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Luis Contreras

5 Tips for becoming a great Developer

There is no silver bullet that could lead you to become a great developer, but there are things you can do to improve your career.

In this post, I'm going to share five tips which I think are the most important, so take your notes.

Practice every day

It is not a secret that if you want to get better at something, you need to practice. I mean A LOT. That applies to almost every aspect of our life, and programming is not the exception. Keep in mind that the most important thing is to keep a steady and consistent pace. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint” I bet you have heard that saying a lot.

There are a ton of ways to practice programming. You could work on side projects, do tutorials, video courses, and so on. There are also some websites where you can practice programming online, like Leetcode or HackerRank. They have a lot of coding exercises that you can use to improve your programming skills. Pick whatever option you have at hand or the one you like the most.

Take time each day to practice programming, but if you are doing that, you are on the right path.

Be curious

The thing that drove me into programming was my curiosity. Back in 2004, I was wondering what the heck was the “.php” at the end of some web pages I visited. That simple question led me to start learning PHP and turning it into my first programming language.

The important thing is not to stop questioning… Never lose a holy curiosity.

Albert Einstein

That’s an interesting quote from one of the greatest physicists of all time. Curious people are asking questions and looking for answers all the time. That keeps their minds active, and since the brain is like a muscle, you may know what happens.

Curiosity is a trait that you must learn to become a great developer and take your career to the next level.

Master the fundamentals

This part is the most important and one of the most skipped steps. I include myself as one of those who have done that, a big mistake in my life.

So many of us want to go straight to the heart of a programming language/paradigm/framework without knowing the foundation. But, as you can not cross the Strait of Gibraltar without being able to swim across the pool in your backyard, you can’t build great applications without knowing the foundation of a programming language or framework.

That’s why I encourage you to spend the time needed to master the fundamentals of whatever you want to learn.

Keep yourself updated

Technology advance very fast, and if you don’t follow it, you will be left far behind.

As a developer, you should be learning new things every day to stand out from other developers, especially if you are looking for work in this challenging job market. If you don’t keep yourself aware of the latest trends in the software development world, you may not be relevant to job recruiters. You don’t need to know how to work with that cool library called X, but it could be great if you know that it exists.

There are several means to keep yourself updated, but here are the ones that work for me and perhaps may work for you as well:

Teach others what you have learned

Do you know that you can consolidate what you've learned just by teaching it?. That phenomenon has a name: The Protégé Effect. I won’t dive more into this, so here are a couple of articles that explain it in more details:

“Teach it till you master it.”

I hope that these tips help you get better as a developer. Please share this post with your peers to help them become great developers. Good luck!