Learn how to improve your coding skills with a couple of tips.

How to hone/sharpen your coding skills?

Everyone deserves to have an idea about Programming in the robotic world we live in today, since everything we do involves the use of technology, and technology requires some programming languages in form of codes to enhance its functionalism But not everyone can become a programmer or learn coding skills, talk more of even developing on them. However, if you’re a developer, software engineers, or an SEO expert that deals in Magento Development services, then you’re in right place, because no one knows it all. All be-it, this piece is primary for those who are willing to improve their coding skills.

The first thing to do if you want your coding skills improved is to first have a programming knowledge, and this include things like mastering the art of some known programming language like C++, Java Script and most especially Syntax. Most of what you’re going to doing involves the use of Syntax, but different programming languages have different Syntax and that’s why when you learn one language like C+, it is easy for you to learn C++ and Java, because they all follow the same Syntax dead end.

Now that have learnt the Syntax, you can now follow these few steps to help work on your skills.

Step 1: Practice Algorithm And Data Structures

When you learn new language, you feel like you have known everything about programming, but that’s not true, because when you learn a new language, you learn Syntax, and Syntax in plain meaning simply means a grammatical arrangement of words in a sentence. Now when implementing Syntax for example when solving a problem statement, you just don’t convert the problem statement into a code, first you have to convert that problem statement into a solution, and this solution is what is called Algorithm, then finally you can now convert the Algorithm into a code. 

However, you can convert simple and plain problem statements into a code, but for the difficult problem statement, you first need to convert to Algorithm, and this involves continuous practice by solving some existing Algorithms. There are many books out there that can help you to improve on Algorithms, bet me, books will enhance your learning more faster than just relying only on dozens of blog, Nevertheless, there are useful websites out there that specialize in improving your coding skills, some of them include; Coursera, Udemy, Code wars, Free code camps, and Githhub. The major aspects should be learning in Algorithms are things like Graph Algorithm and Disjoint sets AlgorithmIn addition, you have to practice data structures also; examples of data structures are Arrays, Stacks, Lists, Trees, Priority queues and so on. It is therefore important to have the knowledge of data structures because some of them work hand in hand with Algorithm.

Step 2: Read CodeFrom Other People

For you to get smarter in the game of programming, and improve your coding skills, you have to read other peoples code, most especially, codes written by Professional Programmers, these professionals are not hard to find, sites like Udemy and some e-commerce development firms  are known to have such aura of Programmers.

Now when you learn a language, you’ll implement it in your own way, so that when you’re given a problem statement, you’re going to write your own code. But sometimes the code you write may not be written in the proper way, not that it would not give you the correct output, but you have to look out for things like speed efficiency and compactness of your code because it will help to reduce resource consumption and completion time as much as possible.

After reading others people code from places like Github, it will expand your programming knowledge and writing of codes, in the sense that you are writing the same code but in a different way, the Syntax may be the same, the output may remain the same, but the way you write your code will change. The moment you watch other people’s code and study them carefully, it will have a significant impact on your coding skills, and when next you solve a problem statement, it will be helpful.

Step 3: Participate In Programming Competitions

Participate in various programming events, because the more you compete with other programmers, the more you learn new skills of coding, and you may even meet a mentor from such meetings. You can compete on online platforms such as The ICFP Programming Contest, BME International 24-hours Programming Contest, TopCoder and few other places. These websites will give you a problem statement that you have to convert to a solution in form of a code.  Normally when you submit your code, it is often rejected repeatedly, and that’s where the learning starts, then overtime your code will eventually be selected if you persist on your learning and that’s a great sign of motivation for you to move on and learn more. Furthermore, what these websites and E-commerce Development sites get to teach you is three things in general, thus; first they teach you how to code, secondly they teach you how to code effectively, and lastly they teach you how to de-bug.

