‘Things I’d Like To Tell My Younger Software Developer Self’ (Part I)
We can all agree that it is a universal feeling to wish that we knew better beforehand. Either this is about a really bad haircut or ridiculous fashion statements we decided to make during the teenage years, everyone can agree that when it comes to the career path, it’d be easier to be better prepared for it. Especially if you’re a software developer fighting code lines and with suspicious back pain. So, what would you like to tell your younger software developer self?
Some Exauders decided to share their experience and the advice they’d happily provide to their techy baby selves! 👶
Let’s start with Diogo Mateus’ testimony:
1. Don’t rush into things, it’s gonna be worse
I think this is the most significant lesson I would give my younger stubborn self. I would think of solutions to my tasks and start coding right away, just to eventually hit a brick wall and realize that the solution is no good, making me stop and rethink the solution all over again.
Sometimes I would forget some edge cases or limitations. Other times, I just didn’t think the solution all the way through. The problem was that I just wanted to start to apply the solutions and see the result, just to be disappointed it didn’t work or it worked but it was creating another issue. Probably something that should be focused when teaching young developers, maybe even a class of “Code Philosophy”.
The bottom line is think before starting to code. Think for a while. Take a 10-minute break (huge help, believe me!!) and think of it in the hallway. Walk through the existing code one more time, just to make sure you’re not missing something. Ask yourself: What problems can this solution have? Is there a better way? No, really, is there a better way?
2. The hardest issues are solved by taking breaks
When I started developing during the 10th grade, I used to be glued to my chair, constantly looking at the monitor, developing or just looking at it thinking of a solution. Believe me, it is NOT effective at all. A lesson that I learned later on, is how valuable taking small breaks is. Even though I’m spending less time in front of the computer, I’m actually more productive now. I’m also not getting as tired from my work and there’s no risk of burning out, a big risk on this line of duty.
So I would say that taking breaks could save you from raging and smashing your monitor (always laughed at compilations on youtube of that) and could help increase your productivity.
3. It’s only coding. Why you ‘heff’ to be mad?
As Ilya Bryzagalov (Ice Hockey goalkeeper) said during an interview: “It’s only a game. Why you ‘heff’ to be mad?”, I think that sums up this point. Programming can be stressful, especially when working under deadlines. Sometimes you evaluate a task will only take a few hours, and it ends up taking 2 days. Even though during those 2 days, it seems like it’s about to finish any minute now.
The one thing that helps is to keep calm. Getting angry and frustrated will cloud the mind and you’ll end up spending even more time on the task, or adding bugs (both present and past me know this very well).
4. Google is your best friend
I remember early work at projects in school as a one-man team. I didn’t know a bunch about software engineering. I didn’t know such a thing as Unit Tests existed, I wasn’t aware of any frameworks and technologies and had no clue of all the great tools in my reach. It sounds a bit strange to me now, but back then I didn’t know the most efficient way of learning.
The internet is a wonderful source of information. Besides googling your specific problems and finding answers on Stack Overflow (the bible of any developer), there’s a world of knowledge. From reading blogs, listening to podcasts, and even spending some time on Reddit. And of course I can’t forget to mention searching videos on Youtube.
With time, you will gain awareness of the software world. Which technologies are getting popular, which tools are available, what’s hot, just surf a little and you’ll see.
5. PLEASE Invest in a good chair
This might be one of the most crucial pieces of advice to myself. Buy a good chair, it’s worth every penny. I remember working on several school and other projects at home and starting to feel the use of my old secretary chair (so old that one of the arm rests was M.I.A). Being cheap with buying a chair (like I was in the past) could take a toll on backs, shoulders, and wrists. A good chair will make you more comfortable, healthier and less tired. You don’t know this yet, but you will feel the difference when you decide to buy the chair you have now, and your body will thank you for that, your only regret will be not buying it sooner.
Stay tuned for part II!
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