it, try to dissect it line by line, and eventually, it will fall in place. The more you do this, the more you improve at identifying problems and finding the solutions, you will also have a great eye for detail, all of which are very important skills in programming.
CONTRIBUTE TO OPEN SOURCE
Last but not the least, contributing to open source. This can be a daunting task, but it will give you a real-world experience and will help you in collaborating with other people. It will teach you to work with others and cultivate a teamwork culture.
You will gain experience working with version control, making pull requests, and many other interesting things that come with open source. You will be contributing to community growth and participating in world-changing projects.
Those were the 10 tips that you can practice to improve your skills and become a better programmer. Make sure to follow them and see the results for yourself. Wishing you the best.