Good programmers don’t happen by luck. It takes time and deliberate efforts to sharpen your programming skills and emerge at the very top. It’s interesting to note that you don’t need a decade of active coding; neither do you need a master’s degree to be an expert programmer. Instead, you need a set of qualities to put you ahead of the game. We’ve covered the five tips that will mold you on the right path to become an agile programmer: a problem-solver, not just a language expert.
Are you curious about getting to know a bunch of programmers who are keen on improving their skills through dedication and hard work? They passionately spend their days coding, debugging, or discussing the best coding practices with their fellow programmers. Here’s an interesting read on why the programmers at Bridge Global love programming.
Now, let’s move into explore some worthwhile tips and tricks that help you improve your programming skills.
1. Code as Much as Possible
There’s a difference between coding and learning to code. An average programmer is a language expert who has mastered a given programming language’s syntax and semantics. On the other hand, an expert programmer is a problem-solver who thinks in terms of code. Turning an idea into an app or automating daily tasks are some crucial programming skills expected from a programmer. Unfortunately, there are more language experts than programmers.
By focusing on writing code instead of learning the theories, you train your mind to approach and solve problems actively. Every problem encountered should be an opportunity to code and understand the inefficiencies and create an effective and practical solution. This is an easy and effective way to sharpen your programming skills.
2. Dig Deep Into the Basics
Many people think that expert programmers are the ones who write complicated codes using some complex and custom syntax. This is actually not the case. Just like in any professional field, the expert is the person who has mastered the basics. So, it is imperative to master the basics to improve your programming skills and become a confident programmer.
To get better with programming, you need to amass practical knowledge in computer science basics, data structures, and algorithms. A foundation lacking these essentials ingredients will make a great language expert afraid to break the programming rules and syntax. This conservative approach to learning isn’t effective in solving real-life problems.
The other skills you need to get good at are basic multi-threading, Object-Oriented Programming design, and other concepts such as recursion and prototyping.
3. Connect With Others
Depending on which programming language you’re interested in, it pays to get in touch with other programming experts and learn more from them. Contributing to open-source projects in platforms such as GitHub would help build relationships with senior programmers. Such experts would be of great value in your career development and in improving your programming skills. Some will even find time to coach you in case you need advice along the way.
Stack Overflow, Twitter, and even Medium are the other vibrant communities you can join and learn a lot from those who are better than you. The beauty of these open-source channels is that most are quite welcoming, and you’ll find good-hearted people who are ready to help. You just have to show interest in learning and getting better, and everything else will be sorted out for you.
4. Participate in Unit Testing and Code Reviews
Unit Testing is perhaps one skill that has been left for the experts. Many novice coders view this skill as a “nice-to-have,” since they don’t want to go overboard. Unit Testing is a programming best practice that makes you a great problem-solver from the very beginning. It lowers the chances of writing codes that don’t work or do what they aren’t intended to. With Unit Testing, you develop something functional from start to execution. A code section is often isolated and checked for correctness, which eliminates the time wasted when debugging.
Participating in code reviews is another way of learning from others and equipping your coding and programming skills. Through peer-reviewing, you learn how to catch bugs and fix them early in the development stage. This way, you learn the coding trends and changes, question assumptions, and even clarify ambiguity. All these are skills someone learning theories of programming won’t benefit from.
5. Keep Learning
Programming is a learnable skill. It all starts with the passion for writing the first line of code and learning more, one step at a time. Teaching yourself how to code is an essential part of the process where you can make a mistake and repeat it a hundred times before celebrating the little wins. While there are no shortcuts to becoming an expert programmer, there’s an efficient and quicker way of accessing the necessary resources and skills needed to improve your programming skills and code like an expert.
Online coding classes and coding Bootcamps are the most common ways to accelerate your path to mastering any technical programming skill. Coding Bootcamps are best suited for those looking for short-term, intensive, and immersive education that will get them ready to solve real-life problems in a matter of months.
Those who feel that coding boot camps are expensive can make use of some readily-available financial aids out there. For example, you can apply for scholarships or use the GI Bill’s benefits if you’re a military veteran or a beneficiary. Investing in such programs will pay off since you’ll learn a valuable skill that’s highly in demand.
There’s a lot you might be required to do if you’re to become a successful programmer, but it all starts with the five tips above. As much as you want to improve your programming skills, always code to learn and solve problems, not the other way round. Master the basics, connect with other programmers, and get ready to keep learning with every opportunity you get.
Originally published at https://www.bridge-global.com on December 29, 2020.