How do programmers improve their coding skills?
“Is a programer’s life stressful?” My sister asked me when she was trying to decide what to do after she finished her schooling.
I flashed back to the many nights I spent swimming in coffee, stress eating, and literally pulling my hair out. If she had asked me then, no doubt about it, my answer would have been, “yes, it’s hell on earth.” But with several years of experience under my belt now, my answer now is, “well, it depends.”
Whether you’re considering programming as a career, or you’re already burning the midnight oil trying to break into the field, here are a few tips on how to code more and worry less.
4 Tips for Programers: 1. The Dreaded Deadline
Deadline. It’s probably the most uttered, yet the most hated word in the programming world. You hate it, but you also hate knowing that probably no task would be completed without it. You may delay or even drop a task or two along the way without deadlines. But there’s no denying that it’s a source of worry and pressure no one enjoys.
So, the question becomes how can you meet deadlines without stressing out?
Estimate time needed
It’s important to know first how to manage deadlines. In most cases, you don’t make the deadline decision, especially if you’re part of a team or company. Before accepting any task, you should estimate the time you need for it.
If the task is complicated or part of a multi-tier project, divide it into simple tasks and estimate the time needed for each one, then forward this chart to your superior or client. That will show them that you know what you’re doing and how to do it.
Just say no
Many freelance programers have high expectations of their ability to deliver tasks on time. They see a project, have a vague idea about how to deliver it and underestimate how long it takes, and don’t account for how much work may be needed to correct course should things not go so smoothly. Then, they end up biting a lot more than they can chew and nd end up, as in my flashbacks, at three in the morning before the deadline staring at a screening drinking their fifth coffee and munching down a big mac. Don’t be that person.
You should learn to say no more often.
Before agreeing to a deadline think, map your plan, and estimate the time you need and the time you have available. Only then, decide whether or not to accept the task.
Adjust and adapt
Finally, if you cannot meet your deadline for any reason, be calm and tell your superior you need more time. Never wait until the last moment to send an email that you won’t be able to deliver the work on time.
To maintain your mental health, it’s important to separate your work and your personal life. These days, more so than ever because of the pandemic, many programers work from home, so it’s harder to manage time well.
Not having a specific place or time for work, can make work quickly bleed into every nook and cranny in your life, pushing everything else to the sidelines. Below are some tips for separating your personal and professional lives.
Start and stop work on time
Setting time for your work, helps you to separate your work and personal time. If you decide to work from 9 am to 5 pm, at 4.59 pm click save, close the window, power off, and STEP AWAY FROM THE LAPTOP!
Working from home also means you don’t get weekends, vacations, or sick days by default. You have to plan them.
Give yourself one or two free days a week, so you can take a rest and recharge.
Don’t force yourself to work while on family vacations or during holidays, the work will still be there when you return.
And keep in my mind, just because you can work, doesn’t mean you should.
Leave work in the office
When you finish your work hours, leave your office. It is important to separate the place for work and for everything else. Try to stop thinking of the work outside your office, your work can wait for you to finish it tomorrow.
Separate your social media and your emails accounts
For example, you use Facebook to communicate with your friends and family and use LinkedIn for communicating with your colleagues.
Separate work and personal emails prevent you from receiving an email from your work in your free time.
Having friends outside your circle of work is important for your mental health. Your life shouldn’t be absorbed by work, you should spend time with your friends as well. That will make your life more interesting.
Every day, make time for your family — talk to them, do fun activities with them, and go outside together.
Find activities and interests outside your field
Don’t let your work be the only thing you’re interested in. Try to maintain an interesting activity to refresh your mind, such as reading, writing, cooking, or doing your favorite sport.
Let your mind take some time off work, you never want to see code bugs in your dreams!
4 Tips for Programers: 3. A Rapidly Changing World
The technological world is changing rapidly and it is important to learn how to adapt and keep learning. A programming career is not routine work, where you do the same thing every day.
It’s an adventurous life. If you don’t like sudden changes, you won’t adapt to this career and you’ll get stressed. As a programer, you need to have the ability to continuously learn new programming languages, new concepts, new frameworks, and new tools. Every day set a time in your schedule to learn new things.
4 Tips for Programers: 4. Competition
The number of programers is growing rapidly. Competition in the marketplace is extremely high. The market demands highly qualified programers, which sometimes makes it seem like you’ll never be able to catch up.
Just keep learning and improving your programming skills, and stop comparing yourself with others.
Remember, maintaining good mental health will make you more productive.