By John Sonmez December 20, 2018

Become A Better Programmer Than You Are Today

Have you wondered how to become a better programmer than you are today? This is exactly the topic of today's video.

Most people feel like they are stuck at some point of their programming life. Programming usually has a pretty dense learning curve and most programmers might feel stuck at some point in their lives, wondering “how can I become a better programmer?”.

Truth is if you want to become a better programmer you must not only have a clear plan, but also mime what the people you admire are doing.

This means… Trusting the process.

In today's video, I'm going to show you how you can become a better programmer and what are the steps you need to take in order to advance your career as a developer.

Transcript Of The Video

John Sonmez: How do you become a better programmer? This is a question I get a lot. It is something that everyone needs to know regardless of what skill level they are, as a programmer. I'm going to tell you how in just a second, and you're gonna want to sit till the end of the video, because I'm going to be dropping some really useful tips that I think you're going to find that are you going to help you make more money as a software developer or a programmer, and to really advance your career.

Hey, what's up? I'm John Sonmez from simpleprogrammer.com, and today I'm going to be answering a question about how to become a better programmer. He says, “Hey John, I know you don't make videos relating CS anymore,” well, actually I do, not just on this channel, not just on the Bulldog Mindset channel. “but I was wondering if you could give me some tips on how I could become a better programmer. I'm a current sophomore majoring in computer science at a school in Texas that is very well reputed for computer science and engineering, however, I feel like I have put in minimal effort outside of my classes to become better at programming.”

Well, here we go. You're kind of solving your own problem here. “A lot of my peers are already developing apps, machine learning algorithms, and VR games while I still feel like I'm not skilled enough to do those. Is it possible for you to tell me a general outline of how I can go essentially, or how I could essentially go from a tech virgin to a tech chad?”

First of all, within this question is part of the answer. He says that a lot of my follow students are doing things outside of class, right? In fact, I want to see what he said here. He said, “A lot of my peers are already developing apps, machine learning algorithms, and VR games while I still feel like I'm not skilled enough to do those.”

One of the big things that you need to understand in life that's really important is you need to jump into things before you're ready. One of the fastest ways that you're gonna learn anything in life, and that you're gonna increase your skill is to put yourself into a position where you're not ready for the thing that's about to come, and you're probably going to fail or experience failure.

This is really hard to do. It's difficult to do, but when you do this, that's when you experience perhaps the largest amount of growth even though it's uncomfortable. The reason why is because you figure out what you don't know, and you just have this huge amount of learning when something is beyond your capability.

To progress at something, we want to do things that are slightly above our capability, or just within reach of our capability. There's sort of this curve. You may have seen it online. I don't know if we can get the diagram. I forget exactly what that curve is called, but essentially you want things that are enough of a challenge where they are not discouraging to you, and they're not too easy where it's boring, right? It's just enough of a challenge where you can just barely do it. You always want to be finding things in that range.

That's the thing here. Yes, you may not feel like you can develop a VR app or an AI app or a machine learning app, or anything on your side project, but do it. Go and do it. Go and try to make the thing, right? When I first started programming, one of the things that really got my skills up was tackling stuff I was not ready for. I said, “I'm gonna make a game,” when I had not made any kind of game before, and I just downloaded the software.

I was using I think … what was it? I think MonoGame at that time. Technology doesn't really matter. My point is I downloaded it. I went through some tutorials. I figured it out, and bam, I made a game. It was hard. It was challenging. I didn't know what I was doing. When I first wanted to create an Android application, that was one of the things that really boosted my career more than anything else, was going through that process and doing that, but I did the thing that I didn't know how to do, that I wasn't ready and qualified for, but I committed to it.

You have to commit to this stuff. You have to go out there and you have to go ahead and get in over your head. It's okay. It's okay to do things that you're likely to fail at. It's okay to do things that are challenging, that are above your skill level, and you need to do those things in order to grow.