Step 4: Don’t Stick To One Language

Try to explore more languages, yes; people love some peculiar Programming languages and tend to master some, like Java, Python, C++, PHP, Java Script, Ruby – but don’t stick to just one, because they all have their Pros and Con. This is why if you are versatile in programming languages, it will teach you in reading codes faster. For example, if you learn Elixir or Racketyou’ll learn how to do functional programming which helps you in your Java language. ‘In fondo’, when you learn another language, they have some extra features you can implement in the language you know best.

Step 5: Build A Project

Of course, the primary aim of learning or improving on your coding skills is to build a project. Now im not saying you should start building your project from day 1, but you can start after learning some few programming language like Syntaxand applying all the steps. It can be any project, it doesn’t matter, we all have some passion or hobby for various things like watching a movie or playing of video games, so you can as well develop a video game for yourself. Yes, the first project you build should be for yourself- as that will be your first step, because when you’re doing something for yourself you’ll feel good about it, and of course you may get stuck somewhere because it’s your first project. When you get stuck, and you’re in need of help, there are multiple places you can go as discussed earlier, you can as well go to Google at https://developers.google.com/training/ and search for yourself, trust me; Google knows everything, but don’t just copy the code directly that results from the problem Google solved, try to understand the code and what it means, try to customize it the way you want, just don’t copy and paste it, because it might lead to bugs and bugs are harmful.

Other Useful Tips To Support The Above Steps

Although, the above few steps and guides may lead you towards your way in improving your coding skills, but there are also some useful tips to take note of, to live a life in practicing the culture of  a Programmer. Some useful tips are:

1. Always Read Error Messages

Read error messages that pop up on your screen before asking for help from various Programmers out there, because other programmers too have written many codes that do not work overtime. Endeavor to know the root of the problem, as these will enable you have a vast idea about programming. Try to solve the problem yourself, but if it ends up becoming a robust problem, look out for help, probably from your mentor.

2. Do Unit Testing

If you make unit testing as an integrated part of how you write code, you’ll be in full control of the quality of the code you develop. Unit testing should rigorously be something you integrate in to your process of writing codes and not left after you’re done writing the code. 

3. Learn Linux

Although, not a user-friendly platform, but if you have passion for programming like I said earlier, it will take plenty of time and lots of repetition to learn it. When you learn some few commands on this platform, you’re definitely in line to developing your coding skills and becoming a great programmer

4. Build Fast And Then Improve

Be keen on building your project as simple as possible; do not waste too much time in trying to avoid mistakes. If you want to improve fast in programming, you have to be ready to make mistakes, and you can only learn from mistakes, the more mistakes you make, the faster you learn. A working product done quickly in programming is worth more than impressing colleagues with a clever solution. 

5. Keep A Legacy For The Next Developer

Endeavor to make code plain and readable and do leave plenty odescriptive documentation in the comments log for other lame developers that may inherit this code in the nearest future and be responsible for maintaining it. 

6. Lear New Technology Everyday

The world is now a global village, so you should be ready to read up, improve and develop new skills and educate yourself about new developments and technologies either by visiting Tech websites or by reading Programming journals.

7. Be Passionate About Programming

Learning coding skills can be a very tough task because it creative and requires thinking beyond the traditional routeso if you don’t have a passion for programming, its better you don’t start at the first place. 

8. Make Codes Easy To Troubleshoot

Always keep in mind about what useful information you may need to debug, and when you’re writing codes, endeavor to add log statements.

9. Be Open To Embarrassments

Be open to your own shortcomings, because no one knows it all in programming. When you admit a fault, you can then improve from there. 

10. Be Flexible In Your Approach

When you’re writing codes, be flexible and simple as possible so that a lame programmer can understand the context around it. 

11. Don’t Take Unnecessary Shortcuts

Don’t follow the easy way that may end dreadful for you, some people think they can always correct their mistakes some other time, but that opportunity may never come, and that code stays in production for a long time. 

So that’s all I have for you here, remember no one is perfect in the world of programming, continue with persistence, and hard work will win the day for you, if you have any contribution to add, the door is always open, as we continue to learn new things.

Senior Software Engineer at Software Medico. Interested in programming since he was 14 years old, Carlos is a self-taught programmer and founder and author of most of the articles at Our Code World.