9 Helpful Tips to Become a Better Programmer


Sometimes I feel like I spend so much time reading programming tips and tricks online that I never see anything new anymore. So, I set out to make this helpful collection of some cool programming tips that aren’t your usual run-of-the-mill variety.

Take a piece of paper or open up a text editor to note down if you find any helpful tips to improve your programming life. I hope you find some joy and learn a new tip or two. 

1. Focus on Giving Value to Others

Always try to be the best at what you are doing. If you want to be the best, you should give a lot of value to others. What do I mean by that? I mean, if you give someone a lot of help, it is more likely that you will automatically get what you want from them.

For example, say, you want to meet a celebrity that you like a lot. Everybody wants to meet that person. So, it will be difficult, right? But, what if you help to solve some problems of that person? You will get a chance to meet that person more often than not.

Let me give you one more scenario. Let’s say if you want to get a promotion in your job. If you are a person who helps your superior a lot and provides a lot of value for him and the company, then when you ask for a promotion, you will get it most probably.

You should work harder for the other person to win so that you will automatically win. I am trying to give you some helpful tips in this article so that you will get some value. In return, you will probably like my blog, read more articles, or even share it. When I help you, I get value in return from you.

So, as a programmer, try to solve the problems of others and focus on providing value to them.

2. Learn to Work Without Motivation

It is very difficult to stay motivated to do something for a long period. It does not matter how passionate you are in programming, or even in any other field. You will feel unmotivated someday to do the work. That is how life works.

So, you need to learn this skill. You need to learn how to work without motivation if you want to succeed in your life. When you feel motivated, it is easy to do things. Anybody can do that. But not many people can put in the work when they are not feeling to do it.

So what are you going to do when you do not feel motivated? Are you going to give up? Or else, are you going to say that ”it does not matter, I will do it”?

One small tip that I can give you is, when you are feeling unmotivated, make your task into small chunks. Let’s say you need to write a large Python program to do something.

If you are not feeling in doing that, then you need to change the plan. Instead of writing the entire program, you can commit to writing 10 lines of code, or even 5 lines of code.

Set smaller goals when you are feeling unmotivated. Most probably, when you write the 10 lines of code, you will automatically get the motivation to do a little more LOCs (lines of code).

I planned to write this article yesterday, but I didn’t have the motivation and didn’t do anything. Even today, I was not feeling motivated. So, I committed myself to write only one tip for you. But while writing one tip, my brain started working automatically, and now I am writing more helpful tips for you.

You can take this tip and use it when you are not feeling motivated. It works. I’m almost going to write the third tip now even though I committed to writing only one.

3. Take Responsibilities for your Success and Failures

You are responsible for everything in your life. Your success, your failures, your fortunes, and every other thing in your life.

If you are not successful in your life, there is no point in blaming society or other people. Instead, you need to understand that it is your fault and put in everything you can to succeed in your life. When you become successful, you can take pride in that because that happened due to your hard work.

Also, when something bad happens to others, you can step forward and be a helping hand. In your work, if someone has made a mistake, maybe you can do nothing. It will be a bad thing for that person, for the company, and you will not gain anything.

Instead, if you have the mind to help that person by correcting that mistake, your company will not face a loss, maybe you will get some rewards, and that person will feel good about you and may help you as well when you are in trouble.

It is very important to take responsibility for your life. If you do so, you will feel a lot more powerful and controlled in your life, even in work situations. You will not be a person who keeps failing and blames others for all the failures.

Taking responsibility is significant in every aspect of your life. This attitude towards your life and work will help you to achieve success.

4. Don’t be Religious about Technology

You should not be religious about technology if you want to become a successful programmer. What do I mean by that? You should not stick to one technology and ignore all the other things.

Technology keeps changing day by day. If we as software developers are not evolving with it, then we will not be successful in the long run. When new languages came, the programmers who used to code with the old languages were forced to adapt.

You might be a fan of a particular programming language. But, you should not be a hater of other programming languages and technology. If you are a hater, it won’t do any good in your programming career.

