11 ways to become a better programmer
To become a good programmer, you have to be passionate about it. When you are a programmer, you write a code that others can use, and rely on and it is not easy to become a programmer like that. Whether you are new to it or are a veteran programmer, you can follow the 11 tips mentioned below to help you become an expert at what you do
- Realize the importance of coding
Coding is the most important aspect of programming and every talented and capable programmer would vouch for its significance in programming. When you concentrate on coding, you would be able to identify any mistakes made in designing, threading and so on. You can easily go back and correct the errors, addressing issues and catering to missing requirements, and this saves a lot of time in the long run
- A successful programmer would be methodical
Computers work in a predictable manner, methodically. They do what the programmer tells them to do. But they have their own codes and steps designed by the programmer himself. The trick is to understand them and work systematically. Computers have a systematic process that works from the beginning till the end, unless the user aborts it.
- Programmers are not supposed to duplicate code
If you want to be a better programmer, then you must never duplicate codes. If you have a common code segment, then you must refractor it to develop its own function. There are several problems to having a duplicate code: it leads to bugs down the line, it could bloat the line of code-base, it could cause confusion to other programmers who read the code.
- Getting distracted is human, so when you get distracted it is perfectly normal to take break
A good programmer is not one who gets glued to the computer. He takes a break every few hours to refresh his mind and body. If you feel like having a coffee break, do so by all means because breaks are important to have good performance and better productivity in the long run.
- Proper testing of code
As a programmer, you must be sure of the code you develop. You may know the advantages and disadvantages of your code, but you still need to prove it. Analyze all the cases for which your code would be useful and test it for perfection; it should work under all possible conditions. You can also indulge in unit testing. You can even set parameters that are outside of the expected range, or even ask a colleague to break the code.
- Don’t be hasty to deliver your code
Even if he is under pressure, a good programmer will never usher the solution out the door unless he is sure it will work. Do not miss out on the testing cycle, which is extremely crucial to the success of the code. If you perform the testing properly, it would help you identify the potential problems and your professional approach would be appreciated by your boss and colleagues.
- Devise an elegant code
A good programmer devises an elegant code that is not only concise and maintainable, but highly effective, easy to read, adopt and modify. If a code is simple and clean, then it will not have bugs (at least the chances are much less). A programmer can design an elegant code when he analyses the problem carefully and finds a design and algorithm that can create a simple code.
- Using numbers haphazardly
Some programmers have the habit of just inserting numbers into the code. But that is not a good practice at all because they could become bugs, especially when the same number is used multiple times and there is no clear description what they represent. So, even if you are inserting numbers into codes, be sure to describe them, and assign a constant name to it, even if they are used once.
- Self-documenting code
If you create self-documenting code, then it would be a greater idea and there is a huge demand for programmers who can do that. Most programmers make codes that need comments, but the demand is for codes that can be self-documented is quite high. A self-documented code does not need any comments to explain its purpose. Creating a self-documented code is however, not easy and you may have to recognize where there are problems and apply the following methods: (1) Naming things (2) Extracting functions and (3) Dedicated variables.
- Premature optimization in programming
Some programmers say that premature optimization is the root of all evil. Premature optimization happens when you start optimizing a code a part of the code for which you already have a functionality. That results in the breakage of functionality. Optimization should only be done on the basis of performance analysis at the end of a project. If you do the optimization thing before the project is completed, then it could lead to bugs and eventually wastage of time.
- Have an idea of how much code to write
The programmer must have an idea on the length of code he is going to prepare. If you are creating a simple program, then naturally, you must know the code must be short as well. If your code is getting too long, then you’ve got it wrong somewhere.
If you want to be a good programmer, you must be experienced at algorithms, data structure, designing with the help of OOPS, various kinds of programming concepts, unit testing and multi-threading. Programming is a skill that requires several capabilities; it takes time to master it.
Pictures: Flickr.com/ MacDonald/ Regan/ Himbeault
The author: Reema Oamkumar is engaged as a thought leader at Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.