10 Ways to Improve as a Software Developer

Andy Charters
.
August 18, 2023
Programming Tips

Are you a beginner software developer looking for new ways to improve your development skills? Have you been in the development game for a while but are merely exploring how you can grow as a coder? If you've answered yes to any of these questions, then you've come to just the right place. In this article, we'll be exploring ten different conventional and unconventional ways for you to improve yourself as a developer and hone your software development skills. This way, you can be the best you've ever been.

  1. Read books

One of the most effective ways of sharpening your software development skills is by continuous study. There are thousands of books and resources written by some of the smartest developers the world has to offer, and all you need to do is study the material. These kinds of books can teach you everything you need to know about every aspect of software development. They can also help you discover some new tips and tricks you may not have previously been aware of.

It is important to note that books are a great way to get some in-depth knowledge of software development; however, they may not be as effective if you do not know what to learn first. This is why it is crucial to have some direction first. Once you have that, you can find books that can educate you on the topic. An excellent book suggestion is the Clean Code by Robert C. Martin.

  1. Have your code reviewed

Getting your code reviewed can really help you improve your skills as a software developer. It presents you with an opportunity to learn and discover places you can make improvements. To get your code reviewed, it is best to approach someone very skilled in the field and has been a developer much longer than you.

Ask this person to be as detailed and descriptive as possible when they review your code, but you might want to prepare yourself for some painful feedback. If you get this, don't be discouraged, as it is all part of the growth process.

If you do not have anyone you can approach to review your code, you can alternatively contribute to open source projects, and your code can be reviewed there. The kind of feedback you get from here usually directs you to new techniques and skills you should develop, which you can then learn from books.

  1. Record a journal

Keeping a journal may not seem like the most conventional way to improve your software development skills, but it is to your benefit. In your journal, you can write down the difficulties you face with your coding, what you learn from them, and how you overcame these challenges.

To do this, you may have to keep two journals. Ideally, the first journal should record what you're working on every hour of the day. In this journal, you can also put down any notes you made while working or any ideas you had during the day. Doing this puts your work into perspective, as it helps you compare what you wanted to achieve versus what you actually achieved.

For your second journal, you can put down all the things you've learned about software development since you started. This journal can be updated regularly to reflect all the new things you learn as you go along. It can also serve as a reminder for you anytime you forget something important you've learned in the past.

  1. Study the original code of great projects

As a developer, you probably have projects you admire that was executed by someone else. To develop your skills, you can study these kinds of 'gold-standard' projects. You can select an open-source project in a field that you like and analyze every aspect and detail.

There are many great projects out there that you can learn from, and all you need to do is browse GitHub or Bitbucket to discover them. Reading projects like these can teach you many things, especially if the project is in an area you are interested in. Besides, reading great quality code can even inspire you to try out new methods or experiments in your work, helping you become a better coder.

  1. Work on side projects

Sometimes, the work you do at your day job may not push you enough to grow as a developer. This is why taking on side projects is often encouraged by young developers looking to improve their skills.

Side projects are an excellent way to sharpen your methods and bring you across problems that you ordinarily may not encounter at work. Any side project you work on doesn't need to be complicated or take a significant amount of your time daily. It can simply be a small and fun piece of work for you to explore, but you would be learning new things in the process.

Besides, you can decide to open-source your side projects, and this can be an opportunity for you to grow your portfolio.

  1. Learn a new language

This may sound confusing, but learning a new programming language can help you become a better programmer. This can help you expand your scope of knowledge, which then develops your skills. It is advisable to learn a language that differs in paradigm from the one you mostly use. For example, if you program in JavaScript, you can learn Haskell as they are quite different. A good way to start learning a new language is by attending one-day conference workshops.

  1. Find a mentor

You can learn from someone who is more experienced than you in software development. Doing this is an effective way to pick up new skills, discover new ways to tackle challenges, and grow as an overall developer. It is proven that working alongside smart people can help you work smarter yourself, so why not have a specific person who acts as a mentor to you and who you can ask for advice?

Alternatively, your mentor doesn't need to be someone you know directly. You can also have a virtual mentor. For example, it could be the host of a podcast you enjoy listening to, who is very talented, or an author of a book you read often. The point is, your mentor can be someone you have a personal relationship with or someone who inspires you with their work.

  1. Listen to podcasts and read post mortems

It may come as a surprise to you, but there are various high-quality software development platforms out there that you can listen to. This is a handy (and cheap) way for you to learn about new things and stay updated on your industry's most recent developments. The best thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them anywhere, whether you're commuting to work or preparing lunch.

Another resource that you can explore is post mortems. There are many software project war stories on the internet and in books for you to read. These post mortems can enlighten you and educate you on ways to improve your work. Not to mention, they are very entertaining to read.

