These are some of the general programming tips I want to share with you. Some of these tips might sound trivial but they can sure help you be more productive. Here goes my 7 tips to help you become a super productive programmer.
Learn touch typing
Touch typing is typing with all of your 10 fingers. Many computer users don’t know how to touch type and they use one or two fingers to type out. Even I was a two-finger typer for a long time. If you learn touch typing, you can type without looking or even in the dark. You will also be able to type at the speed of your thought. Without it, you will constantly have to look for the keys and make mistakes. As a programmer, your full attention should be on the problem at hand, not where the keys are. You can learn touch typing within a few weeks by using this free service called TypingClub.
Use a linter to auto-format your code
There are many code linting plugins out there that can format your code upon save. Don’t waste your time trying to manually add spaces, missing semi-colons or trying to match your desired syntax format. Use a syntax formatting plugin for your code-editor and let that take care of it for you. Set your style once and don’t ever worry about it again. Clean code is not just efficient, it will also make you look professional. I use Prettier for VS Code to lint my code.
Use half the screen for coding
If you are using a single monitor just like me, you can save trouble by making the code editor half the size of your screen. This way you can code on one side and use the rest of your screen for other things like reading the documentation or previewing changes, so you won’t have to switch windows all the time and can focus on the problem at hand.
Learn to use version control (Git) and publish to Github
If you want to become a software engineer, then you will have to learn how to work in a team. A version control system such as git can help you and your teammates work on the same code all at once. Github is a popular online git repository where you can host your code for free. I use git to version control my files and then upload them to Github. This way I get to have a backup of my code and also show off my work. VS Code has git feature built-in which makes it easier for committing and branching code. If you are having trouble with git commands, take a look at this no bullshit guide to git.
Spend some time learning about your system
If you want to be super productive, you must know 3 things really well:
- Your operating system
- Your code editor (like VS code)
- The language you are working on
By learning about them means you should know the keyboard shortcuts, how to find things and how to troubleshoot errors. Having good knowledge won’t actually make a good programmer, but it will sure make you productive. So when the next time you are not doing anything, look into the different menu items, try different keyboard shortcuts or open up the documentation and learn something new about your system.
Play some games/watch a TV show without guilt
Every once in a while you should play your favorite game or watch a TV show. You cannot just code 24/7, you also need to recharge your mind. When you are playing, don’t feel guilty about it. You may be spending the whole day playing a game, but that’s okay, you need it. When you are playing a game, you can think about the character or the environment, how did the developer program it? What was the variable or conditions that trigger this event? TV shows and movies are stories of people dealing with problems. You can watch a story and get some inspiration to solve your programming problems or build something new. You never know what you can get out of it to use it on your programs, so take some break!
Go away from your computer every once in a while
Go out and meet some people, spend some time with your friends and family. Sometimes you want to go out and have some alone time. Treat yourself with a nice dinner or a movie, all by yourself. Going out of the digital world can help you recharge your mind and re-focus on things. You will get back to your work with a fresh mindset.
Did you find any new tips that can help you be more productive? What is one thing you do to help you get better at code? Feel free to let me know in the comments. While you are reading and sharing this article, I feel I need to get out and apply the last tip. See you next week!