I guarantee you if you play someone who's really good, you are going to learn a lot. It's gonna show you how bad you are, and you're going to learn a lot because the challenge is so great. Whereas if you play people at your same skill level, you're not really going to advance.

What you need to do is you need to figure out some projects that you can work on to get your skill level up. The other thing, you know, again, I'm harping at this one point because I think this is the most important, but you need to be applying yourself in the classes. You need to be busting ass. How you do one this is how you do everything. You need to remember this shit in life because it's important.

You got to apply yourself 100% like you're going to die tomorrow in everything you do. When I'm recording this video right now, I am not holding back. I am giving you 100%. Why? Because I'm going to live my life that way because I don't want to waste my fucking time getting mediocre results. You're gonna waste your time, and you're gonna get mediocre results if you only put in a mediocre effort. You've got to put in the full thing. You've got to fully commit to the stuff that you're doing.

When you're doing your school work, do it the best as possible. Give it your all. Don't goof off. Make sure you get that done. When you're doing stuff outside of school, challenge yourself. Push that as far as you can. That's what's going to turn you into this superior programmer. Have the bar high.

Like I said, when I ran that marathon I set that bar really high. I made it so that it's a decent respectable time for anyone. Now that time that I set for my goal, but it's not expected of something that weighs 220 pounds to be able to freaking run under a four hour marathon or even run one at all, but I set that bar high so that I would have to rise. My fitness level had to rise to that in order for me to achieve that.

Don't sell yourself short. Again, if you want to say you want to be a tech chad, well what does a tech chad do? What does he do? Do what he does. If you want to be an Olympic swimmer, do what … what's his name? Jason Phelps does. If you do what Jason Phelps does for workouts and training, you will be an Olympic swimmer as well. You might not beat him, you might not be as good as him, but if you did that, you would be him, right?

If you want to be Kobe Bryant, do what Kobe Bryant does, okay? Read up on Kobe Bryant and how he focused, how much practice he did. If you do his routine, you will eventually become Kobe Bryant. This is not bullshit. This is not a false fantasy. This is the truth of the situation. If you haven't already, read this book. I know I'm plugging my own book here, but the Complete Software Developer Career Guide, look at this. It's a big tome.

I can give you as much advice as I can on this YouTube channel, and I'll give it to you for free, obviously, but I think the book is like, what? The Kindle version's like 4.99 or 3.99 on Amazon. You can buy the print version for like 20 bucks. There's an audio. Get the audio version. If you're lazy, it's just one audible credit, and it's like 23 dollars of the audio. I go through all the stuff.

I teach you how to enhance your career, how to boost your career, how to market yourself, how to advance technically, and how to figure out the next thing to tackle, and how to do side projects, and all of this stuff. It's all covered in that book because it's supposed to be the complete software developers career guide, everything that you need.

I've got one last tip for you also. If you haven't already, check out our member area on simpleprogrammer. I'll put the link here, the link for the book will be here on the cards as well, and in the description. If you join the membership area, you're gonna find people that are gonna be able to help you to advance to the next level. If you want to figure out … plus, you're gonna find people that will do projects with you.

It's really great if you can have some help. If you want to create, let's say, a VR game or something, there's someone in the member area, I guarantee you, that has some experience doing that, that will also like to do that. Join the member area. Just go to simpleprogrammer.com or through the link in there. There's a wait list, but when we reopen it will give you a chance to join and connect with these people.

It's a small cost, but it's going to help you to be able to advance your career. Having these peer groups, that's the biggest hack in life, is finding people that know what you want to do, that are already doing it successfully, and then tagging along with them, or joining together or banning together and accomplishing these things together. You'll find that the highest of athletes, the highest level performing people, that they're in bands. They're in bands together. They're literally banded together and hang out together, and that's how they get so good.

Anyway, that's all I got for you guys today. If you haven't already, make sure to click that subscribe button down below. Click the bell so you don't miss any videos on this channel. Got a lot of good stuff planned for you guys here. I will talk to you next time. Take care.

 

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."