It does not mean that you should not specialize in a particular technology. You should. But, you should be ready to adapt to other technology when it is required. If you are adaptable, you will be able to get a lot more opportunities and success in your career.

If you want to be ready for a change, you need to be aware of what is happening around you. Software development changes rapidly. You should be aware of all the changes that are happening in your field.

5. Teach Everything You Know

If you would ask me to tell you one piece of advice that will take you from an average software developer to an extraordinary one, then I would tell you this. Teach everything you know.

You don’t have to be an expert in your field. Even if you are a beginner, you can teach others as you learn new things. Sometimes, it will be better for a beginner to learn from you rather than learning from an expert since you can relate to the situation of a beginner. Experts may forget the feeling of being a beginner. 

This is a step that most developers skip. Let me tell you about the benefits of teaching. Teaching what you know to others will deepen your knowledge.

By teaching, you can provide value to others by giving away your knowledge and experiences. You can even make money by creating an audience and selling courses or digital products to them. This may even make you a celebrity in your field.

So, if you want to shortcut the way to become a successful programmer, teach everything you know. As I said in my first tip, if you give value to others, you will get value back.

6. Learn how to Market Yourself as a Programmer

Most software developers think of career advancement in terms of acquiring new technical skills. But a more effective way to advance your career is to consider yourself as a business and market yourself to an audience.

Most people do not know this since they are way too focused on the technical stuff. Technical skills are important for a developer. But, you need to have a marketing strategy along with that.

Some people may be the best coders in the world, but they remain unnoticed since they do not know how to market themselves. On the other hand, people who are not experts in technical skills but having marketing skills become successful most often.

So, it is important that you need to have a marketing strategy as a software developer. You should not market yourself as a generalist who knows everything. Instead, you should niche down and specialize in a particular field.

As John Sonmez (founder of Simple Programmer) says, you need to be the big fish in the small pond, not the small fish in the big pond.

To market yourself as a specialized software developer, you need to take full advantage of social media and the Internet. You should start a blog or youtube channel or podcast in your niche. You need to produce content in your niche so that people could recognize you as a specialist.

Try to create a network around you. You can go to conferences in your niche, join user groups, blog, and comment on other people’s blogs, ask people in your network to introduce you to great people, etc.

Most importantly, you should create a personal brand. A personal brand is no different than a corporate brand. We all know the significance that we give to certain brands. Similarly, you should create a brand based on your expertise.

If you are a software developer, make sure you have a portfolio to showcase your work to others. You can use it as an online resume.

99% of people who read this article will not do any of these things. If you do all these things, I can guarantee you that you will be in that 1% of successful software developers.

7. Use Powerful Systems to Automate Your Success

One simple way to automate your success is to create powerful systems in your life that will improve yourself. These systems will help you to immerse yourself in programming (or any other fields that you are interested in).

Here is what I mean by this. You should surround yourself with programming so that it will be impossible for you to fail. I will tell you some hacks that you can try.

One of the most important ways to improve yourself is to read books. Reading books will change your life.

I am not a great fan of reading books. So what I do is I listen to audiobooks or podcasts. There are many advantages to doing this. You don’t need to dedicate any extra time to do this. When you are traveling or waiting in a queue, etc., you can plug in an earphone to your mobile and listen to audiobooks or podcasts.

Instead of listening to technical books, I encourage you to listen to self-development books. You can try books like ‘Soft Skills’ by John Sonmez. You can also listen to programming podcasts. Here is my list of recommended books to read for self-development.

One simple thing you can try is to reduce the amount of time you spend watching TV or Netflix and playing games. A huge percentage of people watch too many hours of television and play games, and yet they complain that they don’t have enough time to spend on enhancing their skills.

If you want to be successful, replace that useless time with things that are useful to you. You can read books, or listen to audiobooks, or even watch youtube videos that will improve your career.

When I’m doing nothing, I watch my favorite youtube channels like Gary Vee, Simple Programmer, Clever Programmer, etc., so that I can learn something new to improve myself.

If you do that, your brain will become sharper in terms of technical skills and business skills.

