6 Real-Life Skills Programmers Learn Throughout Their Career
When meeting new people, the first question we often ask is “What do you do?” The reason behind this is that people believe our daily tasks are linked to our identity. From small everyday habits to more prominent psychological behaviours, our jobs tend to have an impact on how we develop real-life skills. These mainly include characteristics that help us fare better in our everyday activities, like patience or creativity.
As a programmer, you must be wondering what value your profession can add to your life. Spending most of your time coding behind a screen may not look like a complicated challenge at the first glance. However, that is not entirely true. After years of training and work experience, programmers have the ability to bridge the gap between ideas and reality. Such an exciting capability requires some solid skills that translate into your everyday life.
A programmer in 2021 is no longer an introverted person with minimal social skills. The variety of tasks completed as a part of a developer’s job build up some great personality traits. I am going to talk about six valuable real-life skills a programmer learns throughout their career and how to make the most out of them.
Developers are solving problems continuously throughout their daily tasks, mainly because programmers don’t have a single rule book they can refer to. Yes, there are some guidelines and techniques in the handbook, but at the end of the day, as a programmer you have to come up with a unique solution for that software bug. This innovative thinking is where you kick-start the creative problem-solving process.
A programmer must first understand the problem at hand and translate the solution into an algorithm or code that a computer can follow, and then write the syntax. Following these steps on a daily basis definitely builds up some killer problem-solving skills. A programmer might not know how to fix a flat tire, but with the right critical thinking skills, they will be able to come up with a way to handle the situation.
While coding will ultimately help you establish strong problem-solving skills, you can always willingly take on habits that enable you to do so:
- Develop a framework: Take your time understanding what is being asked, and plan how to achieve it. Break down the problems into smaller parts, and tackle one at a time.
- Don’t lose track: It’s very easy to give up when you get stuck on a bug or a coding problem. However, instead of giving up try taking a different approach, and get feedback from a mentor. This way you will not only learn but also add something new to your knowledge base.
- Strive to improve: The best part about problem-solving as a programmer is that you can always look back at previous code solutions and work toward making them better. Learn from your mistakes, and actively look for ways to optimize your code.
Having quick reflex thinking is definitely a blessing. Such an ability only comes when you have been practicing it in your daily routine—in this case coding. It often happens that project deadlines get pushed due to the urgency of tasks. In such situations, instead of panicking, a quick problem-solving technique can help you meet your targets. You may end up altering your course of action or getting help to finish the project earlier.
As a programmer you know straight away when your code works and when it doesn’t. The nature of coding means you are in total control of the program and the computer is just following your directions. For this reason, coding is often used as a skill to boost confidence. Being able to fix a minor bug or successfully launch new software gets the adrenaline rushing with a sense of achievement.
Writing efficient code involves hitting several roadblocks along the way. There might be some UI problems, or the design may not turn out the way you want. However, not giving up midway and working through all the obstacles results in an end product you are going to be proud of.
Believing in your capabilities as a programmer is classified as self-confidence and requires a steady effort throughout your programming career. If you feel doubtful about your capabilities, you can always resort to a few tips and tricks to build your self esteem. Start by customizing the development tools according to your needs. Adding your personal touch to tools will make it relatively easy to read and write the code.
Regardless of the field you’re in, it’s a good habit to read good books to add to your knowledge. Being a programmer is not much different—find a mentor or enroll in a learning course. This will help you polish your existing skills, and you will become more confident in applying the new techniques you learn. And when you feel it’s the right time, lead a project. Being the sole proprietor of the show introduces responsibilities while at the same time building solid self esteem.
Being confident in yourself comes in handy during public gatherings such as work-related events or even personal networking sessions. Say you are asked to represent your company at a small conference. Now this could be daunting at times especially when you are not sure if you are the right person for the job. However, if you’ve built up self esteem as a programmer, you will be able to ace any gathering you attend.
Depending on your area of expertise, there are a variety of programming languages that you would have the chance to work with. Relatively simple languages like Pearl and Python create code that is highly readable. Even people with minimal background knowledge can read the code without much effort. However, the C++ language, being the predecessor of all, is an extremely technical language and requires a great attention span and accuracy.
Regardless of the language being used, programmers develop a knack for being detail-oriented based on the complexity of workflows. In order to run flawless code, developers must check the syntax thoroughly and catch even the tiniest errors before launching. Once you learn the habit of reading the code carefully, you will cut down on the number of bugs and errors in your code.
Building software is a complex task coupled with hard work and a lot of effort. But a lack of attention to detail can result in a lot of inconsistencies causing you to design the code all over again. To maintain a close eye to details, make it a habit to test the code. This process usually involves a unit test or a writing-based test. Running your code through different tests ensures the robustness of your work while minimizing errors.
