Programming

10 Tips & Tricks to improve at programming

September 21, 2017

10 Tips & Tricks to improve at programming

10 Tips & Tricks to improve at programming!

Yes, I am 100% certain that anyone can learn how to code, in fact, everyone can become good at programming.. You don’t need to be crazy with maths, who the hell told you that?! To improve at programming it requires time, time, dedication and more time. I truly believe in the 10.000 hour rule. Never heard of it? Surely you should read about it here. So, what is this about? Let’s see how to improve at programming.

#1 Document your code

A great way to improve at programming is to document your code, people truly underestimate how important it is to document your code. It totally makes sense if you think about it. When you document your code, it will make you think about every single line, which gives the brain a reminder of what you’ve been doing. It is quite common that the human brain learns by repeating things, it’s like learning a language at high school. They probably told you to write the words, instead of just reading them. Well, this won’t come as a surprise, but with coding, it’s quite the same. Start documenting your code!

#2 Read, read and read more books

This is actually my favorite, reading books is really a good way to improve at programming, did you know that Elon Musk used to read for hours a day? Buy yourself a few technical books about the programming language you would like to learn, read about algorithms, try to understand whatever you read. Use markers, read carefully, but certainly do the examples in your book. This is a very important thing to do when learning from books. Again, when you read something, write it, run it and understand what it does. Oh, make sure you document that code as well.

A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge. That’s why I read so much Jon Snow.” ― George R.R. MartinA Game of Thrones

#3 Get out of your comfort zone, learn a different language

I often read that people suggest to stick to one single language, understand it, master it and stick to it. I don’t agree with this method. It’s good to challenge yourself with a new language you’re not comfortable with. This will force you to think about everything you want to do. No routines, nope. Even better, get yourself a brand new IDE in the process.

#4 Contribute open source projects

This is also one of my favorites, you can learn so much from other people. Try to find yourself a project, or even a few projects, which interest you and ask if you can contribute. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, try to do something small, something easy. Download the project and look into the issue list, try to fix some errors. It’s really a good way to learn, not to mention that it’s very good on your resume, and a great way to meet new people!

#5 Understand how to debug

This will not make you a better programmer, at least, not directly. But man, you sure as hell will improve as a programmer when you understand how to use the debugger. It will save you so much time, you have literally no idea. Your productivity will increase by 50% if you truly understand how to debug.

#6 Refactor your code

Also a very good way to improve at programming is to refactor your code. Might be a little boring, but it’s a good way to learn. It will make your brain think about the code you wrote some time ago. Also, it will clean up some ugly code. The thing I like about refactoring my code, though, is that it’s proof that you’ve become a better programmer. Man, how many times have I been looking into something I made like 2 weeks ago and I am amazed how bad the code is. Did I write this!? My gosh..

#7 Learn from others

Like I said earlier, it’s cool to work with other people. Check how they code, and how they solve their problems. Try to help people on Stackoverflow, join the Stackoverflow chat and help people. You will notice that you will learn from other answers as well. Stackoverflow is a really good way to learn. I’ve learned a lot from chat rooms, like the C# room. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, but double check your question. I’ve had it often that while trying to explain my problem to the community, I somehow found the bug. It reminds me of the rubber duck method, never heard of it? Read about it  here.

#8 Code daily

This is, by far, the most important thing. I’ve mentioned the 10.000 hour rule right? Well, I believe it’s true. You can read 1 book, or 200, or even 1000. If you don’t code often, you will simply not improve at programming, nope.. Not at all! This is for some the easiest step, for others the most difficult part. But really, you want to become good at programming? Start opening that IDE already.

#9 Code competitions

While I haven’t been able to do those competitions myself, it sure is a great way to improve at programming. We all like some competition. It’s a part of humanity, we like competition, being good at something and to show off. One of the best ways to do this is by having competition with other developers. This will force you to be creative, think differently and it surely will keep you motivated. I’ve heard about hackathons when I was still a student, unfortunately I haven’t been able to find enough people to do them myself.

#10 Have fun while getting better at programming.

This shouldn’t be a tip, but I will still post it. You will only become a good programmer if you do enjoy what you’re doing. Otherwise, it would be impossible to keep motivated to code daily or at least, often. Nope, you don’t enjoy yourself coding? That’s totally fine. But really, don’t waste your time on becoming a professional coder. You won’t. I’ve heard so many people trying to switch to software engineering at a later age, which is totally fine. Everyone can learn, remember? But most of those people were not enjoying themselves doing it! They heard a programmer can find plenty jobs, gain plenty money, they lost their jobs, or their interest in their previous job, and want to jump right into development. Is that bad? No, not at all! Coding is fun. But if you don’t enjoy doing it, seriously, don’t even bother to become a professional. Find something else that you do enjoy.

Thanks for reading!

 

 


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