  1. Start a craftsmanship guild

You can start a craftsmanship guild as a way to grow as a developer. A software development craftsmanship guild is a group of people with common interests (in this case, software development) that meet regularly.

Usually, the group meets to discuss specific subject matters or have presentations. You can start your guild with some of your team members or co-workers at work, and you all can meet to discuss discoveries, challenges, problems, or cool new stuff you've encountered while working. This way, everyone is learning and teaching each other, which can promote collective growth.

  1. Engage yourself

You can pick a couple of things on this list to do simultaneously and religiously to engage yourself. This can help you immerse yourself in a particular subject you want to learn. For example, you can listen to podcasts on your way to and from work, work on a side project outside of your working hours, and have a supervisor or co-worker review your code for you.

While engaging yourself is great, it is also important to make sure that you don't overdo it, as this can cause you to breakdown and leave you in a state of fatigue. Learning and improving is important as a software developer, but so is pacing yourself.

Conclusion

To truly become a great developer, you need to be ready to invest your time, energy, and resources into your craft. Besides, Improvement in any sense of the word doesn't happen instantly, so while these ten helpful tips can put you along the road of growing as a developer, you need always to remember to be patient.

It is also important to not get lost in yourself, so it is often encouraged to request reviews and feedback on your code from other developers. The software development community is vast and ever willing to teach you new things, so you have to be open to learning, and soon, you'll see the improvements.

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Front-End Developer

Cloud Employee, is a UK-owned Philippines business established 8 years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent in the Philippines with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines as part of international engineer teams and grow their CV and skill-set.

We pride ourselves on being supportive and cutting-edge work that continuously invests in staff development, engagement and well-being. We provide security, and career paths, along with individual training programs and mentoring.

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Front End React Developer

Cloud Employee is a fast-growing UK-managed offshore recruitment and staffing company in the Philippines. We tackle the growing global IT skills shortage by connecting tech companies based in Europe, the US, and Australia to our pool of expert software developers in the country.

We are now seeking a passionate Front End React Developer to join our team of skilled talents. This is an excellent opportunity to join a fun and dynamic work environment and to significantly advance your career.

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Frontend Developer (NextJS and React)

Cloud Employee, is a UK-owned Philippines business established 8 years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent in the Philippines with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines as part of international engineer teams and grow their CV and skill-set.

We pride ourselves on being supportive and cutting-edge work that continuously invests in staff development, engagement and well-being. We provide security, and career paths, along with individual training programs and mentoring.

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Frontend Developer (Senior)

Cloud Employee, is a UK-owned Philippines business established 8 years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent in the Philippines with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines as part of international engineer teams and grow their CV and skill-set.

We pride ourselves on being supportive and cutting-edge work that continuously invests in staff development, engagement and well-being. We provide security, and career paths, along with individual training programs and mentoring.

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Seasonal
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Frontend React Developer

Cloud Employee, is a UK-owned Philippines business established 8 years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent in the Philippines with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines as part of international engineer teams and grow their CV and skill-set.

We pride ourselves on being supportive and cutting-edge work that continuously invests in staff development, engagement and well-being. We provide security, and career paths, along with individual training programs and mentoring.

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Full-Stack Developer

Cloud Employee is a fast-growing UK-managed offshore recruitment and staffing company in the Philippines. We tackle the growing global IT skills shortage by connecting tech companies based in Europe, the US, and Australia to our pool of expert software developers in the country.

We are now seeking a passionate Full-Stack Developer to join our team of skilled talents. This is an excellent opportunity to join a fun and dynamic work environment and to significantly advance your career.

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Full-Stack Laravel/Vue Developer (Jr to Mid)

Cloud Employee, is a UK-owned Philippines business established 8 years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent in the Philippines with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines as part of international engineer teams and grow their CV and skill-set.

We pride ourselves on being supportive and cutting-edge work that continuously invests in staff development, engagement and well-being. We provide security, and career paths, along with individual training programs and mentoring.

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Full Stack .Net Developer

Cloud Employee, is a UK-owned Philippines business established 8 years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent in the Philippines with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines as part of international engineering teams and grow their CV and skill-set.We pride ourselves on being a supportive and cutting-edge workplace that continuously invests in staff development, engagement, and well-being. We provide security, and career paths, along with individual training programs and mentoring.

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Full-Stack Node/VueJS Developer (Mid - Senior)

Cloud Employee, is a UK-owned Philippines business established 8 years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent in the Philippines with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines as part of international engineer teams and grow their CV and skill-set.

