This article is the first in a new series coming to The Software Guild blog in 2019; articles from our expert instructors. Keep your eye on this space to get the latest in what’s happening in code education, straight from our instructors. This month, Director of Curriculum and Instruction Alan Galloway kicks us off.

Do you want to be a faster, better programmer?  What are the key skills to improve your through-put and quality? Will improving your keyboard skills to 200+ wpm make you a code wizard?  Let’s discuss some of the key measures of programming performance and what it means to improve your programming skill.   

While some feel that the ability to crank out lines of code as quickly as possible is the defining factor in what makes a good developer, we feel there are other major areas that you can work on to improve your skill as a programmer. We can do this by examining three areas: Design, Efficiency and Collaboration. 

Man learning to code at one of The Software Guild's coding bootcamps

Design For Success 

The goal in software development is to address the requirements provided and deliver a useful product that meets those needs.  The first area to focus on improving is design.  Do you understand the requirements?  Do you know how to solve the problems presented?  Can you show how to fulfill the needs without writing code yet?   

Working to explain your understanding of the requirements, identifying the gaps in the request and presenting the proposed solution to the stakeholders should be the first steps you take with a programming task.  When you are working as part of a larger team, some of these tasks may have been performed by others.  Make sure you understand their results and how they translate to software. 

Tools for Efficiency 

How can you be an efficient developer?  Know your toolset!  Don’t spend your time re-creating common tools.  There are times that you might need to eke out every bit of efficiency by writing tailored code. Typically, however, the libraries that are part of your environment will provide the components you need. Most importantly to your performance, those components can help you avoid writing code from scratch to solve problems. This means you’ll need to research and continually add to your toolbox of development components.   

This will also lead to fewer lines of code written, as you are leveraging the work of the architects, designers and implementation crew of your chosen environment.  To paraphrase Sir Isaac Newton, stand on the shoulders of giants. 

Collaborate to Reach Your Goals 

The final area to focus on if you want to improve your code development is collaboration.  Even if you are working on a solo project, this is an aspect you should not overlook.  Collaboration can be key on your development team, your stakeholder team and your technical network.  Know when to ask for help.  Develop your skills by offering help. Make sure that your requests demonstrate the actions you have taken so far, target the issue or obstacle you are experiencing and give room for someone to work with you and direct you to something that is currently outside your perspective.  

When you are on the giving end, try to craft your assistance to give room for growth and foster collaboration in the future. Each time you get or give assistance you are widening your foundation as a developer.  This is going to grow you and your entire community! 

woman learning to code at a Software Guild coding bootcamp

Improve Your Performance to Ensure Your Future 

Churning out lines of code with extreme speed is not a bad skill to acquire.  That alone does not define your programming performance.  

By improving your design skills, streamlining your development efficiency and fostering collaboration in your team and network, you will continue to improve your programming performance!

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