blogNovember 1, 2022

5 tips to become a better developer

Develop a continuous learning mindset

Article presentation

To be a software developer is not an easy task. It is a profession that requires knowledge of many disciplines and the ability to adapt quickly based on new requirements. Just as with any other profession, it is important to keep learning in order to improve your skills and stay competitive in the job market.

Developers write code to build software, but the main objective is to solve problems. They are responsible for the entire software lifecycle: from design, development, and testing to deployment and maintenance. A developer should have excellent problem-solving skills, as well as high-level communication abilities. Although we came from different backgrounds, and have experiences in different programming languages, tools, or frameworks, we all have one thing in common—we love to learn new things. We always want to know what’s beyond the horizon, understand how things work and how they can be improved.

In a sense, all developers have a continuous learning mindset, and for those of you who want to become a better developer, there are many ways to do it. In this article, I will share with you some of the simple ways you can achieve that.

1. Learn

Being a developer is not an easy job, it's very demanding and often requires that you handle immense data volumes and requirements. One of the things that I think all developers have in common is that they are great learners. That of course leads to growth and progress. So here are some things that will help you on your learning journey.

No matter your experience, how small the assignment is, or how easy it might seem the first time you encounter it, there is always something more to learn about it. And this goes for every task you encounter. Learn how to read code, how to write better code, how to refactor your own code or someone else’s—and don’t stop doing that until you reach a level where you feel comfortable with what you are doing at the moment. If you look back at some code you wrote some time ago you will probably find something that could be changed or made better, that is a clear indicator of how much you have grown. This is also one of the reasons why it is important to use the pair programming technique. This method, together with code review, will help you learn about the solutions previously found by your teammates.

If you are just starting out, I recommend that you focus on one language and learn the core software development methodologies before trying to learn another programming language. Focusing on one language's syntax will allow you to avoid mixing up multiple coding syntaxes with each other and creating confusion. Better stick to learning the basic programming concepts and then move on to the next challenge.

Another thing that has been pointed out a million times, but still feels like there is room to say it one more time is: you need to understand the project requirements before setting out to write a single line of code. This step provides detailed information about the client's business requirements and how the software should work to solve their core problems. This is how you increase your chances of delivering a successful product for your client.

2. Practice

This should come as no surprise but practice does make us almost perfect in our line of work. Being a developer is all about writing code. The more you write, the better you will get at it. This is true for both programming and design. You can’t expect to be great at something if you don’t spend time doing it regularly. A tip here is to shape your mindset and focus on delivering the simplest and most elegant solution for your problem. With that in mind and if you practice constantly, you will be able to reach the best results with the least amount of effort.

3. Keep practicing

Remember that just because you've solved a problem doesn't mean it's perfect. You should always look at ways to improve your first solution—and not be afraid to throw it away entirely if necessary! Coding is an opportunity for you to see your mistakes in designing, error handling, and threading. Then go back to those respective skills—to improve them.

Here it's crucial to point out that continuous learning means also learning new technologies. Keeping up with the latest technologies or completing your knowledge will give you that boost of confidence and help you see better the overall picture. If you are on the front end side you could easily learn some backend development, improve your debugging skills, and much more.

So keep practicing, at work, on personal projects, new technologies, or helping other fellow developers, all these things will help you improve. You'll be surprised at how quickly you improve your skills.

4. Build

Build your own solutions. That is a hard one but oftentimes necessary for a developer. This part will help you learn how to talk about your project with other developers, and you'll become more confident in your skills. It's also a great way to get feedback on what you're doing right or wrong; this is why it's important to ask for help when building something new.

5. Get a mentor

A mentor can be a great way to improve your skills, especially if you're just starting out. They can give you advice on how to tackle a problem or help you when you get stuck. When choosing a mentor, make sure it's someone who can help you with the skills you need to improve. A good relationship is based on openness and being prepared for constructive feedback.

A good way to find a mentor is by talking to other developers in your field and asking if they have any recommendations. You could also reach out to other developers in your community and ask them if they'd be willing to help out with your projects.

There are fantastic communities out there like StackOverflow, Stack Exchange, Hackernoon, Medium.com, or dev.to are some of the ones that I recommend.

For instance, I found my community here at OceanoBe where people share the same values: innovation, growth, flexibility, and openness. They have been an important source of support to me over the last few years and continue to be so.

Final thoughts

Developing software is a highly demanding job that requires technical expertise and skill. Many people fail to become successful developers because they neglect to follow some core principles. The key is always consistency. Practice each day in order to become a better developer. This is the most important part of your journey and will be the difference between success and failure. If you truly want to become a great developer, you need to practice every day. It doesn't have to be for hours at a time, but being consistent with your learning will pay off in the long run.

See you out there!

Ciprian