An IT Student's Guide to Becoming a Better Programmer

How to become a good programmer: Here, we are going to learn about the IT guide to become a better programmer. By IncludeHelp Last updated : March 28, 2024

A smart programmer is one who understands that his or her work is never truly done. It doesn't matter how much you think you know – there is always something more to learn. As long as you maintain this mentality, you will leave room for constant improvement.

In turn, you are allowing yourself to become the best possible version of yourself as a programmer. On this note, here are some of the guidelines you should follow if you want to push your boundaries as much as possible:

Learn the Art of Breaking the Code

Most programmers see a stable codebase as something that shouldn't be interfered with. Now, this is perfectly reasonable. After all, no one wants to really deal with the avalanche of bugs that may descend on you after making a few changes. Unfortunately, if you don't ever bother to break the code, you will simply end up sticking patches on it until you end up with barely usable code.

Thus, one of the first things you need to learn how to do is to break the code. The key to getting this just right is to maintain a healthy test case base. You can then build on these test cases and break the code without worrying too much about the negative consequences.

Stay Up-to-Date on Programming Trends

With programming, it can often be a case of blink-and-you'll-miss-it with trends. This is because they can pick up and change with lightning speed. Of course, if you want to be the best, then you have to stay on top of these changes.

The good news, though, is that there are plenty of ways to continue developing your skillset. To begin with, blogs and podcasts are often a great way to keep your ear to the ground. Make sure to earmark a few that are run by professionals in the field. This way, you will not have to make much of an effort to keep track of trends.

At the same time, you shouldn't be afraid to go back to school either – at least in some ways. Consider online courses so that you will be a part of what the new generation is learning. Or, simply keep testing your skills. There are several IT-based websites that can help you study and assess your knowledge.

Read More Code

Another way to learn is to read other programmers' code. This is because it will give you fresh insight into how someone else solved a particular problem. Thus, if you come across this issue in the future, you will be aware of just how to deal with it.

However, this isn't the only reason to read code. You should also read what other people have composed and see if you can find any flaws in their work. At the very least, try to find ways you could have improved on this existing body of work.

Follow the Rule of Three

Writing code can be equal parts stressful and exhilarating. So, once you are done, you may simply want to stop there. Well, this isn't a good idea. While the code might be fine, are you really willing to settle for that? After all, how can you become better if you are satisfied with the bare minimum you do?

To really push yourself, you need to write your code at least three times. If this sounds a little crazy, don't worry – there is a method to this madness. The first round is to determine if the code is viable. Once you have ascertained this, write it again to make sure that it can work. The third time should be the perfection stage. You had the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and write a code that surpasses your first try. So, make it a point to do this every time.

Get Your Code Reviewed

As a programmer, having your code reviewed can be an especially painful experience. In the end, you are essentially giving people permission to find flaws in your work. Nevertheless, it is important that you do this on a regular basis. Platforms such as GitHub and JIRA are best.

To begin with, make sure to review your code yourself. This way, you can catch all those 'silly mistakes' before putting up the code for others' perusal. Once you are satisfied with your once-over, make it a point to highlight any aspects that you aren't sure about. This way, you are more likely to get a constructive response that you can utilize.

It can also help to tag the right people. In particular, focus on individuals who may be familiar with the kind of code you are writing. This will make it easier to get better advice and you can be certain that you can trust these programmers' judgment as well.

Work on Personal Projects

When you work for someone else, you face many constraints – techniques, tools, deadlines, etc. Thus, there can often be a limit to how much you can improve under such circumstances. This is why, whenever possible, you should take on personal projects.

Now, personal projects don't just mean your own. You can write code for friends, your community, or anything else that can be considered 'off the clock'. Just make sure that the projects are challenging and force you to learn and utilize new tactics.

This strategy has another advantage as well. It forces you to work on your own. When you are part of a team, you may naturally ask for help the moment you encounter a problem. However, when you have to muddle through it on your own, you will emerge with more knowledge. So, take on assignments whenever you can.

These are just some of the things the average student can do to improve their programming skills. Remember, this is something you should do for the rest of your academic and professional career. It is only then that you will be able to steadily advance and blossom.

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