After running through the relevant tests, take some time out to self-review. Go through all the code carefully, and check to see if anything has been missed. While doing the review, make notes about the changes you make so that you can always track your progress later on.
An eye for detail is a bonus point for managing everyday events. It could be anything from a small trip you’re taking to a big annual office dinner you are in charge of. People having a knack for keen observation of details are more likely to keep lists to help organize tasks. An attentive mindset is a big plus point for making event arrangements, as you don’t miss out on tiny details.
Programming is perhaps one of the most creative careers in the market. Learning a new language just to create code for something innovative really makes you think outside the box. Even if you are fixing minor bugs, you are coming up with unique ideas to tackle obstacles. In this way you are creating digital content rather than just consuming it.
As you go through everyday tasks, you start thinking about ways to make mundane things exciting. Going the extra mile to make something interesting is definitely an innovative real-life skill that enables you to have a voice of your own. Creativity doesn’t just spark overnight; it takes active time and effort on your part. In order to build that innovative streak, you can try a few different side projects.
Begin by learning a new language—this opens up your abstract thinking capabilities and enables you to link together different mediums of expression. Apart from adding to your language skills, try to analyze everything in a critical manner. Questioning assumptions is the first step to starting your creative process. Once you establish the ability to build your own innovative perspectives, use that to come up with simpler solutions. A streamlined thinking process will refine your coding skills and help you master your area of interest.
In your everyday life, there are many situations that require you to go that extra mile. It can be the smallest things like thinking of a gift for someone or important stuff like launching a personal brand. By simply putting in a bit of effort, you can come up with a unique idea that will make a lasting impact. As a programmer you do it at work everyday. It should not be difficult to make that transition to personal life and launch an outstanding brand yourself!
Due to the nature of the job, programmers cannot function without a robust strategy for time management. This is mainly because of external stakeholders who demand that the task be completed by a deadline. In order to successfully complete projects on time, programmers develop an ability to anticipate possible roadblocks that may arise along the way.
In addition to the minimum time required to finish a project, a programmer has to take into account the chances of last-minute crashing and fast-tracking. Being able to incorporate unforeseen factors into decision-making requires excellent command over time and project management.
It is perfectly all right if you are struggling to manage time and designate tasks in the beginning of your career. Just remember to stay focused and persistent with a clear-cut mindmap. Precise planning is the key to seamless time management. When you devise a rough schedule, it becomes easier to tackle tasks.
Next, learn to prioritize—Don’t spend too much time on redundant tasks with no hopeful outcome. After you set up a plan, hold yourself accountable for the results. Were you able to complete all tasks by the given deadline? If not, then investigate what you can do to improve.
Working under pressure with coding assignments—is not an easy task. That is why programmers have a great command of controlling their nerves under pressure. Time management is an excellent skill that comes in handy for taking charge of daily tasks. For instance you, you want to establish a healthy lifestyle by registering for a sport at the gym. Besides commitment, the only skill you need to make this work is highly effective time management.
Resilience is one of the most important real-life skills one can learn. Luckily, programmers develop a mindset to bounce back strong after adversity. When you are coding, resilience is not learned, it’s just a natural byproduct of the whole process. Constant failure can get frustrating at times—stay strong. Try to think of the obstacles along the way as a learning experience that will not only enhance your skills but will instill patience and steadfastness.
By nature, programming requires a lot of trial and error. It is hardly possible that you’ll do a good job of coding the first time you try it. The time spent in debugging and fixing your mistakes helps build perseverance to accomplish bigger tasks. On the other hand, there are external factors that may mount up to stressful situations. One of the toughest hurdles is the high pressure to deliver the end product without any glitches. Then comes the strenuous test phase and feedback.
At the end of the day, you realize programming is a tough job, but it teaches you some great real-life skills along the way. Where else would you motivate yourself to fix code and end up with a new product once it’s done. Remember it’s OK to fail. What matters is how you cope with problems you face during work.
Don’t Make Coding Just About Code
Programming is a tough job. No one said it was going to be easy, but if it weren’t challenging, there wouldn’t be much to learn from it. When you apply for a developer position, you think the most you will get out of the job is a decent salary. That’s where you are wrong. Coding is a complex skill that can teach you real-life traits along the way.
There is more to coding than just code. It opens up avenues for abstract thinking and makes you come up with ideas for making the complex simple. The best way to gain a holistic coding experience is to join a networking circle. There are many online tech communities available that help you improve your coding abilities.
Keep reminding yourself of how much you have to learn. Even if you get the code right, explore options on what could’ve been done better—time management or maybe more creativity. At the end of the day, you are your biggest strength, and you can either produce code that merely does the job or you can produce code that helps you take away skills that actually help you become a better programmer.