You can also change your circle of friends if you are broke. Do you know that you are the average of your close friends? Yes, that is true. If your friend circle has people who strive for continuous improvement, chances are high that you will also strive for improvement.

I am not saying to change your friends completely. Maybe you can try to include some new people who are interested in programming or business in your circle of friends. That will help you to improve.

8. Take Sufficient Breaks while Debugging

The other day, I was watching a coding tutorial on YouTube. I typed the same code given in the tutorial. But, I was getting an error somehow.

I didn’t know what the error was. I wasted a lot of time sitting in front of my laptop screen. But I was not able to fix the error.

Then I took a break and later when I came back, I looked at my code again. It was a simple typo error. I could not find that previously since my eyes were tired.

If you are a programmer, you will be in similar situations. When you code for a long time and then debug, your eyes will not be able to catch all the errors. So, you need to take sufficient breaks while debugging. If you do that, your eyes will be able to find errors more easily.

Here is what Tora, a Pythonista and a reader of this blog, has to say about this: “When you are too focused while coding, you’ll not be able to point out a simple mistake for it had been seeing by you for long that your brain subconsciously thinks it as natural.

Your break and refocusing give you a chance to get rid of the ‘natural’ impression of the mistake, and then you’ll easily point it out.

And not only when debugging, I believe that when doing all kinds of works, taking a break will be helpful since it gives us a chance to think divergently and makes us more possible to find some unnoticed details, and gives us more ideas that are unobtainable in our focused mode.”

9. Copy Someone Else’s Success Model

If you want to be successful in a particular field, then the best thing you can do is find someone who has already done that. There will be somebody who has worked hard and became successful in your field.

If you can find someone like that, then try to contact them or consume their online content. Follow them on social media. If you can, reach out to them. Maybe you can offer them lunch or a coffee so that you will get some time to spend with them.

If possible, work for them for free. Do whatever you can to learn the skills to become successful. Now, copy their success model and do it in your life. It is a shortcut to success even though most people do not do this. If you are willing to put in the effort, you can hack your success.

Let’s say you want to work for a big company. Then, try to find someone who is already working there. If you can make connections with that person, you can extract his/her valuable information. Then, you will be more likely to land a job in that company.

Conclusion

In this article, I tried to put together some non-obvious tips that will help you to become a better programmer and a better person. If you have read this article until now, I recommend you to take the tips that are helpful to you and use them in your life.

Also, let me know your favorite tip in the comments section. If you have any other tips to suggest, feel free to add them as well.

If you have any doubts or queries, put them down in the comments. I will be happy to help you.

I would appreciate it if you would be willing to share this article. It will encourage me to create more useful tutorials like this.

Thanks for reading. Do not procrastinate. Take action!

Ashwin Joy

I'm the face behind Pythonista Planet. I learned my first programming language back in 2015. Ever since then, I've been learning programming and immersing myself in technology. On this site, I share everything that I've learned about computer programming.

2 thoughts on “9 Helpful Tips to Become a Better Programmer

  1. Thank you for sharing! It’s very inspiring and resonating.

    There’s something I want to share my own opinion: In the 7th tip you talked about taking breaks while coding may be helpful, and then you pointed out that it’s because of the tiredness of our eyes. I don’t think it’s the key reason though. I think the key reason is that: you were too focused while coding, thus you’ll not be able to point out a simple mistake for it had been seeing by you for long that your brain subconsciously thinks it as natural. And your break and refocusing give you a chance to get rid of the ‘natural’ impression of the mistake and then you’ll easily point it out.

    And not only when debugging, I believe that when doing all kinds of works, taking a break will be helpful since it gives us a chance to think divergently and makes us more possible to find some unnoticed details and gives us more ideas that are unobtainable in our focused mode

    Above is just my personal opinion and I’ll be more than happy if it provides a new point of view for you. We can discuss this further if you think it interesting. Again thank you very much for sharing this!

    1. Thanks for your valuable comment, Tora. I appreciate it. It makes total sense. I am adding your valuable point to my 8th tip so that it could be helpful for others. Thank you so much.

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