This post is for people who are either new to programming or are still figuring out what they want to get out of it.
Through both my personal observations and conversations with other programmers, I’ve come up with a list of ways you can be a better developer.
This “How-to” guide is not intended to be exhaustive or ordered in any way, so feel free to jump around as you please.
I will start with one disclaimer before going any further: The tips here are not intended to give you a magic solution to success. The best thing you can do to develop yourself is start experimenting with the things you learn and listening to advice from the people around you.
Here are some points discussed-
1. Keep Learning
Don’t be satisfied with the knowledge you gained in school. Don’t hide behind the excuse that you started as a beginner and thus don’t know much. Google is your friend and there are always people around willing to help you.
Learn as much as you can, from whatever sources and forums that you can find. Read books from prominent authors, listen to podcasts, attend conferences or simply talk to people who have more experience than you. And finally, don’t forget about practice!
2. Find Your Niche- Learn What You Love
Developing software is a skill that requires time and dedication- not just for beginners but for everyone involved in it. The reason I’m writing this is because there are so many new programmers out there and it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.
But that doesn’t mean you have to get stuck doing something mediocre all the time. Maintain a balance of both curiosity and practicality and try to figure out what exactly you want to do. This is how you will work on projects with more meaning.
And if you don’t know what exactly that means? Just think about something you like doing that “programming” is in the same vein as- gardening, raising farm animals or becoming a writer for children books for example may be good areas to start with.
3. Work Hard and Be Persistent
Programming is not a one day thing. At the beginning you might have to do things that feel like mindless grunt work but its important you get used to working on simple tasks. Your goal is to become efficient and understand how things are done.
Remember this when you’re stuck in something menial- if you can’t see the bigger picture right now, don’t waste your time getting anxious about it. Keep moving forward slowly one step at a time and eventually everything will click in place!
4. There Is No “Correct” Way to Solve a Problem
I’ve seen people follow articles that say a certain way of doing something is “the best.” If there is no gold standard for programming, how will you ever know if you are doing it wrong or not?
Well, the only correct way is just to do it. You don’t have to be efficient at it or produce something great but learning some things in a more intuitive way will help you learn faster and build skills in the long run.
And if the answer doesn’t come from your own experience? Look for other people who can offer you more insight.
There are a million different ways to think about something and while you shouldn’t blindly follow someone else’s opinion blindly, there is no harm in listening to those who have way more experience and knowledge than you.
5. Learn to Code for the Right Reasons
When was the last time you coded for pure pleasure? When was the last time you coded because it made your life easier or brought joy? It is fine if this happens but don’t get overly attached to one particular reason why you code. If it doesn’t work out, that is fine too- it is not a race. Do what makes sense to you.
6. Be Conscious of Your Coding Style
This is more of a personal tip but it is still related to programming. Look at code you’ve written and ask yourself, do you like what you’ve done? Are the terms clear enough? Do they reflect your personality or do they look like something else?
The reason I mention this is because other people will see the code you write and judge it based on your style often in a non-obvious way. Programmers tend to be very opinionated about their coding style and consciously or unconsciously, this will reflect in the language choices that you make.