I'm a web developer. And I consider myself a good one. However, I always want to become better.
If you're reading this article, the chances are - you want to improve too.
Well, you're in damn luck, because 5 minutes from now, you'll know exactly how to do that. And you'll know what habits to adopt if you want to become a better developer.
So without wasting any of your time, let's start with the first habit.
Be Willing to Adapt
This article will contain a lot of tips and tricks. But before we dive into all of them, there is one thing you need to do - one perspective you need to change. One would describe it as the most important habit of them all.
You need to be able to adapt, and if you're not willing to do it, you might as well stop reading this article.
Seriously, your time can be spent much better, like writing on forums why jQuery is still a valid option in 2022.
On the other hand, if you're serious about your career, and if you really want to become a better developer, you need to accept one thing - times are changing, and so should we.
As my favorite character from Matrix would say: "Free Your Mind!".
What was a good solution to a problem years ago, might not be relevant nowadays.
The technology industry is evolving quicker than the love between 2 teenagers. And that leaves us with 2 options.
We can either adapt, and learn new ways of doing things, or we can become haters of everything that's brand new. The choice is entirely yours!
Never Stop Learning
If you decided to take your career seriously, and you want to learn and grow. You have endless options to learn from. You can either use free resources, or a paid ones.
I watch a lot of Youtube tutorials myself. But when I want to learn a complicated topic, I prefer to purchase a well structured course.
My favorite video platforms to learn from are:
I purchased a lot of Udemy courses in the past. But lately I really enjoy learning on the Skillshare platform. It contains a lot of courses about programming, and on top of that, I have the access to to all the other courses about writing, communication, productivity, and the list just goes on.
But maybe you prefer to read instead of watching videos, and I understand that. I have an excellent option for you as well. It's called Educative.
Educative provides text-based courses with embedded coding environments. It helps you learn without the fluff.
It's very difficult to learn, and it's really difficult to improve if you're constantly disturbed.
Our minds and attention are constantly disturbed as we go about our day. And the disturbance comes in various shapes and forms.
It can be your mother vacuum cleaning when you're trying to study. Your neighbor playing on bagpipes when you're coding. Or an annoying fly that is somehow invisible, but you can still hear it flying around you.
It doesn't end there! Our attention is constantly challenged.
The annoying ad popping up, the multitasking, the constant switching between multiple windows, trash on your workplace, your phone.
Every single thing that I mentioned drains our attention until there is nothing left, and you need to go to sleep.
So what can we do about it?
Keep our distractions to a minimum. And focus on the task at hand.
I'm not saying you should yell at your mother or neighbors. I'm saying to organize the things that are under your control.
Clean your room, organize your workspace, close those gazillion opened tabs (like you're gonna open them again someday).
Trust me, you'll notice an immediate improvement in your productivity and the overall quality of your work.
Share Your Knowledge
It's important to learn, but it's also important to spread the knowledge.
By sharing what you know, you're helping someone else. But in addition, you're helping yourself. By putting yourself out there, you're receiving immidiate feedback about your progress.
If you do something right, people will give you credit for it. And if you do something wrong, people will warn you about it.
If you're feeling discouraged, or scared of writing. It's actually easy to learn. And again, you can use Skillshare to do so.
Most of developers (including myself) prefer to write technical blogs and personal stories. There is a plenty of options you can choose from.
You can also start your own blog, like I did.
I tried all of the platforms mentioned above. And by far, Medium is my favourite.
You get the access to huge library of articles. And on top of that, you can earn money for every member that read your article.
My Medium Earnings
As you can see, I was earning a couple of dollars each month on Medium. But as my writing skills improved, I started earning decent money. And I only write 1 article per week.
You can become a Medium member by clicking the link below.
Focus On Yourself
As I already stated earlier, the technology industry is moving forward at a rapid pace. New frameworks are developed on a daily basis. And as you might guess, the creators want us to use them. On top of that, they encourage influential people to spread the word about their product.
He uses that brand new framework, she uses that awesome styling library. It's very easy to get our attention drawn to something shiny and brand new, but it's not what you should do all year long.
