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Grant Watson
Grant Watson

Posted on

Tips for becoming a better developer

Everyone wants to be better

Literally everyone wants to be better at something. And I believe wholeheartedly that individuals in the development and engineering world take this to the next level. Our interests, at least mine is, I so want to play with this new framework, or go over that particular language. I see myself getting intrigued by different platforms/frameworks/languages and how those items offer up a solution to a problem that I may have. I wanted to share a few of my tips that I have used and continue to use to better my skills on a daily basis.

Plan

Let's take an example of what I am currently doing. With the most current version of React being 16.9.0, there are some new and updated features that I want to get my hands on. Two of those features are the Context and Hook features. I typically will plan time that I will set aside, either on a daily or weekly basis, time that I will read the updated documentation, and time to experiment.

Consider personal development planning the same as that for sprint planning: You have a backlog of items that you wish to update your current code base in your brain, and which items take top priority in the next sprint, and which ones can wait till the next. Sprint planning for your own development is as vital as it in the workplace.

Experiment

I adore experimenting with new code bases, frameworks, and languages. I tend to experiment before I fully read the documentation so I can see what trouble I can get into. But that is the point is it not? As I development at work, I try to limit the amount of mistakes I make, well because I try not to intentionally mess up at work, or send a bug into any environment. But on a personal level, breaking things and making mistakes make it that much easier to not make them while at work. Experimenting with any new code base allows for the individual to learn and grow.

Read more

When it comes to reading, I have a difficult time picking just one book to read at a time. I am typically cycling through 3 or 4 books at any given time. And that may be between reference books and pleasure reading books. But, I find that reading more helps with my understanding on current topics in our field. It can be physical books that you read, or digital(Hey, reading this right??) for personal growth. I try to set at minimum 3 hours a week to devote to reading something new. I typically always go over that amount, but my planning allots for 3 hours minimum.

Team more

Silos are cool to look at, especially when you are driving through Kansas, and it's literally all that you, with the occasional house and windmill. I know I have to remember, ON A REGULAR BASIS, that I am not a silo developer working on a project. There a quite a few members on my team, and I have at least 4 individuals that I can go to on a regular basis to bounce ideas off of. There is a tremendous amount of collective knowledge on my team, and it would be truly a shame to not utilize that knowledge when I run into a road block of some sort. Just look at the gigantic popularity of StackOverflow. People sharing knowledge. As much as it may hurt your ego to ask for help, this is why companies hire multiple developers, to help one another.

These are just a few that I feel the most important. And I may make this into a series. Thanks for reading!

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