Learning To Code

7 Dynamic Ways to Make Waves as a Professional Developer

Flatiron School / 13 January 2016
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So you’ve decided that you want to be a developer? That’s great! But what does it take from the outset to go from okay to phenomenal? Read on to find out seven things that will help you not only land the job, but stand apart from the crowd.

Start with professional tools

This is a big one. When a lot of people set out to learn computer programming, many of them aren’t even aware at first what git and GitHub are and why they’re important. If you build a foundation on these things from the start, you’re much likely to succeed further on down the road. That’s why you should be weary of just practicing code on web browsers. Open up terminal, learn commands, and build a strong foundation from there — platforms like Learn are good at integrating that from that start.

Demonstrate passion

The best developers are the people who really love their work. Just take a look at people like Tim Holman, who works at CodePen. He’s been programming for about five years, but he always finds new projects to create and love at his job. That’s what turns coding into something truly magical that you’ll want to invest your time in — both at work and outside of it. tl;dr: Find what to love. It will be a gift that keeps on giving, and keeps helping you raise the bar.

Practice, practice, practice

Make sure that you code every day. Even if it’s just for an hour — something is better than nothing. It will help keep you sharp. If you’re a beginner, this is especially crucial. You’ll be taking a lot of new information in at once, and practicing regularly will keep you from losing the skills you just built. Maybe that means setting time aside on your calendar everyday to work on a certain project outside of work, or maybe that means setting up a hackathon with a friend to code together. However you decide to do it, just don’t let the habit slip by the wayside. It’s your single most important tool in becoming a successful developer.

Read up on your craft — then implement it

book

If you already have a strong foundation in coding, try to dive a little deeper in the technicalities of it and seek out new knowledge. There are plenty of technical bloggers out there who offer tutorials on what they’re doing. The best part of all? You not only get to read their entertaining blog posts, but you also get to try those tips out yourself and create something new. Win-win all around.

Practice and then practice some more

This can’t be emphasized enough. Keep practicing, and push yourself through — especially when it gets hard and you just want to quit.

Reach out to mentors

mentor

Make it a point to connect one-on-one with people who would like to help you. If you’re already a professional developer, then you probably don’t have to look much further than your personal network. If you’re a beginner, there are plenty of ways to seek out mentorship, like reaching out to someone through LinkedIn. People are flattered when others reach out for mentorship and advice — make sure to capitalize on that fact!

Learn with a community

This could mean different things depending where you are in your learning process. If you’re a professional developer, hopefully you already have a community of people with whom you work. If you’re new to learning, this may be more of a struggle. Regardless, there are a few things you can do to improve upon that by reaching out to a community. Attend Meetups in your area for developers and go to regular presentations, find a Slack community where you can get support and help, or make sure that the next program you choose has that built in so you’re not just going it alone.

The most exciting thing? You’ll always have something new to learn and get better at.

 

This post originally appeared on Quora.

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