20 Tips to Immediately Become a Better Programmer

20 Tips to Immediately Become a Better Programmer

Combine ideas, don’t get religious, tell, don’t ask, and more

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Table of contents:

  1. Think Before You Code
  2. Understand the Business Behind Every Project
  3. Find Someone With a Different Coding Style and Discuss it With Them
  4. Don’t Get Religious
  5. Learn and Read on a Regular Basis
  6. Dig Deeper For More Knowledge
  7. Participate in Forums, Teach, Share Knowledge
  8. Be Willing to Rewrite Your Own Code When You Learn Something New
  9. Combine Ideas
  10. Write Good Names and Make Comments
  11. Learn More Languages
  12. Test
  13. Design Patterns
  14. Separation of Concerns
  15. Minimize the Use of “And” When Describing Parts of Your Code
  16. Do Not Repeat Yourself
  17. Tell, Don’t Ask
  18. Open — Closed Principle (OCP)
  19. Short Functions
  20. Frameworks

Being a developer is a fantastic career, full of great challenges and puzzle-solving that keeps us awake at night. As developers of any skill level are in high demand and tend to be far too busy, they often don’t have enough time to stop and think about their own work.

Technology is advancing at an unbelievable rate and we are required to keep up. However, many developers don’t want to. They learned something years ago and they continue to follow the same bad practice to this day. Well, if a programmer repeats the same old (often incorrect) concept over and over, even ten years of experience can’t help them to become a better coder. On the other hand, studying can skyrocket your knowledge and skills towards programming in any language.

Experience built on knowledge increases much quicker and is more valuable.

I would like to share 20 tips with you that will boost your coding skills immediately. If you’re a beginner, pick a few, and study the particular topic further. It will be one of the best investments in your career. Knowledge without experience is not very useful — experience without knowledge can easily create a mess.

1. Think Before You Code

Writing lines of code shouldn’t be 100% of your development time. 50–60% is more than enough. I have seen many programmers writing faster than they’re capable of thinking. Humans are not well-suited to multitasking. Take one step at a time and think before taking it.

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  • Put a piece of paper close to your keyboard. Draw graphs, concepts, images, tables. Any kind of silly visualization may be helpful. If you have a drawing board in front of you, even better.
  • Think first, then put your ideas on paper. Writing code after you know what you want to achieve is far more effective.
  • Starting by writing code right away may seem like super-effective development, but it’s not. That’s just a delusion. You may actually catch yourself going back and forth, up and down within your code, continually making changes to the previous lines.
  • Divide and conquer. Every problem seems complicated at the beginning. Don’t panic. Think about splitting your code into smaller parts. There are several possible approaches to how to do this.
  • Think about testing before you write code. It can be helpful to have a clear idea about how a tester or a product owner would know that the task has been completed. Too vague goals are terrible and ultimately lead to much longer development time. This issue can get costly!

2. Understand the Business Behind Every Project

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It might not seem like a programming thing but trust me, business is essential. It pays your salary. It may be fun to code in some crazy way for just yourself. However, we all need to make a living. Therefore, our code must follow some business goals.

Many people, including managers and marketers, make fun of programmers, perceiving them as weirdos and geeks who live in their own world of ones and zeros. While it’s totally fine to dive into your lines of code, it’s also extremely useful to raise your head every once in a while and look outside what you’re doing and why.

There’s always a client with their needs, budgets, business concepts, and expectations. If a programmer understands the big picture, he or she may be useful for solving future problems the client may not have thought about before.

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