If you are reading this, then you are probably pretty new to coding. Whether you are learning on your own, or recently finished some type of school (college, bootcamp or some other program) there is one thing we have in common: we learned a new skill but are not that good at it yet.
I am currently in my last week of a full stack software engineering bootcamp, working on my final project. And I realized something while thinking about post school life and the job search that follows. I realized that whatever I learned but am not practicing regularly is quickly slipping away. In the case of programming the old saying, “if you don’t use it you lose it” really does apply. So to make sure I don’t lose it and in fact improve it, I plan on putting in hours daily to keep my skills sharp.
First thing I am going to do is to set up a schedule for myself and devote some time per day to coding. Of course interview prep, putting together a resume, actually looking for work, and other coding related research is very important but writing code should always be a big priority. At least 2 hours per day 4-7 days a week. Pick projects to work on and commit to working on them, whether it be your own app idea, ideas from the web, or little challenges or problems to solve from a variety of free or low cost resources. While coding, work on improving your planning skills. White-boarding, pseudo-coding, and micro-tasking are just a few examples.
Some other tips to improve as a programmer are:
- set some time to review other peoples code
- have others review your code
- try to live code in front of others- not only will it improve your planning and thought process it is also great interview practice.
- step out of your comfort zone- try more complicated projects, try a new language
- practice debugging
- and most of all, practice practice practice.
Happy coding, and good luck to all the new grads out there!