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Get away from the keyboard

Get Away From the Keyboard

5th May 2020

This is part of our series Best Software Development Practices. We also have a Git Tips series.

Becoming a better software developer doesn’t happen overnight. There is no quick fix. No magic code you can deploy to improve your skills instantly.

It takes time and effort.

But that investment will be rewarded if you know what to focus on.

Vershd is all about making your life – and your coding – easier. So that’s why we’ve put together this seven-part serious with real, actionable steps you can take to advance your software development skills.

And it all starts with moving away from the keyboard.

1. Read as many books as you can

Reading books won’t just help you improve your code-writing ability or your understanding of programming language. It’ll help you improve your English overall and your communication skills – which means you’ll find it easier to help others understand your code – AND ask for what you might need to help you advance in your career.

There are loads of outstanding books on coding. Many on specific languages. And too many to list. Then there’s all the great – FREE - articles out there.

But if you’re starting with books, we recommend:

2. Find local meetups – and make sure you go!

Many of us learn best from others – so find other developers near you and make friends!

Local meetups of software developers happen in just about every town in every country. WordPress is famous for its Meetups, WordCamps and WPTaverns, and you’ll also find local meetups specific to your favourite programming language.

Then there’s the Global Day of Coderetreat, an annual meetup of developers from all across the world – virtually or at locations in every continent. You could even host your own event!

These meetups aren’t just places to learn and improve. They’re a chance to relax with like-minded folk just like you.

3. Watch videos from other developers

If you don’t fancy meetups just yet, and reading books isn’t for you, then try watching some videos from other developers instead.

Most developer conferences will release videos online – even more so now with COVID-19 ending any live events with big audiences. Look for reputable conferences that interest you and buy a ticket. Try Open Source Summit, Dublin Tech Summit or AWS summit for starters. Or see if you can find talks by the speakers on YouTube.

You’ll find loads of videos from developers on there, so just make sure you focus on those trusted sources first. For those who like Python, pyvideo.org is a great resource, and if you prefer Objective-C, try Apple’s WWDC sessions.

You could also listen to podcasts if you want to boost your skills while on your commute or when you’re doing other tasks.

4. Plan your code on paper

The last tip to help you move away from your keyboard is to plan your code on paper.

It’s easy to jump in and start typing right away, put taking that step back and writing out your outline – physically on paper – will help you get a clear mental picture before you begin.

Writing out a high-level structure will help you visualise the work ahead of you. And with just a pen and paper to work with, you’ll free up more processing power in your brain.

This is a great tip if you get stuck with a specific part of your programming too.

We’re just four tips into our series on how to advance your software development skills and there’s already loads of advice to get your teeth stuck into.

In part two, we’ll help you stay motivated.

But if you’re using Git and to want get started practising some new skills without worrying about accidental errors, a free 30 day trial of Vershd might help!

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