Adding Value To Your Software Engineering Skills

By Jyoti Nigania |Email | Jan 31, 2019 | 17532 Views

How you will improve yourself as a Software Engineer? If You are at very first step or starting your career as a software engineer the first step is to get learn your language, frameworks, tools, and technology.

But what in the other case if you're an experienced Software Developer, then you should find new opportunities to improve your code for readability, performance, and maintainability and then practice making well-reasoned decisions about where to focus time and resources in your code whether it's testing, performance optimization, or other technical debt.

Those are some of the themes you'll find if you ask veteran software engineers to share their best advice for being a great programmer. There aren't any well-kept secrets. The advice of many of the most successful developers is readily available to you on blogs and forums. Here, I have collected the most illustrative advice and recurring tips from blogs and forums and mentioned them in five different categories. I've paraphrased and merged various similar tips into single snippets. Here whether you have five, ten, or twenty years of experience programming or if you have almost no experience I think just about every developer will find some good ideas for self-improvement.

Domains, architecture, and design:
1. The best programmers can take a complex problem, break it down into smaller pieces, solve each of those pieces, and then put everything back together to solve the initial problem.

2. The software is just a tool for solving domain problems. Since it's needed in almost all domains, develop in one that interests you. If you understand a domain well and are passionate about it, you'll be a much better, more motivated developer. You'll also be exponentially more valuable and lucrative to companies hiring in your chosen domain.

3.  Don't let one domain pigeonhole you into one way of coding. An example would be a mobile developer who is mainly good at hooking together existing APIs but can't come up with sane data representation.

Languages, tools, and advancing from beginner to intermediate:
1.  Contribute to open-source projects like a bridge from beginner to intermediate. Collaborate with the developers of the project and attend meetups to collaborate with other developers in person.

2.  "Learning programming languages are not learning how to program. Focus on programming techniques, problem-solving, and analytical skills, not on learning as many languages as you can."

3.  Learn multiple programming paradigms such as object-oriented programming, functional programming, reflective programming, etc. Believe it or not, your programming in one paradigm will improve after studying an alternative paradigm.

Code readability and maintainability:
1. Don't ask permission to refactor, test, document etc. It's all part of programming. Don't ask permission to do your job.

2. Name variables so that other developers can understand your code better. This is a skill you need to nurture.

3. Using inheritance often reduces testability and reusability of your object-oriented code in the long run. Your first choice should be using composition and interfaces.

Technical debt, code coverage, and process:
1.  Know when to take on technical debt and when to pay it off so it doesn't compound. When exploring (and discarding) different features and pivoting frequently, borrow heavily on technical debt. When your position is stable and your direction is clearer, optimize your remaining features and clean up bugs to pay off that technical debt before moving on to the next stage.

2. Within the context of your projects, learn what the right amount of testing is. Too little and your software becomes unreliable and everyone is afraid to deploy to production. Too much and you'll end up wasting too much time and resources writing and maintaining them, while also making the development process slower.

3. Commit your code in small, working chunks and write a detailed commit message that will help developers find and understand bugs that may have been introduced in that commit. Just summarize what you did and why you did it.

Soft skills and productivity:
1. Have large chunks of time set aside for focused coding each day? The quantity of time spent coding is meaningless if it's full of interruptions such as meetings, emails, and web browsing.

2. Don't be ashamed to admit when you don't know something. As a developer, you're often solving new problems, so you can't be expected to know all the solutions immediately. Trying to hide your lack of knowledge only slows the learning process.

3. Don't be afraid to share your unfinished work with others frequently.

Source: HOB