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Stay Motivated

12th May 2020

This is a part 2 of a series: Best Software Development Practices

A software developer can always improve his or her skills, no matter what stage of their career they’re at. In the first of our seven-part series, we looked at what good developers do to advance their abilities away from the keyboard.

But the most experienced software developers know that there’s one key trait they always need to maintain. Staying motivated.

That’s easier said than done, and here are our tips on how you can keep your passion for development high and your focus on coding strong.

1. Find a niche or a domain you love

No matter what career, industry or sector you’re in, the advice is always the same. Niche. Niching helps you to narrow down and focus on one specific area, to become an expert in that field.

So, if you niche in an area you love – maybe you’re passionate about baking, committed to education causes or enthralled by winter sports – then you could become an expert developer in that field – and work within the industry you love every single day. That’s sure to keep you motivated.

Or you maybe you want to specialise in a specific language or a certain type of coding. Perhaps mobile development is your kettle of fish, or maybe you only want to work with financial databases – it doesn’t matter.

Find what you love and follow your passion.

2. But don’t get too tied to that specialism

We think it’s important to find a domain or sector you love and niche in that area, but we’re going to contradict ourselves here. Because although you should focus on a specialism, you also don’t want to be tied to just one way of coding.

You don’t want to be stuck with the same bag of tricks.

Focusing too much on one domain, one way of problem solving, will always limit your options. And you’re likely to get bored sooner or later and lose your motivation.

So, take the time to learn new languages and new programming paradigms. Branch out of your comfort zone. You’ll become a better software developer by learning to code in different ways, and you’re less likely to get stuck if you have a large array of tools in your toolkit.

3. Ask for training time

There are plenty of tools, programs and even a few games online that will help you learn to code in a different language. But finding the time to do so can be a challenge. It won’t happen overnight.

You’ll probably already do some coding in your free time, but you don’t want to overdo it. You want to stay motivated.

So, ask for training time from your place of work.

Almost every manager and CEO knows that training and upskilling is important, but you might have to ask specifically and make your case.

Plan ahead. Know what you want to learn and how you’ll do it. And most importantly, clearly explain the benefits of you learning this new skill or language to your boss, so they know it’ll be worthwhile for the business.

4. Follow your ABCs – Always Be Coding

In part one we talked about the importance of reading programming books, of watching developers online, of learning from others at meetups. But there’s a caveat to all that learning.

Don’t let it bog you down.

Don’t get hung up on the theory in a certain book, or in matching the perfection of a developer whose video you’ve watched.

Instead – just code. Just grab your keyboard, open a repository or even just a plain text editor, and write some code.

Sometimes all you need to stay motivated is part of a code in front of you, and you’ll just want to keep going to finish it. If you’re stuck, just play around.

Practice makes perfect as the cliché goes.

Vershd can help you there too. If you just want to get some code down and see what happens, it lets you preview commits and prevents accidental deletion. You can get a free 30 day trial here.

In part three of our software developer improvement series, we look at how you should be collaborating with others.

Pushing to the Horizon

Do you want to use Git far more easily, with no commands or parameters to remember, and with a clear overview of your repository, plus the ability to preview changes? Then make your life easier, get a free download of Vershd, the effortless Git GUI.
Designed from the ground up to prevent errors, accidental deletions, and having to write all of this morning's code. Again.

Features include:
  • Rewind is simpler and easier than using Revert or Reset. It winds the clock back on commits, letting you choose whether to keep pending files or not.
  • Advanced Context Menus. Right clicking on a commit lets you merge, cherry pick, or create a branch there and then. Files have many ways to compare them to either historic or working files on your desktop.
  • See everyone's work in the clearest way possible. Branches shows branches and their commits, where you can easily pull, push, cherry pick and more. Pending shows what you can commit or stash. Files shows commits' details. Stashes helps you apply, view and delete your stashes.
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