Some time ago, I posted some ideas on Quora about how to become a faster programmer. Since then, many people have left questions and follow up comments.
It seemed to me that I had hit upon an interesting topic and that’s where the idea for this blog post came from. I hope you find this article helpful and it makes your life as a programmer a bit more productive.
What does fast even mean?
When I read the question about how to become a faster programmer, my first reaction was, "What does fast even mean?"?"If you think like I do, "fast" doesn’t have much to do with being a successful programmer. Correct?
The way of a programmer.
So today I don’t want to show you how to be "fast" at any price, but how to become a "great" programmer.
If you are just starting out on your journey as a programmer, I can recommend this blog post here.
There you will get some helpful tips on what the journey from a newbie to a great developer can look like.
Fast vs good vs cheap.
In recent years, I have often seen this triangle to describe web development projects.
Price& Quality of the code play a big role when it comes to speed. And in many software projects shortcuts are taken to be as fast as possible.
Fast and successful.
Today I want to give you some tips on how to become a faster and more successful programmer. It may be quite a roller coaster ride, but you will surely be proud of yourself afterwards.
You don’t spend most of your time programming.
If you look at what programmers do, you’ll find that they spend most of their time doing things other than programming.
Here’s a list of things that take quite a bit of time:
- Reproduce and fix bugs
- Writing experimental code to test ideas
- Googling for problems you’re having
- Running test cases and tests
Practice makes you faster.
There is a paradigm when it comes to programming and that is practice. Practice is everything.
Practice makes you..
- Navigate faster
- Faster at reading
- Faster at articulating your problems&
- When finding solutions
With practice, you become a much faster programmer. Believe me.
A large part of the programming process is spent thinking. And as a programmer you also spend too much time worrying about problems and their solutions.
Working with focus is hugely important if you want to be faster. Emails, Slack, Skype, Facebook, Twitter should be secondary.
All those notifications popping up make it hard to be truly focused.
2.8 seconds and you are gone.
This is the time it takes to get distracted.
Minimizing these distractions is the first step to becoming a faster and better programmer. So manage your distractions well.
Use the right tools.
If you’re anything like me, you probably love trying out new tools and software. There are so many tools for every aspect of the programming process.
And even though this is fantastic, it is also very distracting. And can be very unproductive.
Having an effective tool strategy is unfortunately not that easy. From idea generation to the first prototype and to a fully functional program. In a previous blog post, we shared with you an effective tool set for web development processes that you are welcome to use for more ideas.
You may now be thinking: How can being slow help me become a faster programmer. Isn’t this a conflict?
I don’t find. Let me explain.
Let’s think for a moment about what you’re trying to accomplish:
- As a programmer, you want to be in full possession of your powers.
- Have a clear idea of where you are in your project right now and what you need to do.
- You know when you or the project is going in a wrong direction.
Knowing this, you probably understand what I’m talking about. Being slow and deliberate helps you ultimately stay on track.
Becoming slower can be achieved through these "techniques":
- Enough sleep: Nothing has a bigger impact on your productivity than a healthy sleep schedule
- Change of location: Creativity can be stimulated by a change of location. Leave your office, take a walk, or work from another location (like z. B. a coffee shop).
- Listen: Listening (to other people, podcasts, audiobooks, etc).) not only helps us slow down, but also stimulates creativity.
There are a lot of things (that can help you become a faster programmer) that I haven’t addressed. The most important thing, though, is that you have an understanding that programmers don’t spend most of their time "programming" in a narrow sense.
All in all, there are some interesting discussions here (like on Quora, hacker news, or stackoverflow) about this very topic.
Last, but not least, I’d like to end with Jeff Atwood’s words:
- Stop theorizing.
- Write lots of software.
- Learn from your mistakes.
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