5 Practices to Help You Become the Best Developer That You Can Be
I started with nothing but some extra time and big dreams — so can you
“There is no right time, there is just time and what you choose to do with it.” — Alex Karev, Grey’s Anatomy
I’ve been writing several articles for months now, trying to share as many as I can, especially to all the self-taught developers.
Most of my writings were based on personal experiences — things I’ve learned the hard way. No one told me all this stuff. I never looked up at any other self-taught developers when I started because I didn’t find any at that time.
Today, there are many self-taught developers out there, though I can only count a few that I know. To tell you the truth, I would probably spend most of my morning reading stuff like this because these are real gems.
The technical stuff we can just learn online and practice to understand them. But the journey isn’t just about the technical side, it’s also important to know what’s out there, instead of learning stuff the hard way. It would be a lot easier if we could avoid the unnecessary ones if we could.
I wish someone existed four years ago and wrote these writings, it could have saved me time and tears, and a little inspiration could help us kick the day ahead.
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” — Robert Louis Stevenson
Create Your Own Notes/Personal Library
I’ve been doing this since I started ReactJS more than a year ago.
Of so many things that we have to remember to do, trying to automate things has always been one of the main ideas when you’re a developer — trying to save much time as possible, shorting our processing time, and eliminating repetitive tasks.
As a developer, we need to adapt and practice eliminating repetitive tasks.
If, for example, you need to use React Router, like every other developer we hit that Google Search button and find the documentation and learn it. Then it’s done and we move forward. However, days pass, or even weeks, and when we again encounter React Router we hit that Google Search again, and repeat.
If not React Router, then how about CSS properties — we use them all the time, again and again.
Instead of trying to remember where you have found that favorite animation, that CSS property, why not create your own library, your go-to notes?
It could also be some solutions that you’ve fixed, or figured out doing, you don’t want to deal with that same bug again, and we tend to forget things, so you have to start documenting it.
Using this very principle of not repeating the tasks over and over whether when you do programming or even on your personal life will help you to be more efficient and productive.
Time is gold, spend it wisely!
Don’t Just Copy-and-Paste — Understand
And don’t stop until you do.
At the start, copy-pasting code is understandable. However, if you want to be a good developer you need to understand why things happen as they do. You can’t call yourself a developer if you don’t know what’s happening with your project.
You have to understand how they work, why they work, and how they connect and exist altogether. That’s the beauty of code, it’s fascinating and mind-blowing structure and architecture, like a piece of art.
As you build your project, you’ll encounter several errors and bugs along the way. If you know what you’re doing it won’t be so hard to do the debugging. Then, whenever you get stuck at something and go online to find solutions, you can also add them to your personal documentation. You get to understand that solution so when the time comes for you to deal with it again or something similar, you know what to do.
That’s why you must spend some time to understand it — it’s the only way to learn programming and the best way to become a good programmer.
Practice reading codes, because being a developer isn’t just about creating and building applications. In the real corporate developer world, you’ll be asked to continue other people’s codes, to reuse existing codes, and to enhance and maintain other people’s work — so start reading other people’s work. You’ll learn good practices and coding style.
The Best Way to Learn is to Put Yourself Out There
My developer journey was on a fast-lane.
I got my job after six months of intense hard work. All I did was work, study, and look for jobs.
After three months of working in my first job, I was given a mobile app project with two other colleagues. If you’ve read most of my articles you’ll know that in my first job I worked along with other eight computer science graduates, so you can imagine how much that helped with the pressure and my insecurities.
I would say that it wasn’t the best journey but it was one hell of a ride. I learned a lot, not just on the technical side but also in dealing with myself.
The best way to learn is to put yourself out there and expose yourself to the real world. It doesn’t matter what other people think. Even if you feel all the doubts in the world, it doesn’t matter. Sometimes all you need to do is to show up — because there’s nothing more rewarding than overcoming our most difficult times.
We will never know how far we can rise if we don’t experience our lowest point
Your best teacher is experience, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Create a lot of them, the most important thing is how you overcome those mistakes, how you solve them, and how to learn from them.
My first job wasn’t the most pleasant, it was a roller coaster, and yet it was the most rewarding. I’ve come out taller and better than I could even imagine.
You wouldn’t know the good if you haven’t experience the bad.
The Art of Debugging
Debugging is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
It’s the not-so-fun part of programming, a part where you start to wonder about all the wrong things you did in life, question all the choices you’ve made, and ask yourself over and over if web development is for you.
But one of the best feelings in the world is when you’ve finally resolved that bug. Earlier today I was finally able to fix some network bug connections that we had been trying to work on for more than a week. Finally, it was so fulfilling that I took a nap right after.
Based on experience, it would be easier to resolve problems one at a time, if you can see numbers of red lines on your console, don’t be intimated, most of those apparent problems will resolve themselves once you can fix the few actual errors.
So the best approach is to break it and take one error at a time. Most of these errors have probably been encountered by developers before you. If you just solve one problem at a time, trust me — once you compile the app, other warnings and errors will resolve themselves. Just follow the error, you will get it as you read the lines, and as you gain experience.
If, after long hours of trying to debug, you still can’t come up with a solution, take a break, walk outside get some fresh air — most of the time, we are our problem.
Why do we have this habit of making simple things complicated?
Being Resourceful Will Be One of Your Greatest Strengths
Especially when you’re a self-taught developer.
It’s one of the best skills you can acquire, not just for Web Development but in life in general.
You can’t just wait for things to happen to you. If you want something, get up and work for it.
As a self-taught developer, you don’t have to spend much to become a developer. Many would disagree, but I made myself a successful one without really spending much. I started with nothing but some extra time and big dreams.
Most of the things that I have today were just luxuries of my yesterday, so stop making excuses. If you want to learn and become a mobile developer or software developer, your will should be stronger than your excuses. There is no “right time”, all we have is time and what we choose to do with it.
Hard work beats talent every time. I’m working on becoming a senior full-stack developer. I don’t plan to spend thousands just to be one, and I’m so close to achieving my goal.
What we choose to do or not do today will be the foundation of our tomorrows, so whether you choose to go back to sleep or get up and get things done, it’s your choice.
Above all else, take a break from time to time. All your hard work will be for nothing if you get sick, so take that break!
“It’s time to become the best version of yourself.”