You’ve done your research and is ready to upskill and embark on a career in programming. However, the programming world is not going to be all smooth sailing. You’re bound to meet with tough days where you can’t seem to figure out which part of your code went wrong, and be on the verge of giving up. Fret not! We have prepared 5 career tips for you budding programmers to thrive in this industry, so keep reading to find out!
1. Learn and code daily
We all know procrastination is really tempting but try and snap out of it. There are many ways to learn. The most common is to seek to participate in secondary projects, contribute in open source communities and take advantage of the resources offered by many platforms such as GitHub. Alternatively, if you wish to be part of a class with guidance from professionals, there’s learning centers like Hackwagon! Hackwagon offers a range of programming courses in various levels such as Data Science, Full Stack Web Development and Cyber Security. You’d surely be able to find something that suits you.
If you have the bandwidth, create your very own side project. They will come in handy to value-add in your future job interviews!
2. Join a programming community
Coding and programming is a continuous learning process, and it can get mundane after awhile. Therefore, you should engage and interact with others through online or school-based communities. Alternatively, participate in forums and development groups. This will not only help you network with people outside your class, you’d also be able to share and learn from different problems which you may or may not have encountered.
3. Take frequent breaks
Whether you’re rushing for a deadline or just simply stuck on a problem, be kind to yourself and take breaks! More often than not, spending countless hours modifying, debugging or creating code can actually be counterproductive. Instead, breaks offer that refresher for your brain, a way to take a step back and relax. You’ll find yourself being able to code more effectively when you rest your tired brain. Something as simple as leaving your desk for a toilet, or coffee break, or just taking 5 minutes to scroll social media, can pull you out of the rabbit hole and give you a fresh start and a new perspective. It’s important that you give your brain room to breath, because we all know that programming can be draining.
4. Test any changes you make, and SAVE your work
This may sound like a no brainer, but surely there have been at least one occasion where you’ve forgotten to save your online work. When it comes to coding/programming, this can be especially troublesome, especially so if you’re writing a mid to large scale project. If you accidentally close your text editor or if your computer decides that it’s a good day to hang on you, you’d probably end up having to completely re-write your code. Provided if you remember every line you previously wrote. So, make it a habit to save your work periodically to prevent such nightmare.
Likewise, if you make any changes to your code which changes the functionality or even something as small as cleaning up your code to make it look cleaner, make sure you’re constantly testing your changes. Test-driven development is essential as each piece of your code will most likely build off of any previous piece. A flaw in logic could end up breaking the entire program, even if every other piece functions.
5. Don’t forget to love what you do
As the saying goes “love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”. This is especially important if you’re going to be doing it every day. It is no doubt that programmers and data scientists are paid pretty dang well. However, such extrinsic motivations are probably going to be short-lived. Your career is a marathon, not a sprint. If you’re constantly miserable and unhappy with coding and programming, is all that money you make really worth such a huge sacrifice? At the end of the day, you want to be happy with what you do. All the little things add up collectively, even while coding.