6 Things every new programmer should know

As you start your technology career, there might be a few things on your mind. How do I know I am ready? What are the things that are expected of me? Keeping all this in mind, here is a small list of practical things that will be helpful for you as you start your new journey.

Source Control

Source Control helps developers manage and store their code. When there is a team of developers collaborating on a project, it would be almost inconceivable to work together without some source of version control tool like Git, SVN, etc. This is a basic must-know for every developer so be sure to know at least the basics of how to use version controls. Git is preferred by a large number of organizations and people so this is a great resource to learn. Free GitHub Tutorial – Git Started with GitHub | Udemy

Always Suspect your code

You will probably be writing code that does not work the first time. And that is okay! That’s why the entire concept of testing exists. Many people don’t like the idea of spending time writing tests while they could be doing more “coding”. But tests help catch many bugs and will always save time with low code maintenance over a longer period. Be sure to know how to write a unit test, measure code coverage, integration tests, and many more. When you are initially beginning your technology career, it is okay to not know a lot of this stuff, but be sure to know at least about what unit tests are, as these are what you will probably be writing the most when you initially start out.

Learn your database

Starting out, you should know at least the basics of what databases are and be comfortable working with them. It’s nearly impossible to create any sort of application without using databases as that’s where you will store your app data. Knowing operations like creating, updating, deleting, inserting records is a must-know so do take some time to learn SQL. There are many databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server but knowing one of these databases is enough. If you do want to expand your horizon, you can also benefit from learning the NoSQL database like MongoDB.

Up your name game

The names of your variables, files, classes, functions, etc., should all be very descriptive and give an accurate sense of what it is to anyone who reads it. This makes your code readable which is a HUGE deal when you have to go over thousands of lines of code to understand what an application is doing. This will not only help other developers looking at your code but also remind you of what you did and help you understand what is happening.

Follow the Conventions

Follow the basics of good programming conventions. For example, if you are using Java, use camel cases, and if its constants, use all Uppercases. This depends on the programming language that you are using so make sure you are familiar with them. If you have a program that does a lot of things, break it down and write smaller mini functions to break up your code. This makes it more readable and testable. Follow the Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY) concept; if you find yourself copying and pasting your code a bunch of times, come back to this because you are doing something wrong. 

Have fun

Most important of all, have fun! There are a lot of things that you will start learning as you go so do not fret too much. Keep these tips in mind and have an open mind to learning new things along with your process!

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this post are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.

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