Be the best you can be – that’s a motto many of us try to live by, and for anyone involved in coding, whether for pleasure or profit, being the very best we can be is absolutely vital, if we want to be involved in the most interesting projects, work with the most inspiring people and get the best pay deals. Long hours poring over manuals and taking tutorial after tutorial may well improve your coding skills over time, but there are a few other ways to fast-track your coding abilities. Let’s take a look…
Practice makes perfect
The plain truth is that if you want to get better at coding, you need to code. Regularly. If you spend all your time looking for a quick way to become a top coder and very little time actually coding, you’re heading down the wrong road. Factor time into your day, every day, to do some coding. Find layouts or programs online, and rewrite them, either in another programming language, or in a more efficient or more structured way. Play with publicly available APIs, and build applications to display or use the data pulled in through those APIs. For the purposes of improving your coding skills, it doesn’t matter too much what you code, so long as you code often and in ways that challenge you to push yourself and your knowledge.
Do something real
Nothing focuses the mind more than having a real-world problem to solve. We’ve all ploughed through dull and boring coding exercises that seem to have nothing to do with the real world, but finding a genuine reason to code something from scratch could help you learn far more. Identifying a particular need, whether business or personal, and then defining and building an app to meet that need will round out your coding skills much more effectively than sitting through screen after screen of unrealistic tutorials. The big plus of doing something like this? At the end of it, you have a working app that you can use, sell or add to your portfolio, to help you land your next job or freelancing gig.
Step outside your comfort zone
If you always stay safe, you’re not going to get better. To improve, you need to push yourself, feel defeated at times, and get it wrong occasionally. The best way to do all this is to learn something totally new, and make yourself code using that new knowledge. If you’ve been using jQuery, push yourself to learn AngularJS. Try your hand at Ruby on Rails or go all out to learn Java. Unless you explore all sorts of coding options, you won’t know what your coding preferences are, or where your real strengths lie. And by forcing yourself to try new approaches, you are guaranteed to learn fast and turbo-boost your confidence and skills.
Look around you for inspiration
Coding is often seen as a bit of a solitary activity, but one of the best ways to find the inspiration to drive your coding skills forward is to mix with like-minded people. From contests like Google Code Jam to tech seminars and online events, meeting and listening to others who share your passion for code is guaranteed to inspire you to become better at what you do. Who knows, you might even find a mentor or a coding buddy to team up with, to make all that hard work a little bit easier.
Feeling inspired? Go off and code right now – just for the fun of it! Never stop trying, never stop learning and never stop finding new ways to solve problems. Being a great coder is achievable – you just have to keep going and believe in your own potential.
Guest article written by: This is a guest post by Sparkster.me. We are passionate about empowering people to live their dreams. At Sparkster you can build software without writing any code!