4 Simple Ways To Improve Your Developer Skills

Learn

So profound this one.

But I think it is important to remind yourself that you are always on a learning journey throughout life.

The difference is that some people let life decide the lessons you learn rather than making the choice yourself on what to learn

Doing nothing is easy.

There is a saying I’ve heard;

“Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.”

This can apply to all aspects of your life. And I relate this to the journey of learning.

The easy choice is to live with the knowledge that you know and will get you by in your job, your relationships, your life.

But where is your growth?

I believe we owe it to ourselves to try and become the best version of ourselves that we possible can be.

And “doing nothing” is not a task in the life of someone wanting to achieve greatness.

I believe that you should always be learning.

It is the grooming of your mind for further knowledge. It’s to take aspects of your life, more than just your coding abilities and hone them to be as sharp as possible.

And you cannot say there is a shortage of things to learn or shortage of material to learn from, especially these days.

If you DO say there is not a lot to learn then either you are a master of everything, an alien or you haven’t heard of Udemy.

The programming world is evolving in such a fast rate that there is always something new to learn.

New frameworks, new languages, new coding principles.

You can do a deep dive on a certain subject, learning everything there is to know and becoming a master, you can go wide and learn about a lot of different things or pick out something you like the look of and make a little side project with it at the weekends.

It can feel overwhelming at first with the amount of new technologies. The new trends that you are unsure to learn or not because they may be obsolete in a few month’s time.

But it is all about the mindset. If you are going in with “I’m going to learn this new framework so I gets all the monies to buy myself that yacht that I want” then you will be disappointed if you take the time to learn something and it doesn’t take off.

Or, if you think “this looks interesting, I wonder what I can make to showcase my skills, make something that can help people or be able to show off what it is capable of”.

Then you will not be disappointed.

It doesn’t need to be the latest framework everyone is getting the hots for that you learn. It could be as simple as going back to the basics.

I find that going back through material that you have already learnt before as a beginner allows you to absorb things that you may have missed on your first time round, as you see it from a different viewpoint now you have more experience.

So keep on learning.

It is something that you can choose to not bother with but where do you think that will take you in life.

We aren’t in the world where you can download information straight into your brain…yet. Even experts began life as a complete noob but it was their choice to learn that made them who they are today.


Take Action


Make a list of the things that you want to learn or maybe relearn. Choose the one that you have the most interest in and start searching for a learning resource. Start with Google and Youtube. You are sure to find some free resources.


Projects

Are you a follower or a do-er?

Followers are those type of people that coding along to tutorials and the only thing that they have in their portfolios are imitations of courses that they were following.

You certainly can learn via this method however it limits you. When you have been punished for 2 hours the lessons that you learn sure stick with you for longer.

Do-ers are the people that learn a principle and get stuck in the deep end creating something. It could be a massive project. It could be something that you insert into a current project that is in progress. All that matters is that you aren’t coding along and you are figuring it out as you go.

I think tutorials are good for you to learn some complex stuff as the teacher has already spent the time working out how things will connect together and ran into problems and how to solve them.

This however is the kind of thing that you want to be doing yourself.

It allows you to have those ah-ha moments where you truly understand what you are doing.

Try and make a project for something you are interested in.

Make something that will solve a problem that you have.

At the start it might take a while for an idea to come along, but it’s like when you buy a new car you start seeing the same model everywhere.

This is what will happen with projects.

The more that you consciously think about ideas to make the more will pop into your mind at random moments.


Take Action


Start making a list of projects that you can make. It might be something that will help you in life. It could be something that you have been inspired from a video or book that you have read. Ask your family and friends if there is anything in their lives that would help them.
Create a list in a note taking app that you use and start planning your next project to get stuck in!


Mentor

Sensei. Please teach me the way of the warrior coder.

Mentors are the helping hand in those times of need. They are there for those times when clumps of your hair lay next to your keyboard from countless hours trying to fix a bug or implement a new feature.

There are certain problems that Google cannot find you the answer you want.

Instead of giving in and closing your project and turning to work on the other 20 + unfinished projects you have started, you can reach out to your mentor and ask for them to help.

Not only are mentors good for helping on certain parts of your code but they can help with other things. Their experience is the key to what makes a good mentor. Having been in the same position before you, they are able to share insights for their own experience which can help you along your way. From applying for jobs, working with software, general recommendations and working with a team. Getting the right mentor is a sure way of levelling up your skills.

There are websites where you can find yourself a mentor or you could reach out to people in the community and see if they are willing to help you.

Being able to offer something in return to a mentor-to-be is a sure way of sealing the deal for them to help you. It could be money, it could be helping out on a project that they are doing or it might be a skill that you have that could make their life easier.

Editing videos, creating graphics, proof reading articles. All could be useful to a mentor-to-be.

Another tip, don’t harass them!

If they don’t answer your message in 10 minutes. Sending another message every 5 minutes until they answer is just going to make you look like an ass.

Respect the fact that they are willing to help, especially if they are offering their help for free.

And asking questions of your mentor that you can easily find from the top results of a google search is a big no no.

If you do reach out to people for mentorship and they say no, don’t go on the attack. People have lives and you should respect that. Just politely tell them thanks and move on.


Take Action


Start by looking at what areas of your skills you want to improve. Next, find someone that are ahead of you in their journey. Twitter is an awesome place to start as there are some kind people that would be willing to help.

Remember to start with what you can do to add value. Make a list of what you can offer and lead with that!


Teach

Seven hours later, countless stack overflow answers you have managed to combine advice from multiple sources and figure out your bug/feature/project.

That code then reminds hidden from the whole wide world.

Unless you have some super-secret code that will allow you to print money (DM if you do ;) ) why are you keeping that to yourself.

Share it with the world. Soothe others pain by creating a tutorial or article and post it for all to see. This is a perfect way for to share what you have learnt with more people.

There are benefits in teaching.

Firstly, it allows you the opportunity to have a sense of good will, knowing that your hard work will help someone else who is stuck in similar situation that you were in.

Secondary, when you come to teach something you are learning twice. Going through a problem or an idea with the purpose of teaching it will make you go deeper into the why, allowing you to get more clarity to make it as clear and simple as you can.

There are other ways of teaching rather than just one on one. You could make blog posts or Youtube videos. This has the same effect, allow you to take your knowledge and make it accessible to more people.

I have seen people that from their content have got themselves noticed and companies have reached out to offer them a job. This may not happen to everyone but if your goal is just to help one person then you will always be a winner.


Take Action


Learnt something new recently? Had a major breakthrough on a project? Then share! It could be a short 5 minute video. A blog post. Even a social media post. Just collect your thoughts and put it out there!



That’s a wrap!

I hope that you can take away something from the words that I have written, even if it is just the smallest of things.

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