4 habits to grow as a developer.

I've put together a short list of habits I believe are critical to growth as a software developer. I hope you might find one or more of them useful.

4 habits to grow as a developer.

I've put together a short list of habits I believe are critical to growth as a software developer. I hope you might find one or more of them useful.

Push code every day

Writing code is just like exercising a muscle. Everyday you code it grows stronger, and everyday missed it weakens. Writing code is good, pushing it out into the world is better. It's important to keep your work within the frame of reference.

We don't write code, we build web experiences- measured by those using what we've delivered. Part of it is just keeping programming knowledge in short-term memory, the brain's cache. Another aspect is the literally muscle memory to typing the syntax of your chosen language.

There's always something you can safely push out. Splitting goals into incremental sub-goals can make the goals more achievable and help build momentum after each success.

Never give up on goals

Ask yourself- how many problems did I try to solve today, and was I successful? Perhaps you tried to style a component a specific way. Did you accomplish it- or did you settle for an idea easier to implement?

As you work, have a clear idea in your mind of what the user experience should be when the feature or fix is "complete" (more on this in the next habit). ย Until you reach that idea in your mind of complete, you'll constantly have to makes decisions to accomplish the outcome, or to give up. Sometimes if you're trying to implement a task a specific way, and sometimes you are just trying to get a specific end result. Are you following the rules you set up for yourself- or are you changing the rules half-way through to make the hard work easier?

Writing code is like lifting weights, if you're targeting a specific muscle, the exercise will only work if you use correct form. If you lifting with your back and not your legs, your legs will not grow stronger. It might still be exercise, but you'd be cheating your legs out of growth they should be getting. Just like if you are trying to use a specific library and cant get something working- switching to use a different library is just like lifting with your back. You cheating yourself out of the growth you're targeting.

Articulate your ideas

  • Content is much higher quality when created from a discussion with a peer.
  • If the topic is new or challenging, try getting away from your keyboard to free up your brain. Thinking about the problem without the overhead of having to operating a computer can make a huge difference.
  • "All things are created twice; first mentally; then physically. The key to creativity is to begin with the end in mind, with a vision and a blue print of the desired result." โ€”Stephen Covey
  • Asking questions to clear up uncertainty in your ideas. Specific questions will get specific answers.
  • Rubber ducking is a easy technique for checking if you actually know something well enough to talk about it with yourself.
  • Write comments to outline a process before writing the code to implement it.

Read documentation

  • When you get to Google and you don't even know what to search for- it's time to read the docs. If you don't know where to even start on something,
  • Docs are often a good signal that the library is well maintained.
  • Clearing the fog by tracing a leaf to it's trunk, the source of knowledge.
  • Because spoken language is easier to start with then written language, videos (YouTube) can often be the best way to get an overview and introduction to documentation.