I Do My Best Software Development, When I’m Not Developing
Healthy mind, better code
Becoming a skilled and proficient software engineer takes time. There are many seasons in this career path — from the idealistic junior dev, to the grumbling senior dev sipping coffee all day, and the stages in between, where I find myself.
In my career so far, one fact stands out: I do my best coding when I am not actually coding.
What do I mean?
We can all learn language syntax. This, along with problem solving skills, is square one. A book, a class, or even an online video are all good avenues for learning the basics. But once you have those, how do you grow from there? It’s all about applying concepts.
When do I use X?
What is the best use of X?
Stay away from X
The list goes on! Often, there are multiple ways to solve a problem. It’s all about finding the best solution. This is where I do my best coding.
The best solutions won’t come by staring at the screen
More lines of code or more hours of work do not always equal elegant solutions. In fact, you may end up deleting your code the next day. Sleep on those tricky problems — you may arrive at a better solution the next morning.
Literally. If you work for a company that allows you flexibility, use it — for your benefit and the company’s. Developers who waste away at their desk typically do not put out quality work. Hopefully, your boss realizes this too!
Spend time with your family
Sometimes my best ideas come when I am at home spending time with others. A solution will come to me and I will open up my phone and jot it down. Then the next morning, or whenever I have free time, I will look at the note and start working. Maybe this will work for you!
Something seems too complicated
If something seems too complicated, it probably is. If you have been sitting on a problem for a couple of days and still have not found a solution, you probably need to take a step back and rethink your approach. Maybe the application isn’t architected in a way that makes your approach feasible. Maybe you need to consult with a more experienced colleague.
The world around you is full of solutions. Some of my best code has come from ideas I have found away from my keyboard. So, tell your boss, “I’m just stepping away for a while — but I will be back, with a better solution and a healthier mind.”