Becoming A Better Developer — 5 Action Items

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1. Keep Learning — Be Language Agnostic

Action Item: Devote time to learn in your busy lives. It can be everyday or every week. But make time to learn.

2. Make Time For Side Projects

When we get used to our daily job, we get really good at it over the years and may not be challenged enough. Working on side projects help with situations like that. Side projects are a great way to learn a new technology, language or solve a problem that you are passionate about. When you are working on side projects you have the freedom to shape it from scratch to finish.

Perks of contributing to open source projects

  • You get to collaborate with like minded people in the industry across the globe.
  • Code reviews and learning from each other.
  • Build your open source profile that helps you stand out when applying for jobs.
  • Work on what you love.

Tip: You can ask your company for 5–10% time to work on open-source projects, so you can work on cool side-projects during work hours.

3. Keep it simple

Very often, I have come across developers who have a misconception that the more complex the code is, the smarter the developer is. This is absolutely wrong! The point of programming is not to write complex, un-readable code. It is actually quite the opposite.

Code needs to be simple and readable.

Keep that in mind, when you work on your projects. Don’t over optimize, and try to solve problems that are not in the scope of your project. Make sure you create coding standards for your team and write clean, readable code.

4. Test Your Code

Writing tests for your code, is as important as writing code. Tests ensure that your code is of high quality. Developers have been accused of overlooking the aspects of testing. To become a better developer, you have to accept that your code may have flaws, and it needs good amount of tests to validate your code. I love this quote by Henry Ford, that is applicable to Software testing as well.

“Quality means doing it right even when no one is looking.” — Henry Ford

You can be confident about your code, if you have solid tests to back it up.

5. Collaborate

Start with your team at work

Your team at work is the best place to start. Work well and closely with the other developers in the team. You can’t achieve becoming a better developer while in isolation. Make sure you work well with your team and learn from one another.

Participate in code reviews

Always, get your code reviewed by your teammates. Get a good mix of developers to review your code. A mix of senior and junior developers. The reason I am suggesting this is because, you will notice that senior developers will have more insight into the architecture and the domain, while the newer developers on the team, may know more about some of the latest technologies and ideas that are out there. The more the ideas and suggestions the better it is for you.

Never take the feedback you get on code reviews personally

Instead treat this as an opportunity to sharpen your skills in your journey of becoming a better developer. Ensure that you also take part in reviewing others code. This is also a great learning opportunity for you.

Participate in conferences and meetups

I am a strong proponent of this one. Lately, I have been speaking at several conferences and it has opened up a new world for me. It is a great way to meet awesome people in the developer community that you would have never come across otherwise.

Recent conference talk I gave at Chain React

Action Item: Convince your boss to send you to a few conferences every year. It can benefit you and your company.

Participate in local meetups and conferences. If you are interested, apply to speak at a conference too.

Conclusion

I have compiled everything that helps me become a better developer. I hope you enjoyed this post. Please do leave a comment on what helped you become a better developer.

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Adhithi Ravichandran

Software Consultant, Author, Speaker, React Native|React|GraphQL|Cypress Dev & Indian Classical Musician