We pride ourselves on being supportive and cutting-edge work that continuously invests in staff development, engagement and well-being. We provide security, and career paths, along with individual training programs and mentoring

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Full-Stack PHP Developer (Mid to Senior)

Cloud Employee is a fast-growing UK-managed offshore recruitment and staffing company in the Philippines. We tackle the growing global IT skills shortage by connecting tech companies based in Europe, the US, and Australia to our pool of expert software developers in the country.

We are now seeking passionate mid to senior-level Fullstack PHP Developer to join our team of skilled talents. This is an excellent opportunity to join a fun and dynamic work environment and to significantly advance your career.

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Full-Stack PHP Developer Tech Lead

Cloud Employee is a fast-growing UK-managed offshore recruitment and staffing company in the Philippines. We tackle the growing global IT skills shortage by connecting tech companies based in Europe, the US, and Australia to our pool of expert software developers in the country.

We are now seeking passionate Lead Full-Stack PHP Developer to join our team of skilled talents. This is an excellent opportunity to join a fun and dynamic work environment and to significantly advance your career.

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Full stack RoR/VueJS Developer

Cloud Employee, is a UK-owned Philippines business established 8 years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent in the Philippines with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines as part of international engineer teams and grow their CV and skill-set.

We pride ourselves on being supportive and cutting-edge work that continuously invests in staff development, engagement and well-being. We provide security, and career paths, along with individual training programs and mentoring.

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Fullstack Developer

Cloud Employee, is a UK-owned Philippines business established 8 years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent in the Philippines with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines as part of international engineer teams and grow their CV and skill-set.

We pride ourselves on being supportive and cutting-edge work that continuously invests in staff development, engagement and well-being. We provide security, and career paths, along with individual training programs and mentoring.

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Fullstack .NET Developer

Cloud Employee, is a UK-owned Philippines business established 8 years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent in the Philippines with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines as part of international engineer teams and grow their CV and skill-set.

We pride ourselves on being supportive and cutting-edge work that continuously invests in staff development, engagement and well-being. We provide security, and career paths, along with individual training programs and mentoring.

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Lead/Senior Frontend Developer (UI/UX) - Brazil

Cloud Employee is a UK-owned business established eight years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent worldwide with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines and Brazil as part of international engineering teams and grow their CV and skill-set.

We pride ourselves on being a supportive and cutting edge workplace that continuously invests in staff development, engagement, and well-being. We provide security, career paths, individual training programs, and mentoring.

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Marketing Specialists

Cloud Employee, is a UK-owned Philippines business established 8 years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent in the Philippines with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines as part of international engineer teams and grow their CV and skill-set.

We pride ourselves on being supportive and cutting-edge work that continuously invests in staff development, engagement and well-being. We provide security, and career paths, along with individual training programs and mentoring.

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Backend Developer (Python)

Cloud Employee, is a UK-owned Philippines business established 8 years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent in the Philippines with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines as part of international engineer teams and grow their CV and skill-set.

We pride ourselves on being supportive and cutting-edge work that continuously invests in staff development, engagement and well-being. We provide security, and career paths, along with individual training programs and mentoring.

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Senior Full-Stack PHP Developer

Cloud Employee is a UK-owned Philippines business established 8 years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent in the Philippines with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines as part of international engineering teams and grow their CV and skill-set.

We pride ourselves on being a supportive and cutting-edge workplace that continuously invests in staff development, engagement, and well-being. We provide security, and career paths, along with individual training programs and mentoring.

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January 2, 2024
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10 Ways to Improve as a Software Developer

February 16, 2024

Are you a beginner software developer looking for new ways to improve your development skills? Have you been in the development game for a while but are merely exploring how you can grow as a coder? If you've answered yes to any of these questions, then you've come to just the right place. In this article, we'll be exploring ten different conventional and unconventional ways for you to improve yourself as a developer and hone your software development skills. This way, you can be the best you've ever been.

  1. Read books

One of the most effective ways of sharpening your software development skills is by continuous study. There are thousands of books and resources written by some of the smartest developers the world has to offer, and all you need to do is study the material. These kinds of books can teach you everything you need to know about every aspect of software development. They can also help you discover some new tips and tricks you may not have previously been aware of.

It is important to note that books are a great way to get some in-depth knowledge of software development; however, they may not be as effective if you do not know what to learn first. This is why it is crucial to have some direction first. Once you have that, you can find books that can educate you on the topic. An excellent book suggestion is the Clean Code by Robert C. Martin.

  1. Have your code reviewed

Getting your code reviewed can really help you improve your skills as a software developer. It presents you with an opportunity to learn and discover places you can make improvements. To get your code reviewed, it is best to approach someone very skilled in the field and has been a developer much longer than you.

Ask this person to be as detailed and descriptive as possible when they review your code, but you might want to prepare yourself for some painful feedback. If you get this, don't be discouraged, as it is all part of the growth process.

