5 (New!) Skills You Need For Writing Better Code
Once you've mastered the more technical aspects of coding, there's still plenty of learning left to be done. Check out the next set of skills to tackle.
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A scrupulous programmer, you keep on developing skills to code like a boss. You've overmastered mathematics and languages already. And you do know that success in your niche depends on much more than technical knowledge.
So, this poses the question:
What else do you need to master?
In 2018, when artificial intelligence becomes smarter and makes people concentrate on emotional intelligence as their natural ability and knowledge source, specialists insist on soft skills to thrive in a programming career. Problem-solving, sharp memory, critical thinking, communication, and empathy are all well and fine; but is there anything else to consider?
Here go five new soft skills for savvy programmers to focus on.
1) Efficient Laziness
No, laziness is not what parents and educators taught you. Why then do successful people, including Bill Gates, consider it a must-have skill for programmers?
The trick is to develop a skill of using your laziness for efficient work. It's about the ability to find ways of completing difficult tasks fast and in the best way. (Because you are too lazy to spend much time and energy on it, remember?) In this context, laziness is a positive soft skill to develop, as it's not about procrastination but efficiency.
2) Abstract Thinking
A code you write isn't physical, right? What you produce can't be observed, measured, and plagiarized (at least, while in development); so, you need to work on your abstract thinking to deal with the object that doesn't yet exist.
Abstract thinking is a willingness to see everything from different angles, draw analytical conclusions of what seems illogical or unstraight, and think of a subject on many levels at the same time. A savvy programmer is able to straddle symbols, commands, and processes, as well as combine automatic and manual coding.
Your math, physics, and programming knowledge is a right framework for developing the #1 soft skill of coders – logic. Train it like muscles: brain games, logic puzzles, journaling, board games, and reading will help. Use applications like Dcoder or Dylomo to solve challenges and create online logic models. Also, do your best to develop conditional thinking, which general model looks like this:
if (a condition evaluates to True):
then do these things only for "True"
otherwise, do these things for "False"
Days and nights spent on a code to make it work: who among programmers is alien to it? Failures are inevitable in this niche, and a savvy coder should be able to handle them and stick to his guns anyway. Multiple attempts to get that project work, different approaches to try, dozens of puzzles to solve – they all require perseverance.
Take errors like challenges to overcome rather than signs of your defeat; your attitude toward success is what matters. As Anurag Harsh defines in his book, "Perseverance is one’s ability to recover from failure, the ability to get up, brush-off, and find a new path toward productivity and accomplishment, despite the unintended failure... It contributes to good and fast decision-making."
To develop perseverance, you'll have to work on your long-standing habits of emotional self-control and change your mindset from a fixed to growth one. It's tough, it takes a long time, but it's worth it.
5) Computer Thinking
When writing a code, you make assumptions. It's okay as your common sense and abstract thinking help to expand features of your future application or program and, therefore, improve its final variant. But what you need to develop is a skill of thinking the way a computer does, which means no creativity, assumptions, or independence.
While coding, input only what you expect to input. A computer can't make adjustments that it’s not told to do. Use your attention to detail skills to specify what you want, without leaving anything to change.
Don't underestimate the role soft skills play in your professional growth. Technical knowledge is a must for savvy coders; but only when combined with empathy, patience, attention to details, and self-reliance, they will turn you into a leading light.
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