Let me ask you a question!
If you spend all your year researching new things and comparing them to your current solution, how do you expect to actually get something done?
Of course, you should take some time and explore new things, look at what the technology has to offer. But does it mean you should take your entire codebase and switch it just because someone told you?
The answer is no!
You should always use technologies you feel comfortable with. And most importantly, you enjoy working with.
And lastly, if you start considering the switch, always do your own due diligence. Don't just take someone else's word for it.
No matter if you're working alone, or if you're part of a small team, or a big organization.
You should always have a goal, and you should always have a plan on how to achieve it.
The ship has its course, the airplane has a final destination, every single thing is moving towards a certain something. And that certain "something" is always strictly defined.
If you don't have your goal defined, what exactly are you doing, what exactly are you moving towards?
A good project plan with a corresponding timeline will give you a good overview of what you're trying to do. And how you're gonna achieve it.
You'll know exactly where you are. You'll know exactly what you need to do. But most importantly, you'll know what to do next in order to make it to the finish line (and hopefully, you won't end up like the lady in the image above).
If you want to become a good pirate of development, you should always have a clear goal in mind. And steps on how you're gonna achieve it.
Always have a project goal, project milestones, and project timeline.
Celebrate Small Victories
If you were paying attention to the last piece of advice, you should know how to plan a project.
If you weren't, let me recap quickly. The last piece of advice was to always have a project goal, project milestones, and a project timeline.
When you have those defined, and when you achieve them, it's time to celebrate!
Now, does it mean you should throw a Project-X party each time you finish a new feature or fix the annoying bug? If you feel like you achieved something big, then sure.
However, I had something different in mind. What I'm saying is the following.
You should learn to celebrate small victories. And you should learn to enjoy them.
If you're working alone, grab yourself a beer. If you're working in a team, go for a good meal together.
If you don't learn to take small wins, and if you won't learn to treat yourself when you achieve them. Your enthusiasm and willingness to work may slowly fade out.
Learn to Take a Break
I know that sometimes when you code, you feel like a god. You believe that nothing can stop you, that you're more powerful than superman on steroids.
But let me tell you one thing! As it's mentioned in the Bible, even God rested after he created the world.
So what exactly is stopping you? Why you can't take a break?
This habit is so important to me, I came up with a quote for the purpose of this article.
If you're doing anything, you're only as good as your ability to take a break.
There is nothing wrong with taking a break and recharging batteries. In fact, taking small breaks leads to better performance and productivity. And this is backed by numerous studies.
If your butt is starting to feel a bit crampy, if you're just endlessly staring at a screen, thinking that it will somehow solve the bug you're facing. Your eyes are starting to swell. These are all the signs you should take a break.
I know it's hard to leave unfinished work and just switch attention to something else - I've been there. But it's really important to do that in order to avoid burnout.
Build Good Relationships
You might be the smartest person on earth or the best developer in the world. But I think there is one thing that is much more important.
I think you're only as good as the environment you're working in. And I believe that your work environment and the relationships within highly affect your performance.
When I say work environment, I don't mean if your office has a ping pong table or a coffee machine.
I'm thinking about relationships.
I'm talking about relationships with your coworkers, maybe your boss. Or maybe it's the connection with your clients.
If you want to thrive as a developer and deliver the work that satisfies them, you need to build those.
You need to understand what problems are your clients facing, what industry are they facing. And what problem are you trying to solve in that specific industry?
Going this extra mile will show that you really care about the final result of the product you're developing. And it will also result in a great experience for everyone you're working with.
I hope that the bits of advice I mentioned here makes sense to you.
I really hope you'll give them a try.
I truly believe it's a good first step on a path to becoming better at your craft. However, it's not the most important one.
The most important thing is to adopt these pieces of advice and make a habit out of them.
Motivation is temporary, but discipline is permanent.
I mentioned quite a bit of quotes in this article. And I promise this will be the last one, and it will also be the end of this article.
"Stay hungry, stay foolish, never settle!" - Steve Jobs