Learn Your IDE to Reduce Cognitive Load

Trisha Gee
May 31 · 2 min read

I work for a firm that sells IDEs, so of course I’m going to say you should know how your IDE works and use it properly. Before that I spent 15 years working with multiple IDEs, learning how they help developers create something useful and how to use them to easily automate tasks.

We all know IDEs provide code highlighting and show errors and potential problems, but any Java IDE can do so much more than that. Learning what your IDE is capable of and using the features that apply to your daily work can help level up your productivity.

For example, your IDE

  • Can generate code for you so you don’t have to type it. Getters and setters, equals and hashCode, and toString are the most frequent examples.

Using the IDE you can navigate through the code naturally — finding the methods that call this piece of code, or moving into the method that this code calls. You can move directly to files (or even to specific code snippets) using a few keystrokes instead of the mouse to navigate a file structure.

The tool you choose to write code in should be helping you focus on what you’re developing. You shouldn’t be thinking about the intricacies of how you code it. By offloading the tedious stuff onto the IDE, you reduce your cognitive load and can spend more brain power on the business problem you’re trying to solve.

97 Things

Tap into the wisdom of experts to learn what every great practitioner should know, no matter what technology or techniques you use. With the 97 short and extremely useful tips, you’ll expand your skills by adopting new approaches while learning best practices.

Trisha Gee

Written by

Coder/blogger/speaker, working for JetBrains. Human. More or less.

97 Things

97 Things

Tap into the wisdom of experts to learn what every great practitioner should know, no matter what technology or techniques you use. With the 97 short and extremely useful tips, you’ll expand your skills by adopting new approaches while learning best practices.