Self-improvement is a trait (if not habit) that any top-rated software developer practices a lot. Because the tech and IT world is always evolving, so too are the skills and knowledge base required to excel in this line of work. Whether you are still starting out, already a junior, or have reached senior developer status, there are always some useful tips and tricks worth knowing and practicing to improve one’s work. Here are some of them.
10 Tips to Become a Successful Software Developer
1. Build a Solid Foundation
Before you start writing code, it is good to brush up on some foundational and related topics. Revisit your know-how about data structure and algorithms, as this is part of the substructure of any real-world application. Brush up on things like arrays, linked lists, maps, sets, source controls, text editors, databases, SQL, and the like. If possible, you can even go back as far as reviewing the concepts of Algebra 1 math: functions and variables.
The idea is to master the basics, grow that foundation, and keep going back to it. Understanding concepts that may be considered outside of programming will always be valuable in all projects.
2. Choose a Path
Especially if you are just starting out or still in your junior stages, it is a good idea to find your niche.
If you are trying to learn or master software development for startups in 2020, for example, you might want to pick up Python, Kotlin, Swift, or some other programming languages that are gaining more fans. Projects with startups will most likely require these skills.
After that, you can build on your portfolio by adding more specialties in your skill set.
3. Work Smart and Fast
In any job, there is a learning curve. As you move up in skill level, the way you work also changes. When it comes to software development, premium software development services provider like DevsData recommends working smart and fast (that is, agile).
Make a project work, do it right, and do it fast. Build simple solutions first, and then add edge cases after ensuring the simpler solutions work. After checking all results and inputs are correct, you can then turn to measuring performance. If everything looks good, only then should you optimize accordingly.
4. Do Not Forget About Users
A top-rated software developer is someone who does not only build quality programs and applications, but one who does not forget the reason for the software: the end users.
Your end goal is to make the work of people easier and to help them do more. If the project is for the general consumers, do not forget to think in their shoes. If it is for executives or employees, keep in mind their needs on how they will deploy, use, and maintain the software.
5. Think in Puzzles
Most successful programmers tend to think in puzzles. That is, they can take a complex problem, break it down to smaller chunks, analyze those small pieces, and then put everything back together to solve the original, big problem.
If you are staring at a blank text editor and have no clue how to take it on, it may be because you have not broken it down to manageable pieces.
6. Find Your Own Way of Learning
But also, find your own method of learning. We all learn in different ways. Some learn better when they are writing code, others while reading or watching videos, while others when they are putting the theory in practice.
Do not stop learning about topics, old or new. Even if you already consider yourself a master in one programming language, for example, continue to be up-to-date about it. If there is an emerging trend or if a coding language you do not know interests you, read about it. Look through different resources and platforms, and maybe even ask the help of some colleagues who know about it.
7. Join and Be Active in Communities
In the IT industry, connections and strong networks are valuable. It is a great way to get projects, recommendations, and overall support as you progress through your career.
Join a community and be active on it. Contribute to open-source projects, collaborate with other developers for a project, attend meetups, tweet your coding projects, push them on GitHub. Get involved in the community and you will quickly develop stronger connections to your line of work.
8. Build Projects You Love
Choosing projects that are interesting to you gives you higher chances of finishing it early and with as little stress as possible. You will more likely finish them and not see it as work, but more of a passion project to practice (and show off) your skills.
9. Celebrate Your Wins and Embrace Errors
Learning to code and build software is a difficult process, so when a win comes your way, celebrate it — even if it is small. Keep track of these accomplishments so you have something to motivate you on a bad day.
Moreover, get comfortable with failure. Seeing the red error messages on your screen is a normal part of programming. Instead of being terrified by them, try to read through them, understand, and then use them to solve the problem.
10. You Do Not Need to Know Everything
It is impossible to know everything about software development and the industry. No one knows every programming language, method, library, framework, or the best solutions for any problem.
Do not pressure yourself into getting good at everything; just focus on your strengths, face your weaknesses, and work from there.
As with any profession, there are plenty of ways to hone your craft and improve both as a professional and an individual. Find what works for you, continue to up-skill, and you will likely find great success in your future.