Do you Want to be Programmer? A Brief Overview of Some Key Essentials

With today’s economy being such as it is, and there being a heavy influence of technology in every aspect of the modern organization, the ability to program seems to be an ever growing field whose growth has no end in sight. As technology continues to revolutionize the modern world and too fast track and stream line businesses of today, workers educated with the ability to program these advancements and to update them are ever more prevalent. Unlike most, it is also an industry where a university degree is not required to get into, as a heavy percentage of software developers are self-taught. Anyone with access to the internet can easily find all the resources they need in order to start programming today. With that being said, this article will touch briefly on some of, what I consider, essential tips to programmers of today.

In my own programming, and from what I have recognized from other people/organizations, I believe the best advice any programmer can receive is to only focus on one task at a time and to carry it out to completion before moving on. Yes there will be times where you get absolutely stuck on a task and will need a break and do something else in order to clear your head, but far too often jobs don’t get completed, or meet the deadline, because of a software developer who is working on multiple items at once instead of focusing on the most crucial item and completing it before moving on to the next. As a programmer, I know it is very easy to be jumping from project to project as different ideas for each randomly pops into your head but, in the grand scheme of things, this keeps projects from ever getting to the point of being complete. Something I suggest doing, and something I have recently implemented myself, is just quickly writing down notes on the ideas you have as they come to you, but keep working on your current project. A saying that rings very true in the programming world is, “It is better to have one complete project, then it is to have ten half complete projects of great ideas.”

Building off of this idea is my next tip for programmers. It does not have to be perfect. As a perfectionist myself, I have realized that if you critique and change every little thing on your website that does not measure up to your standards, you will never have a shortage of work. Just as websites, like Facebook, for example, are constantly making changes to their site, it is perfectly acceptable to launch your work in a near complete state and then fix any bugs that pop up when they happen or make any changes to the site when you have some free time. This being said, it makes it crucial to be able to properly identify the things on your site most vital to make it run at its optimal performance and to complete these tasks first and take care of the minor tasks last. Just because you as a programmer are not completely satisfied with the end result, does not mean that the consumer/customer will think anything less of the end product as long as the main functionality is working.

My next tip sounds like the sayings of a beginner, but ask most experienced programmers, and they will say the same thing, which is to know how to search up your issues on the internet. I remember years ago on my first day at Practicum I asked another programmer what would be his best advice to succeed at the job. His response was, “learn how to Google solutions.” With so many different languages out there and a near infinite amount of various things required to program, it is impossible to know everything off hand, but the ability to both know what to search for, and the ability to read the examples and understand how to implement them into your own code is vitally important. I can almost guarantee you, that every problem you run into, someone else has also encountered the same issue. Use their knowledge and quit wasting your time trying to do it yourself. On top of this bit of advice, I would also add, to learn how to read error messages. Too often people skip over reading what the error message actually tells them and just writes it off as the fact there is an error so now I must fix it. The majority of errors are quite precise in identifying what the actual problem is, and if it still leaves you not knowing, a quick web search of that message usually leads you to a solution.

The next tip I have for other programmers is not to give up. Programmers are constantly failing at what they are doing, and it isn’t very often that they get something right on the initial try. Even experienced programmers run into a problem that will leave them frustrated, on a daily basis. When things get complicated, and there seems to be no solution, make sure you don’t get down on your abilities and keep working at it until completion. It may seem like a waste of time, but think of it as a learning experience for the next time you come upon a similar problem since often you will be encountered with something that you have a vague recollection of doing a couple of years prior and it is this prior experience that will let you breeze through it. Also, remember your actual abilities. I have seen, far too often, a programmer lose all confidence in themselves when they encounter problems they can’t seem to figure out, and they second guess their own abilities. Remember what got you to where you are at in life, and be confident in yourself.

And my final tip would be to try and always stay on top of the technological advancements that are happening. If you are not constantly learning new skills or reading up on new practices or technologies, it won’t take you long to be left behind as web development advances. I recommend finding a few programming blogs and make sure you read what they have to say as well as picking out an area of programming you feel is lacking, and learning a new skill each and every week. A basic knowledge of a wide array of topics can get you far in the industry of today which we like to call web development.

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