Do you want to be a faster, better programmer? What essential skills will improve your throughput and quality? Will boosting your typing speed to over 200 WPM make you a code wizard? Let’s discuss key measures of programming performance and ways you can enhance your abilities.
While some feel that the ability to crank out lines of code as quickly as possible is a defining factor in what makes a good developer, there are six other areas and activities that can improve your skills as a programmer.
1. Design for Success
The goal in software development is to address the requirements provided and deliver a useful product that meets those needs. The first area to focus on improving is design. Do you understand the requirements? Do you know how to solve the problems presented? Can you show how to fulfill the needs without writing code?
Working to explain your understanding of the requirements, identifying the gaps in the request and presenting the proposed solution to stakeholders should be the first steps you take with a programming task. When you are working as part of a larger team, some of these tasks may be performed by others. Make sure you understand their results and how they translate to software.
2. Tools for Efficiency
How can you be an efficient developer? Know your tool set. Don’t spend your time recreating common tools. There are times that you might need to eke out every bit of efficiency by writing tailored code. Typically, however, libraries that are part of your environment will provide the components you need. Those components can help you avoid writing code from scratch to solve problems and can lead to fewer lines of code being written. This means you’ll need to research to continually add to your toolbox of development components.
3. Collaborate to Reach Your Goals
Collaboration is key to your team’s success. Even if you are working on a solo project, collaboration is something you should not overlook.
Ask for help when you need it. Make sure your requests demonstrate the actions you have taken so far and target the issue or obstacle you are experiencing, giving room for someone to work with you and direct you to something that is currently outside your perspective.
Offer help when you can to further develop your own skills. Try to craft your assistance to give room for growth and foster collaboration in the future. Each time you get or give assistance, you are widening your foundation as a developer.
4. Practice Coding Warmups
To perform either at a high capacity, you need to warm up. While coding warmups may feel like you’re adding another step to your work, they can help you loosen up enough to produce quality work once you jump into a task.
How can you warm up before a strenuous programming session? An article on DEV.to suggests engaging in a tutorial or playing a coding game that relates to your current project. Beyond getting you into a coding frame of mind, these warmups offer refreshing ways to enhance the knowledge you need to complete daunting tasks.
5. Strengthen Your Knowledge of Design Patterns
Originality is important, but you don’t need to reinvent the wheel with every line of code you write. Design patterns are effective tools for overcoming common problems. These replicable solutions provide quick fixes to challenges that have stumped developers in the past. By using them, you can avoid the headache of solving recurring problems from scratch, reserving mental energy for new challenges.
Note that design patterns are templates, not plug-and-play lines of code. There are dozens to learn, commonly divided into three categories: creational, structural and behavioral. Mastering them all takes practice, but doing so can boost your efficiency and enhance your comprehension of coding concepts.
6. Contribute to Open Source Projects
Open source projects offer immediate opportunities to develop skills and gain experience you need for a career in code. These projects rely on people with various skill sets, giving you a chance to show off your strengths and learn new techniques. You will also collaborate with a variety of programmers, helping you refine your teamwork skills and build your career network.
You can contribute to open source projects even if your code skills are rough around the edges, according to Open Source Guides. For instance, novice programmers can support non-coding functions, such as creating documentation, drafting copy or refining aesthetics. Once you feel comfortable enough to code on an open source project, you’ll get to demonstrate your skills in a public venue while contributing to projects for your work portfolio.
Improve Your Performance to Ensure Your Future
The Software Guild’s coding bootcamps help apprentices like you gain experience building full-stack applications from start to finish using .NET/C# or Java. Through our Online Digital Badge Program and locations in Minneapolis and Louisville, we provide an intensive learning environment to teach you the skills needed to begin a successful development career.
If you’re ready to learn more, check out our free Intro to Web Development Course for a hands-on way to learn the skills that prepare you to become a Software Guild apprentice.