Written on 17. April 2016 by Lennart Christensen

5 quick tips to improve your web development skills

Improve your skills as a developer

Web development is a rapidly changing industry. As a developer, there's no excuse not to keep up. You need to constantly learn and improve your skills if you want to stay on top of industry trends and ahead of your competitors. And if you're like most developers, you've probably looked at your code and wondered how you could do it better.

Whether you're working on web development of online business cards, or large unique projects, the old adage, "practice makes perfect" applies. In this article, we share five tips that you can implement to become a better coder.

Five quick tips to become a better web developer

No matter where you are in your development career, there is always room for improvement. Beginners need to improve their skills to become better at their craft. And experienced developers should always strive to optimize their code for readability, performance, and maintainability.

1. Write codes every day

If you ask any experienced developer for their best advice to improve your skills, almost everyone will tell you to write code every single day. The advice may sound obvious, but the simple truth is that it works.

Just as you get better at anything by exercising regularly, you also become a better developer if you write code often. This will allow you to catch your mistakes, and it will also improve your writing skills, reducing the chances of making mistakes.

Remember, this doesn't mean you have to come up with new projects every day. But it does mean practicing consistently.

And while you're at it, take the time to learn. Learn shortcuts and try to use it without relying on the mouse or your touchpad. You'll be amazed at how much more productive you'll be when you actually know all the features that your main coding tool has.

2. Work with others on web development

Working with other developers in teams helps you immerse yourself in your codes. No matter how you choose to collaborate with other developers, it inevitably leads to understanding your codes better. It also exposes you to other people's code, which can show you a new way of doing things.

Plus, you'll collaborate with others on fun projects that help you get a second look at your codes. You'll also learn to work better in a team and get more hands-on experience.

3. Be inspired as a critic

Get inspired. Of course don't copy, but you can get a lot of inspiration from looking at other people's work, it makes your code even more powerful AND effective.

There is a difference between seeing design as a fan and seeing design as a critic. Seeing as a fan is fine. But seeing things as a critic will actually help you improve your skills. So what's the difference? The difference is: Fans say things like "I like that design." Critics say things like "I like that design because of the mood the color scheme creates" OR "I like that design because of the way it combines the parallax effect with the full-width image." Seeing design as a critic helps you learn what specific elements you can do better or work on. I like to find code snippets. Personally, it's the technique that helped me improve. It gave me inspiration so I learned to incorporate the specific styles, elements, frameworks, etc. while maintaining my own voice.

4. Challenge yourself with a new skill

If you are a WordPress developer, you can try yourself to by creating a plugin.

There is no shortage of development guides on the web. And while some of the new trends in the development industry don't last long, there's no need to stay in your comfort zone. Don't forget that in many cases, these guides on the web are written by developers with years of experience. They also often highlight new features in new technology, languages and APIs.

5. Plan regular breaks with web development

Coding every day is extremely beneficial for optimising your skills, however be careful not to overdo it and plan regular downtime too. As ironic as it may sound, time that produces nothing will actually make you more productive.

If you work constantly, you risk burning out and living under stress. This can result in sloppy coding, missed deadlines and lost opportunities. Your ability to think clearly and solve problems will deteriorate, and eventually your health will suffer too.

Therefore, it is crucial to plan regular downtime. If you find that you can't break away from work, schedule it in your calendar and set a reminder to stop working for a certain period of time. This way you can take a break without being overwhelmed by guilt, and you may even find it gives you the motivation to push through the most intense coding sessions.

 

Final thoughts

Before you go out and implement the above tips, keep in mind that programming languages and technologies come and go. While this is a good reason to become familiar with as many languages as possible, you will become a much better developer if you spend your time studying and mastering the fundamentals of coding.

The simple truth is that the fundamentals never change, and therefore it is better to pay more attention to the underlying architecture than to focus on mastering the latest new features coming out in a particular language. And when you have a firm grasp of the fundamentals, it becomes much easier to become king of your favorite language.

And if you look at all the ultra-talented web developers, it's important to remember that no matter how talented they are today, everyone was in your shoes at some point. And they didn't become champions overnight. They worked hard and practiced to get to where they are.

Happy Web Development!

Vh Lennart