So how can you grow as a developer? Grow is a very broad term of course. For some people growing means that you have to practice. You have to fall into certain traps, so you know how to fix a particular problem in the future. Practicing is key and practicing never stops. For other people growing means being involved in a community and keeping up with the latest trends.
Don’t stop getting your hands dirty
In this article, I want to share a few key things that I think are very important to become a better developer.
Be willing to learn
Software development is moving rapidly. New trends appear almost on a daily basis. It can be very hard to keep up with the pace that things are changing. Because things change quickly, being willing to learn is very important so that you can adapt to these changes.
One way to learn is by working on side projects. In these side projects, you can work on things that you don’t know how to build or just want to learn. You don’t have to build the whole project on your own. Build small pieces of that project. It is impossible to rebuild Instagram in a week, but you can try to build certain features. For example, you could just build the authentication flow or the API. If you see a cool feature on a website, try to build that feature yourself.
Side projects are also great for trying a new programming language or framework. Dive into something that you don’t have any experience with and see if you like it.
If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
Reading is a great way to learn. There are a lot of resources where you can read about programming. Medium is a great resource with lots of great articles. You can also read the official documentation of a programming language or framework that you want to learn. Or you could choose to read a book if that’s what you prefer.
Challenge best practices and solutions
Best practices obviously exist for a good reason. Using a best practice is usually not a bad idea, but be open-minded and come up with your own solutions to certain problems. Once you’ve got your own solution, validate it against the best practice.
The reason best practices emerge is that people try to solve a problem. Chances are that the problem has been solved before, but maybe not in a way that suffices for your particular use case. Or you might just want to explore an alternative way to solve your problem.
You either find a solution that works better than the existing solution or the best practice is a better solution than your solution.
Discuss and contribute
Discussing and contributing is essential if you want to grow as a developer. You could dive into a community to share your opinion or just read up on the opinion of other developers. Get involved in forums like StackOverflow or YouTube comments. Read up on new trends and discuss with other members of the community. This allows you to keep up to date with everything that happens in the industry.
If you don’t want to participate in the discussions even by just reading you can gather a lot of valuable information.
Another good way to grow as a developer is by starting to contribute to open source. It is not necessary to commit to a GitHub repository or post on Youtube on a daily basis, but just make sure that you are involved.
You could also use Twitter to follow thought leaders and follow what other developers think about certain topics. There are a lot of people to learn from, who can help you if you’re having trouble.
Asking for feedback
Asking for feedback is important because it is the quickest way to gather information on how you can improve yourself. If you are working in a team you could ask a colleague to give feedback on your code. Or if you are working in a Scrum team, the retrospective is a great opportunity to get feedback. You could also discuss code with other developers on a forum.
Feedback is a tool for continued learning
This is how I think that you could become a better developer. Please share your thoughts on this article. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any feedback, questions or want me to write about another programming related topic.