With the growing interest in the IT industry, the ability to program has now become one of the most sought-after skills on the job market. There is no indication that this will change in the near future. This is influenced, among other things, by the rapid development of new technologies, and tools, constant optimization of code, and implementation of innovative solutions. It is estimated that these needs will increase even more in the future. According to LinkedIn’s Emerging Jobs Report, in the United States alone, demand for data analysts alone has increased by as much as 37%. However, the competition in the job market is getting tougher by the day, and if you want high salaries and long-term employment, you need to be constantly ready to increase your competencies.
A programmer’s career is one of constant development and learning. If you want to be a good programmer, it is not enough that you master the basics of a particular programming language. You need to constantly develop your skills – both hard and soft ones. This will help you gain more experience and start getting more and more attractive job offers. What’s more, expanding your programming skills contributes to greater ease in solving various problems and increased critical thinking skills, which will certainly come in handy in everyday life.
In recent years, one of the best ways to gain rich experience and enhance programming skills is through contract work. It has become a common solution chosen by many companies. For more information, see our article – Is it worth it to be a contractor in the IT industry?
In this article, you will learn 7 best practices that will help you improve your programming skills in 2023.
1. Practice makes perfect
As we have already mentioned, being a programmer involves constant learning. However, theoretical knowledge alone, without consolidating it through writing projects and using it in practice, will very quickly fly out of your head. According to Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning, putting knowledge into practice is far more effective than having or even understanding it. What’s more, writing your own project will help you verify this knowledge yourself. Remember that in many areas of programming, you can be self-taught and create code at your own pace. This is a good way to catch errors and solve problems, which can also be useful to you in your daily work. If you encounter difficulties, you can always ask for help from professionals or more experienced IT friends. With such regular coding, you can expand and develop your programming skills on your own.
2. Read industry books
There are a lot of interesting industry books on the market that, between deployments, are worth digging into. Until you gain suitable experience, you may have trouble finding your own mistakes or eliminating bad practices and habits. With help come books and programming guides, written by experienced developers. In any bookstore, you will find a great many interesting items that are sure to help you develop. Books worth noting include “A Programmer to Be” by Mateusz Rus, who was our guest in Episode 8 of the Call for Tech series, “Clean Architecture. Software Structure and Design. A Guide for Professionals“, “Master of Clean Code. A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers“, or “Quality Direction. How to Avoid Design Errors“. All of these items are often read by our employees, so you too are strongly encouraged to read them 🙂
3. Join the IT community
Nowadays, virtually every popular language or framework has a wide community centered around it. On the Internet, you will find many forums, groups, and channels – such as Slack or Discord – that you can join.
Another option is thematic Facebook groups, which are worth following. As a rule, the level of sophistication and technology stack of such communities largely depends on the users themselves. There you will find a whole lot of questions and answers. If you have a problem, the first step should be to see if anyone before you has struggled with a problem like yours. In quite a few cases, you will find that someone already had a similar problem that was solved.
Depending on the technology, the most popular software groups on Facebook include:
- Programiści Polska – dyskusje o kodowaniu
- Programowanie – grupa wsparcia
- Programowanie w Python
- Programowanie w C#
- JavaStart – nauka programowania Java, wsparcie, wymiana wiedzy
- Programowanie po godzinach
- Programiści Polska / Developers Poland
- Problemy Polskiej Branży IT
If you struggled with a problem and managed to solve it then, it is worth sharing the solution with other developers. You can do this on a Facebook group of your choice, or you can start your own blog and build your community with whom you will share your experiences. Your involvement will not only have a positive impact on your development but will also attract a good number of readers.
We also recommend browsing Stack Overflow and answering the questions asked there. Not only will you help someone solve a problem, but the community can also verify the solutions you present.
4. Follow blogs and profiles of people in the IT industry
Many experienced programmers write blogs, do podcasts, and run a YouTube channel where they upload programming lessons and tutorials. As a rule, the tips and tidbits they share there are very valuable and can be useful in your development.
Staying up to date is also an important part of a programmer’s job, so it’s a good idea to subscribe to as many newsletters as possible sent out by experienced IT professionals. They will help you follow the latest trends and keep you up to date with all the news, changes, solutions, and tips from the IT world.
We also encourage you to follow such blogs as:
- securitybeztabu.pl – conducted by Wojciech Ciemski, a guest on Episode 5 of the Call for Tech series:
5. Browse repositories on GitHub
Asking most people in the IT industry what tool programmers use most often – the answer is only one – Git. The results of the annual Stack Overflow report are clear – Git is used by 96% of developers, no matter where they are from or what they do in programming. Wanting to develop and increase your programming skills, browsing other projects on GitHub can be very helpful and will save you a lot of time. By previewing the code of other programmers you are able to see different approaches and solutions. However, you have to be careful and remember that you may come across code with bugs and bad practices. However, if you find a particular bug in someone else’s code you can do a pull request and correct it. Teaching others is one of the most effective ways to better develop and consolidate knowledge and skills.
6. Participate in programming events
At IT events you not only learn new things but also meet people from the industry. Such contacts can always bear fruit in the future. Taking part in events such as conferences, workshops, lectures, talks, or webinars, you can really gain a lot. You can find most of such events on this page.
Conferences related to the IT world will be especially useful for people who already have a quite extensive programming knowledge and want to keep up with the latest trends. For example, during a job interview, you can surprise the recruiter with news that significantly exceeds the necessary skills. Thus, it is easy to show a unique passion directly related to the desire for development and willingness to constantly adapt to the changing needs of the market.
Interesting IT events also include all kinds of hackathons. These are competitions aimed at programmers, during which they are faced with the task of solving a specific programming problem within a strict time limit. Taking part in such events, you can feel a hint of programming competition, meet many inspiring and creative people, demonstrate your abilities and learn a great many new things, and win valuable prizes at the same time. As a rule, these are electronic equipment or cash prizes. By combining your passion for programming with a fun, you are sure to develop your skills even further. Some of the more interesting hackathons to be held in 2023 include SAS Hackathon and AUHack.
7. Sign up for the course
Programming courses are one of the most popular and fastest ways to become a programmer or increase your skills. There are many online courses (paid and free) available on the market today, available on platforms such as Udemy.com or Coursera.org. Through them, you have the opportunity to learn new programming languages or polish your existing skills.
Before choosing a course, it is a good idea to read the reviews of students and check the way and mode of training.
Any programmer who wants to develop and increase his skills must remember that in addition to problem-solving skills and a natural talent for programming, it takes a lot of hard work, continuous learning, regularity, and perseverance. If you want to increase your competitive edge then only through your own and regular work will you be able to achieve your goal. By applying the above practices and tips, you will surely increase your programming skills in 2023. However, keep in mind that over-learning and taking on too many topics are not recommended either. By overloading yourself with information, you can quickly burn yourself out and lose the desire to further enhance your knowledge.
If you want to hire the best programmers for your company contact us. We will help you find the best candidates.