Web development is a rapidly changing industry. As a web developer, there is no excuse for drop off. You have to constantly improve your development skills and learn from the experts if you really want to stay on top of the industry trends and ahead of the game.
And if you are likely to most of the web developers, you probably need to check your code and wondered how you could make it more efficient. While the old expression, “Practice makes perfect” certainly applies to the developers, whether they are software or web developers. There are a few tips to improve your web development skills.
In this article, we will share seven tips that you can implement today to become an expert web developer.
Seven best ways to becoming a better web developer
No matter where you are in your career as a developer, there is always room for improvement in all stages.
Beginners need to improve their skills to become better at their craft, and experienced developers should always strive for code optimizing for readability, efficiency, and maintainability.
1. Write Code on a Daily Basis
If you will ask an expert developer for the best advice on improving your skills, almost everyone will tell you to write code every single day. While the advice might sound obvious (therefore not much useful) the truth is that it really works.
Just like you will become better at any skill by practicing on a daily basis, you will become a better developer if you write code regularly. This will allow you to catch your mistakes easily and it will improve your typing skills as well, which can reduce your chance of mistakes.
Keep in mind, that you don’t have to come up with new projects every day. But it does mean to practice constantly. And while you are at it, take the time to learn the ins and outs of your favorite code editor. Learn keyboard shortcuts and try to use it without relying on the mouse on your touchpad. You will be amazed at how productive you’ll be once you actually know all the features your coding editor and tool has.
2. Contribute to Open-Source Projects on Github.
Working on small projects on Github help you engage yourself in code. You can choose to fork an existing project and create your iteration of it. You can also contribute to an existing project by helping them to reach the final stage and fix minor bugs to improve the project’s stability.
No matter which option you will choose, it inevitably leads to understanding your code to improve and it also exposes you to other people’s code which might show you an alternative way of doing things. On top of that, you get to collaborate with others on fun projects that help you get a second (or a third!) pair of eyes on your code. You will also learn to work better in a team and gain a crucial learning opportunity.
3. Invest in yourself
Web and software development everything is related to it is just a skill and any skill, believe it or not, is exploitable. In order to become a better developer, you will need to invest in yourself. It doesn’t mean you need to invest money in expensive courses, seminars or books.
There is no shortcut to becoming successful and research shows that it takes around 10,000 hours to master a skill, that is around 4 years and 40 hours practicing a week.
Be prepared to put up with late nights exploring websites and tutorials, experimenting with new plugins and frameworks, reading web development blogs and chewing through thousands of tweets.
4. Teach Others What you know
You might think you aren’t a good fit to write about code. After all, you’re not a content writer. But starting a blog, where you share knowledge with others, is a great way to continue learning.
By writing about your specific knowledge that you have, you’ll learn to organized your thoughts and structure of the topic you’re writing about. It gives an opportunity to review that you already know and back it up with some practical knowledge. In some critical cases, you might have to research the topic further which leads to more learning and a better understanding of your topic you want it to cover.
Not only that, but you also gain visibility and it positions you as the expert of your topic. So go ahead and take the opportunity to make some hands-on income through your blog website. You’ve got something to use it but nothing to lose it.
5. Take a coding challenge of yourself
There is no lacking of development tutorials on the web. And while some of the latest trends in the web development industry don’t stick for too long, there is no room to stay within your comfort zone.
Break the monotony of working on various projects by trying out the latest programming languages or doing things in a new way. If you are a WordPress developer, try out creating a WordPress plugin. If you are a web and software developer, then why not give it try to mobile apps development?
Even though you will not reach the level of mastery by going through a tutorial here and there, it still follows the principle of being exposed and engaged in code on a daily basis. Don’t forget that in most of the cases, the tutorials and case studies on these sites have been written by developers with years of experience and they also highlight the latest features in trending technology, programming languages, and APIs.
6. Schedule regular downtime
While coding on a daily basis is extremely beneficial, to take care of schedule regular downtime too. As ironic as it is sound, time spent not producing anything will actually make you more productive.
If you are constantly working, you run the risk of burning out and living under stress, which can result in sloppy code, missed deadlines, and missed out opportunities. Your capacity to think clearly and solve problems will fail and ultimately, your health will suffer too.
That’s why it is crucial to schedule regular downtime. If you find you cannot break away from work, then schedule it in your calendar and set a reminder to stop working for a period of time. This is the way you can take a break without being overwhelmed by guilt, and you might find out it gives you motivation and willpower to do things in an amazing way.
7. Stay Active
Working in the digital agency means that we spend a lot of time staring at the computer screen. Sitting 40-50 hours in the office will sooner or later take its toll.
That’s why it is virtually important that you look after your body the same way as you take care of keeping your markup nicely organized and commenting on everything that you code.
A healthy body and brain mean better coding. So when you schedule your week, don’t forget to include some non-digital activities – walk, run, gym or whatever you like to do in outdoor activities. I am off for a run now.
Before you rush off to implement the tips above mentioned in the blog, keep in mind that programming languages and technologies come and go. While this is a good reason to stay on the top with emerging technologies and trends, you will become a much better developer. If you spend time on studying and mastering your web development skills.
The truth is basics never change and therefore it is better to pay more attention to underlying architecture rather than focus on mastering the latest feature in a particular language. Once you have a firm grasp of mastering your favorite programming language or even picking up new ones, it becomes much easier.