If you do not have anyone you can approach to review your code, you can alternatively contribute to open source projects, and your code can be reviewed there. The kind of feedback you get from here usually directs you to new techniques and skills you should develop, which you can then learn from books.

  1. Record a journal

Keeping a journal may not seem like the most conventional way to improve your software development skills, but it is to your benefit. In your journal, you can write down the difficulties you face with your coding, what you learn from them, and how you overcame these challenges.

To do this, you may have to keep two journals. Ideally, the first journal should record what you're working on every hour of the day. In this journal, you can also put down any notes you made while working or any ideas you had during the day. Doing this puts your work into perspective, as it helps you compare what you wanted to achieve versus what you actually achieved.

For your second journal, you can put down all the things you've learned about software development since you started. This journal can be updated regularly to reflect all the new things you learn as you go along. It can also serve as a reminder for you anytime you forget something important you've learned in the past.

  1. Study the original code of great projects

As a developer, you probably have projects you admire that was executed by someone else. To develop your skills, you can study these kinds of 'gold-standard' projects. You can select an open-source project in a field that you like and analyze every aspect and detail.

There are many great projects out there that you can learn from, and all you need to do is browse GitHub or Bitbucket to discover them. Reading projects like these can teach you many things, especially if the project is in an area you are interested in. Besides, reading great quality code can even inspire you to try out new methods or experiments in your work, helping you become a better coder.

  1. Work on side projects

Sometimes, the work you do at your day job may not push you enough to grow as a developer. This is why taking on side projects is often encouraged by young developers looking to improve their skills.

Side projects are an excellent way to sharpen your methods and bring you across problems that you ordinarily may not encounter at work. Any side project you work on doesn't need to be complicated or take a significant amount of your time daily. It can simply be a small and fun piece of work for you to explore, but you would be learning new things in the process.

Besides, you can decide to open-source your side projects, and this can be an opportunity for you to grow your portfolio.

  1. Learn a new language

This may sound confusing, but learning a new programming language can help you become a better programmer. This can help you expand your scope of knowledge, which then develops your skills. It is advisable to learn a language that differs in paradigm from the one you mostly use. For example, if you program in JavaScript, you can learn Haskell as they are quite different. A good way to start learning a new language is by attending one-day conference workshops.

  1. Find a mentor

You can learn from someone who is more experienced than you in software development. Doing this is an effective way to pick up new skills, discover new ways to tackle challenges, and grow as an overall developer. It is proven that working alongside smart people can help you work smarter yourself, so why not have a specific person who acts as a mentor to you and who you can ask for advice?

Alternatively, your mentor doesn't need to be someone you know directly. You can also have a virtual mentor. For example, it could be the host of a podcast you enjoy listening to, who is very talented, or an author of a book you read often. The point is, your mentor can be someone you have a personal relationship with or someone who inspires you with their work.

  1. Listen to podcasts and read post mortems

It may come as a surprise to you, but there are various high-quality software development platforms out there that you can listen to. This is a handy (and cheap) way for you to learn about new things and stay updated on your industry's most recent developments. The best thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them anywhere, whether you're commuting to work or preparing lunch.

Another resource that you can explore is post mortems. There are many software project war stories on the internet and in books for you to read. These post mortems can enlighten you and educate you on ways to improve your work. Not to mention, they are very entertaining to read.

  1. Start a craftsmanship guild

You can start a craftsmanship guild as a way to grow as a developer. A software development craftsmanship guild is a group of people with common interests (in this case, software development) that meet regularly.

Usually, the group meets to discuss specific subject matters or have presentations. You can start your guild with some of your team members or co-workers at work, and you all can meet to discuss discoveries, challenges, problems, or cool new stuff you've encountered while working. This way, everyone is learning and teaching each other, which can promote collective growth.

  1. Engage yourself

You can pick a couple of things on this list to do simultaneously and religiously to engage yourself. This can help you immerse yourself in a particular subject you want to learn. For example, you can listen to podcasts on your way to and from work, work on a side project outside of your working hours, and have a supervisor or co-worker review your code for you.

While engaging yourself is great, it is also important to make sure that you don't overdo it, as this can cause you to breakdown and leave you in a state of fatigue. Learning and improving is important as a software developer, but so is pacing yourself.

Conclusion

To truly become a great developer, you need to be ready to invest your time, energy, and resources into your craft. Besides, Improvement in any sense of the word doesn't happen instantly, so while these ten helpful tips can put you along the road of growing as a developer, you need always to remember to be patient.

It is also important to not get lost in yourself, so it is often encouraged to request reviews and feedback on your code from other developers. The software development community is vast and ever willing to teach you new things, so you have to be open to learning, and soon, you'll see the improvements.

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