5 Skills Every Software Developer Should Practice

No matter which field you work in, all software developers will be faced with the same challenges at some point in their career. Thankfully by practicing the skills mentioned in this article you can effectively deal with these problems. I have found that the skills mentioned in this article apply to developers of all skill levels to a varying degree.

Writing Clean Code

This should come as no surprise that writing clean code is a very important skill for software developers of all levels. Everyone knows that they should write ‘clean code’ but not many people truly understand what this means. In most cases, writing clean code means the following things:

  • You use variable names that make sense, rather than irrelevant or confusing names.
  • You don’t write redundant code, keep reading to learn how to avoid this.
  • You include helpful comments in your code

Data Structures

One of the most fundamental pillars of software development is understanding how data is stored. More precisely, in order to solve a problem developers must understand which method of storing data will be the smartest. For example, if a set of values must be stored in a particular order, an array might be the most practical. However, if we don’t care about the order of elements we might use a dictionary (depending on the language). This is just one example of why understanding data structures is a very important skill.

It should be noted that there are many other types of data structures beyond just arrays and dictionaries. For instance you might also work with linked lists, stacks, queues, hash tables, trees, and heaps, among many more.

Algorithms

Your ability to solve problems efficiently will largely depend on your ability to think algorithmically. NO this does not mean you must memorize how to implement each algorithm by heart. Rather, developers should understand what makes an algorithm efficient and effective. A great way to practice developing your own algorithms is by using a site such as LeetCode or HackerRank. Algorithms offer efficient solutions to a wide variety of problems. Which makes learning how to create your own algorithms an extremely important skill. It is also very likely that you will need to develop your own algorithms in order to land a job as a software developer.

In case you haven’t begun studying algorithms yet, here are a few common sorting algorithms to get started:

  • Merge Sort
  • Selection Sort
  • Bubble Sort
  • Quick Sort
  • Insertion Sort

Writing Useful Comments

Believe it or not, I was once paid a bonus for writing helpful comments within a project that I worked on. Obviously this shouldn’t be your primary motivation behind including comments in your code. However, it goes to show you just how much other people appreciate it when you write comments in your code. When writing comments in your code, you should aim to explain each code block rather than an entire file as a whole. Keep in mind most people would prefer that you write too many comments rather than too little.

A few tips for writing useful comments include:

  • Keep them short and simple (nobody wants to read a paragraph)
  • Only explain blocks of code that need to be explained, unnecessary comments could actually make your code more confusing.

Object Oriented Programming

Object oriented programming is the core of many programming languages including Java, C#, C++, Objective-C, among many others. While some languages rely on object oriented programming more than others, it is a useful skill for any language that you work with.

Object oriented programming means you write code that can be reused by simply defining an object rather than writing duplicate code. This enables developers to pursue further design patterns such as modular programming. In addition to reducing the overall size of the codebase.

One More Thing

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