So there is this joke amongst programmers that work with me, the “Full-stack Programmer” joke. In the anecdote, an intern updates his bio to a full-stack programmer in the second month of training. Ridiculous, right?
There are increasing vacant programming jobs globally. Similarly, there is a swarming force of programmers out there gunning for the same openings as you. However, what sets you aside, from every other programmer, in the field are the extra things, little yet big.
If you are looking to get even way better than you currently are as a programmer, then let’s do this together, shall we?
Caveat Emptor: All under-listed tips here were used by now very successful programmers. Do not use the tips, if you can’t handle them. So, readers discretion does apply.
That was on a much lighter note, however, now that we have an understanding, let’s get to it.
The world of programming is a very dynamic one. Methods and processes are quite transient such that they are replaced by new ones, in most situations, a month after you learned them. You, perhaps, are more likely to experience this if you are everywhere.
So, specialize in a particular niche and keep up with trends and changes in methods, processes, frameworks, and so on. This way, you stay on top of your game as a programmer.
Unlike specializing in a niche, it’s very okay and professional to learn and know more than one Programming language. Also, considering the dynamic nature of programming, a particular programming language could go out appreciation for certain projects at any time. You don’t want to be that Programmer stuck with a relic language.
Soft skills are like the oil that lubricates the grinding cogs and wheels of your technical skills. Developing skills like collaboration, teamwork, time management, good networking, and so on, set you apart from the denizens of “full-stack” programming. Also, acknowledging interpersonal communication as a soft skill would improve your interaction in your team as a team player.
Similarly, contribution to open source is an excellent way to develop yourself while giving great value. Besides, pay attention to feedback from other programmers and users on your contributions. The feedback refines and fine-tunes your coding.
While writing your codes, get in touch with real-life. Identify real-world programs and write codes that find application in the creation of solutions to real and existing problems. Also, this practice sets you aside from the rest.
As a programmer, you could have a lot of mental power-draining paid projects crawling in and out of your mind pushing your very limits, but the projects that truly let you grow at a pace and learn without pressure are your side-projects. So, create a side-project, then nurture, develop, and grow it for fun. See how much you would improve.
There are a lot of international communities of programmers that have local communities in different countries, bringing programmers together and organizing meetups and hackathons to boost interactions and growth like Facebook Developers Circle and Google Developers Group. However, if none exists in your locality, you can create one, it doesn’t have to be grand. Just do it, anyway.
No man is an island, they say. It’s very okay to consult with other programmers, who are probably ahead of you in your niche. This practice builds your network while allowing you to learn from other people who have walked the walk and now talking the talk.
Have you ever considered code reviews? As much as code reviews are a great way to uncover bugs in your written codes, it is similarly, an excellent way to learn, when reviewing other person’s codes. Get in touch with other programmers.
Additionally, sharing ideas is not out of the question either. Put yourself out there.
Don’t get me wrong, you, the programmer, or your organization may not be in for the money, but understanding the business part of programming in your niche puts on top of the ladder. Most of the programs or codes you’ve written are actively used by people in the industry for businesses. So, understanding the money-talk helps you understand what is needed and when it is needed. Think about it.
Read, read, and read. The only way you can grow and hone your skills outside a structured learning environment would be by reading copiously. So, reading books by other programmers and by people in your industry shapes you in ways you would hardly see until you are tested. So read and try out new things for fun. Equally, you’d be amazed at how much you would grow.
Practice a lot. What is more important than all the codes you have ever written, which could be all bugs, is a constant practice. While having a huge repository is good for your ego, regular coding is what builds your inner coding muscles, like in athletes. Be the practicing Programmer.
Conclusively, anybody can be a better programmer. Like I said earlier, try these tips at your own risk. Take charge of your growth as a professional, and then you would probably be on your way to near-perfection.
Until next time, stay in charge.
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