Programming can be a highly rewarding hobby and profession. The challenges of learning the syntax and logic of various languages present imaginative programmers with infinite opportunities to create code for any executable function. Here, expert systems engineer Ravi Bahethi looks at some of the steps that are necessary for programmers to develop and build their skills with a variety of programming languages.
Don't Be a Language Snob
Programming languages are entirely dynamic. Languages and tools that are here today are likely to be gone tomorrow. The key to success is to focus on the techniques and philosophies and not static tools. Think of developing a broad view of as many languages as possible, and stick to the fundamentals whenever possible. Programming is like football; offenses and defenses change, but blocking and tackling stay the same over time. Dogmatic adherence to particular languages and tools stunt your growth and ability to adapt to the changes that are always certainly coming.
Code Real-World Problems Every Day
It is important to code as often and as consistently as possible. When you apply your skills to create solutions to real-world problems that others will appreciate you increase your skills and problem-solving abilities while building your portfolio and personal brand. When you use development applications, don't just use them, dig underneath and figure out how they work. Code every day, and try new techniques and methods whenever you can.
Become An Expert in Code Review
Consider code review as much more than proofreading code--make it an opportunity to improve code and to engage in constructive discussion about improvements. When your code is reviewed, make an effort to carefully consider constructive criticism and learn from someone else's experience when possible. When you are reviewing someone else's work, look for new techniques or methods that can be of value to you and work towards offering positive suggestions when possible.
Spend Time In the Open Source Community
Collaboration on open source projects is a powerful way to get immediate and valuable feedback on your work while networking and building relationships. Approaching community opportunities with the attitude of both a teacher and a student can be enriching, allowing you to find new challenges and avoid monotony and burnout. The open-source community can give you the chance to write articles and blog posts that will be read and circulated and to speak to and mentor groups who can help you develop your programming skills.
Build Your Soft (People) Skills
When it comes to advancing in your programming career, it is imperative to remember that your resume consists of more than just programming; it is based on your interpersonal skills as well. It is essential to understand that talking with non-programmers requires moving beyond technical language. Most people do not understand much of the programming jargon that you use every day, and it is important to show them your creativity, charisma, and humor in ways that they will understand.
About Ravi Bahethi
Ravi Bahethi is a systems engineer and programmer with a strong interest in all things technological. He works hard to provide his clients with customizable and cost-effective solutions and protections against cyber attacks and other threats. He has a keen interest in helping others learn programming skills as a way of both sharing and sharpening his expertise. To relieve some of the pressure of managing Maryland-based company Terranet Inc., Ravi enjoys taking long walks and playing tennis.
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