Inpsired by the article 19 teeny-tiny resolutions for a happier 2019, I wanted to go through a list of some awesome small things you can do as a developer to be a better developer. This isn't a list of algorithms to learn, technology to tackle, etc. it's a list of things that hopefully won't take a huge amount of time but will help a good deal.
1. Take the FreeCodeCamp Accessibility Course
Accessibility is a HUGE deal. It's also pretty hot in the development community and a pretty big deal if you know what you're talking about. Not only that, but the course itself is pretty fast and won't change too much in regards to what you do, it'll just help you focus on using the correct HTML markup, teach you about new HTML markup for accessibility (I had no idea
accesskey was a thing!), and overall, make you more aware of issues in regards to accessibility.
When we leave jobs, it's sometimes very easy to simply move on completely from the people we've worked with, the environment there, and so on. But, I found it very instructive and helpful to catch-up with people I used to work with.
Aside from a fun social call (that I still highly recommend), keeping connections is pretty big for one's career. You never know when you'll be looking for new work or when you'll be looking for someone you know and trust to join your company.
Bonus points: that ex-colleague doesn't need to be a developer!
Get some compressed air and blow all that junk out! Get a cotton swap and some alcohol, wipe down those keys. Or just look up how to do it. That keyboard probably needed some cleaning for quite a while.
This may sound strange but I find it pretty important to listen to why people want to use one platform over another. I'm a Windows user but I've heavily used both Linux (Ubuntu + Arch) as well as MacOS. Knowing why users prefer one over another can also help empathize with your users and other developers.
Try this with web browsers as well if you've got the time. Why does someone use IE Edge? Or Firefox? Or why do people stick with Chrome?
Documentation tries to teach, and articles tend to either instruct (as in teach) or argue why you should use a technology. But if you want to get a glimpse of how the technology works, what it's used for, or how people write code using that tech, check out a talk.
Check out the Programming Talks repo for the cream of the crop
In fact, learn more about how your health is impacted by the work you do. A few years back, I developed a pain in my wrists and forearms because I was using a keyboard that didn't work for me. At some point, it forced me to take breaks from work because my arms just hurt too much.
If you found yourself having back pains, wrist pains, or other pains after working, you might want to check out ways to improve your working environment into a healthier environment.
Learning all of an editor's power-user feature-set is really unreasonable but learning feature can help more than you'd expect.
I'm a VS Code user and one feature that I've learned about is that when I press
Ctrl+F2 (on Windows) over a variable, I can edit the variable's name across all of its occurrences. I used to use Find & Replace which isn't precise enough and you can't just find/replace all occurrences.
There, if you have VS Code, you've already fulfilled this one.
I lied earlier. This is one technology I'd like to get you to learn. At least, if you're a web developer of any kind at least. Once you get the hang of it (and it won't take too long!), you'll find yourself using it everywhere.
I recently started prototyping a redesign for my site and flexbox + grid made that experience so much better. Here's the ever-changing result if you're interested.
I'm dropping some links here for you:
Grid Garden - a pretty easy way to test out and learn CSS grid. Though, it does lack one of the most important features of CSS grid called
- I made a couple of videos on CSS grid should you want to check them out. There's CSS Grids for Responsive Blog-Site Layouts and Basic Introduction To CSS Grids
- Flexbox Froggy - made by the same people as Grid Garden, Flexbox Froggy is another tool to learn and test out flexbox in a very fun way
Doesn't matter what language of choice you use, go publish a package! If there is code that you tend to copy/paste between projects, no matter how small or simple, go make a package, publish it on your platform of choice, and start using it.