10 tips for becoming a better coder
Programming involves turning concepts into reality. Programmers create basic software using code and instructions to run on computer devices, smart phones and automated systems. If you are pursuing programming in college, then you must learn all the major programming languages that are on demand today to increase your chances of landing a good job once you have stepped out of college. You don’t want to look back and wish you had done things differently. Create enough time for self-study and familiarize yourself with whatever is selling out there. How to become a good programming student will depend on how much time you set aside to learn the basics of programming. Here are 10 tips to get you started.
1. Know how much you need to learn
One of the greatest mistakes programmers make is to assume that they know everything. You need to overcome this assumption in order to succeed in programming. If you really want to learn a new programming language, you must recognize that you really don’t know it so thatyou can create room for knowledge. Many programming students graduate with a conceited “I know everything” attitude but once they attend an interview and are presented with a test to proof their skills, they realize that they actually know nothing. You don’t want to make this mistake. If you are eyeing a career in programming, you must be ready to learn.
2. Get the right tools
Another secret to becoming a better coder is having the right tools. Whether you just started your programming classes or almost graduating, get the right tools for trade. These include a compiler, debugger, GUI designer, profiler, IDE, modeling, release automation, build automation, and any other tools you deem fit for the job. Obtaining these tools when you are still in college will make things easier for you even after you are done with your studies. As most of these will be provided for you freely, you can still use them even when you are out of college to hone your skills and develop programs for interview presentations.
3. Learn from experts
Don’t rely on your own knowledge only – find out what others know too. Don’t be shy to ask for help whenever you are stuck on something. For instance, when you are given an assignment and don’t know how to develop the specified program, seek assistance. One way to go about it is to search programming homework help online. Have a professional do the project for you so you can understand what is needed of you and how to go about it in the future. Join online forums too where you can asks questions and get well-thought-out answers from expert programmers. If you know a fellow student who is good at coding, make friends with them. You will get valuable advice and you may even be able to provide help in return. You will realize how easy your college life will get and by the end of the semester, you will notice a huge improvement in your coding skills as well as your overall performance.
4. Take criticism positively
Truth be told, your code will be criticized by both your professor and fellow students. If you want to better your programming skills, don’t allow negative comments to weigh you down. Instead, use these as a learning opportunity. Identify the reason why others don’t find your code as good as you thought it was and find ways to improve it. Even when you have graduated and started your own software development business, people will still criticize your work but this should not be a reason to close your business or feel demotivated. Accept the criticism, move on, and right what you are doing wrong.
5. Don’t be perfect
There are times when deadlines are more important than perfection. We get it, you want to create the most beautiful program the world has ever seen – there is absolutely nothing wrong with this but meeting your deadlines sometimes is more important than perfection. Let’s think about this for a moment. May be you have a programming assignment due in a week’s time and you know the code that will work best for your software but since you want yours to have more flavor, you dwell on one piece of code that you completely forget about the rest of the project. By the time the assignment is due, you are not even halfway though and you eventually end up submitting half-baked program. At times good code is all you need to save the day, you don’t need to be perfect as perfection can sometimes cost you the grades you had dreamt of.
6. Rectify errors as you go
The reason why we include this point in programming tips for students is to help those students who like piling up errors and rectifying them after they are done developing the program. This is wrong and if you want to be a god programmer, you must know how to spot errors as they develop and fix them before proceeding to the next stage of your code writing. You don’t want to spend hour trying to fix a bug that was caused by a misplaced comma. It’s quite frustrating especially when you have other projects to take care of.
7. Take a break
Programming students are known to be workaholics, which is quite unhealthy. If you have already decide that programming is what you want to do to put food on your table, then you must start learning how to balance it with your social life while you are still in school. Once you are out there, it will be very difficult to maintain this balance because your mind will be focused on making money. Take enough time to rest so that your mind can rejuvenate. Hang out with your family and friends, and create time to do things you love. What we are simply saying is that don’t spend 100% of your time glued to your computer. You will make a lot of mistakes if you are tired so whenever you feel like your brain can’t handle any more code, take a breather and you will be fresh when you get back to work.
8. Read more
For you to be good in something, you must read more. This doesn’t apply to theory subjects only but also to computer programming. Make a habit of reading other programmers’ code to see how they do it, who knows, you may find a thing or two that you didn’t know about the code you are writing. Knowledge is power and when you read how others solved a particular code, you acquire new skills that prepare you for new challenges. However, programming is not like literature and so whatever you learn you have to do it practically. Otherwise, you will read a lot of code but won’t get your skills any better.
9. Do more practice
Practice, practice makes perfect. The more code you write, the better your programming skills get. Don’t just wait for your lecturer to issue an assignment so you can test your coding skills. If you don’t keep practicing, you will soon forget everything you had learnt. Make varieties of software and have other students run them to see if they function as you intended. You can even have your professor check them for you so you can find out areas that need improvement. And don’t think this is a waste of time or no one will ever get to use the program you have developed. These will be your best proof of work when you start attending interviews. If you just graduated, employers want to know they can trust you with the position and having something that proofs that could be just what you need to land yourself a well-paying job.
10. Stay up-to-date
To be able to complete with other programmers in real life, you need to stay ahead of things. Know what is trending in the tech and programming industry. Familiarize yourself with various programming languages, techniques, methodologies, and tools. Focus on the frameworks that will help you stay relevant in the field. This will help you become a good programming student, score good grades in the discipline, and most importantly, achieve your academic and career goals.
To improve your programming skills, you need to find out what other programmers in the industry are doing to remain relevant and work toward getting better. Know how much you need to learn, seek help from experts, and keep practicing to beef up your knowledge of the subject. Programming is perceived as a complex discipline but if one has taken enough time to learn the ropes, it can be the easiest course anyone will ever pursue in college.