If you are pursuing a career in coding, you’ve probably experienced the onslaught of resources, courses, certifications, and advice available to you. It can be overwhelming. Developing your skills as a coder doesn’t have to feel complicated. Here are five simple tips that can help guide your development and set you up for success.
Tip 1: Mindfulness can make you a better programmer
“Mindfulness” and “meditation” are often used interchangeably and can mean similar things. The distinction between them is usually summed up this way: mindfulness refers to an overarching practice of being aware of one’s surroundings and emotional state, and meditation refers to a specific practice or activity (this usually looks like stillness in a certain position or posture) that develops that skill.
One product of practicing mindfulness is achieving what many refer to as a “zone” or “flow” state. This “flow” state is characterized by being fully present and attuned to what you are doing at the moment. It aids your performance and capacity for production. For a programmer, achieving “flow” can look like removing all distractions and being able to immerse yourself fully in the code you are writing. This can increase your speed, accuracy, problem-solving, and more as you work. Coders who practice mindfulness are far more likely to experience and hone this flow state.
Tip 3: Get familiar with big data and its applications
The process of collecting and applying data is becoming a vital part of computer science and technological creation in virtually every industry. Whatever your line of work or type of coding, chances are you’ll bump up against the processes of collecting, processing, or storing data at some point.
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It’s never too early to familiarize yourself with the basics of data mining. A plethora of software products are already available on the market that provide strong integration support, or you might build custom data mechanisms from scratch. Whatever your application may look like, having a foundational understanding of data manipulation will benefit both your coding and your career.
Tip 3: Meditation can diffuse high-stress situations
Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, many approaches to applying meditation can take just a few moments or minutes of time. Better yet, these tactics can be applied at the moment when you feel stress. Are you trying to solve a stubborn coding problem? About to have a meeting you’ve been worried about? Are you distracted by life difficulties while trying to work? Try out a quick and easy strategy like taking a few moments to feel your keyboard, work through a breathing exercise, listen to a quick meditation routine from an app or YouTube video, or standing up and walking around your workspace while intentionally thinking about nothing and being simply aware of your surroundings. The chances are good that employing a quick meditation technique can help you reset and tackle the problem or workday much more effectively.
Tip 4: Never stop learning
The more you learn, the better equipped you are to solve problems, introduce innovation into your work, and understand the factors that affect your product from concept to user experience. Continual learning both in direct connection to your particular line of work and outside it in other areas of coding practice and technological applications will also keep you aware of what other opportunities are out there. For instance, coders are primed with skill sets that can be applied to a wide range of roles you might not immediately consider, but that could make for significant career opportunities.
Have you considered applying your skills in other industries or parts of the corporate process? Are you interested in seeking out other job types like ethical hacking, software systems management, or data science? Intentional learning in areas both within and adjacent to your field is a great way to not only improve your capacity in your current role but to become more aware of other opportunities that might present themselves.
Tip 5: Practice social good in your free time
Coders have skill sets that can be used to benefit others significantly. As a coder, don’t underestimate the value you can provide. There are plenty of organizations out there that are working to apply things like coding, programming, and data science to improving social good. Getting involved in some kind of activity that allows you to give back to others isn’t just a charitable exercise. Giving back can benefit you too. Taking part in activities that promote and create social good can boost your wellbeing and help you connect with new friends, colleagues, and potential business partners.
Whatever your experience level as a beginning coder – whether you are still training in your first language, founding a tech company, or employed in a first or second full-time coding role – the strategies above can help you kickstart your career and help you develop into a seasoned professional.
Photo credit: The feature image has been done by NOI Techpark | Tech-Transfer Digital.