If you're looking to improve as a developer, you should consider taking notes to help solidify your understanding of new and challenging material. In any other field, we expect that professionals are focused on constant improvement. However in software development, it is often considered unnecessary to take notes.
There are three primary types of coding notes that you will want to be taking. Depending on your experience, you'll lean towards one in particular.
However, it's best to get in the habit of writing notes for all the note types!
1) Some code syntax that you have trouble remembering, or have learned for the first time.
2) A new concept that you learned.
3) An error message that took you more than a simple google search to solve.
While each note type is good for learning, there is a hidden power in capturing all three. When you do, you stop relying on your brain as the "Single Source of Truth" for your coding knowledge.
Imagine if I asked you for how you solved a tricky exception from a year ago. You likely wouldn't remember it. Even if you did, you probably don't remember the hours of exploring you did to come to that solution. Developers solve dozens of problems per day. The human brain isn't suited for remembering this data.
When you capture coding notes, you are able to let yourself forget.
The human brain is horrible at multi-tasking. When developing, your main goal is to keep focused on your code. By taking these notes, you follow a simple pattern of:
- Get stuck
- Find solution
- Record it
- Move on
There's no anxiety over if it's fully memorized, or even if you fully understand it. You have confidence that anything tricky is fully accessible whenever you need it. Having that promise improves the developer experience when you're working on a project.
If the ability to keep the code you're working on as the primary focus sounds good to you, check out my full post on the subject, which includes examples of notes and a detailed guide to implementing code notes into your workflow: