How To: Become a Better Programmer

A lot of people aspire to become programmers and rave and talk about it without ever doing anything. If you want to become a programmer you can try these tips; they are not guaranteed to always work but some of them are true.

Learn a lot

Programming is a rapidly changing field with new innovations, discoveries and concepts coming up daily. Change is constant here. So you’ve got to read a lot and keep up to date with the current trends and happenings in the software world. Always try out new stuff; learn new programming languages, design patterns, development methods. Just keep learning.

Learn several paradigms

Learning a new programming paradigm will force you to think in a new way and expose you to more logic and improve your code writing skills. Learning C, which has no string types but forces you to write them as an array of characters and has pointers too, will stretch your brains; or python/javascript which support functional programming or scheme. Get your juices flowing.

Write code

How do you get better at programming if you don’t practise programming? Write code at every opportunity you’ve got. It’ll enable you to learn more about the language and also improve your modelling skills so you can abstract real life events into software development terms. Always try to improve your code, strive for perfection and improve your algorithms.

Know your tools

Get to know your tools. If you use an IDE, try out some of the features which you always see but never click on. There were put there for a reason and not for decoration; the developers made them so they could serve a purpose so try to use them and perfect them. Most IDEs provide support unit testing, collaboration, FTP and have a whole lot of other juicy tools that make your development tasks easier.

Read code

Now to get some subtle tricks, learn from the masters of the trade and pick up experience and know what bad code looks like; you’ve got to read code. So sign up for an open source project or if you’re too lazy for this; read the java source code – yes I’m serious! – read it. Or jQuery source, or PHP, and start from there. you can also get some open source project’s source code for your perusal.

Get mentors

Having mentors will help you to know your weak points and where you ought to improve yourself. They’ll also point out tweaks, tips and tricks to you so you get to accelerate your development skills. Best still, they can tell you when you are on the wrong path so you get back on track without straying too far.

Work hard

Yah, You’ve got to work hard; working hard is part of success; you don’t just expect to sit in your house and have the programming skills you so desire transferred to you all of a sudden. So, get up and start writing code and learning, and seeking out mentors.

Now get up and work your way to programming nirvana 😀

Image credit: flickr