Best practices which will help you in becoming the best developer

The present century is known as an information and communication era. Every year a large number of young and fresh graduates workforce join the industry as developers. They are starting this journey by practising the coding standards that they have learned during their academic life which may not be the one followed in the industry. However, it is always better to inculcate the best practices in programming from the early days of student life. If you are looking to make a career as a developer whose work is acknowledged by his senior, lead, managers, and the client for this, you need to follow the best and standard practices while writing the code.

The Golden Rule: AlwaysFirst understand the requirement and chalk out a rough guideline what are the steps to be followed to fulfill the requirement:

Whenever a developer gets a task assigned, he/she should first understand the business needs and technical requirements. Once the requirement is understood chalk out the way, you will go ahead to fulfil the requirements given to you.

While coding, follow the best and standard practices for the language you would be using:

Each programming language is having its own set of best practices that one should follow while coding it. These practices are defined by those who have developed the language.

Follow a specific file naming, class naming, and function naming convention:

While doing a project follow a uniform file naming, class naming, and function naming convention. The naming of file, class, and function should be meaningful, and it should reflect what exactly operations/functionality are included in the file/ class/function.

Use proper indentation while coding:

A code can be called a good code if anyone else can read it and understand which operations it performs. Indentation helps to identify the start and end of each block of condition/looping statement. Proper indentation is very helpful when you try to debug the time.

Use comments to represent what operation the code performs:

While you are writing code, try to use comments. At the start of the file, use comments to mention what will be achieved by executing the file. Before writing a conditional statement or looping statement describes the reason for which it would be used. Also, mention the variables that are being declared and what do they capture and represent in the file.

Debug the program for identifying any initial errors:

Once the coding/module is written, debug it to identify whether any bugs are present and all the operations are performed correctly,and make sure no unnecessary variable declarations and memory are utilized.

Use memory allocation and deallocation efficiently:

Use memory allocation and deallocation properly. One should focus on using the concept of constant, global, and local variables effectively. The memory allocated to the class and variable should be deallocated at the end of the class and file so as the program does not become heavy in terms of memory conception.

Check the dependencies of classes, packages, methods, field:

The dependencies can hamper the re-usability of the code. One should focus on making sure that the dependencies of the classes, packages, methods, and fields allow you maximum re-usability. One should try to avoid dependencies.

One should try to make code reusable:

Many of the programming languages used in industry now are an object-oriented programming language. The OOPs concept gives the developer more freedom and control, reusing the code. Developers should try to follow more OOPs concepts while writing the code.

Strictly adhere to the design document and functional documents:

One should strictly adhere to the design document and the functional document while completing the project if changes are being made in design or functionality, the same changes must be mentioned in the design and functional documents.

Programmers should perform rigorous unit testing and semi-regression testing:

The one who writes the code is the first person to test it. As a developer, a rigorous unit testing should be performed at the start itself. When the developers integrate different modules similarly semi-regression testing should be performed as the developers are the one who knows exactly what is going to happen as they are the one who has written the code and integrated them together.

Code review should be performed on a regular basis:

Developers working together should perform a review on a regular basis, say weekly. Code reviews will help to make the code more readable,and will also help to remove any bugs or errors which might be missed by the developer who has written the code. The one who writes the code may not find a bug, but if someone else can identify the same, the probability of error-free code increases. It also makes sure that someone else in the team knows the code which is very helpful when the developer who worked on a specific module is on leave so someone else can make sure that the work doesn’t get stuck. Code reviews can be performed by a team member, senior, or team lead, and they can ensure that the coding standard and protocols have been followed properly.

Code Optimization:

The code optimization can be performed by a developer who could be lead and supervised by the senior and new developers might not possess the necessary skills and experience for optimizing the code. Code Optimization helps to improve the quality of code,and its efficiency by reducing the number of lines in a program, less execution time and consume less memory.

Create a code document while coding:

Currently, every organization is shifting towards agile methodology due to which there is a lack of documentation as more focus is towards rapid development. So a developer should still try to develop a code document where he/she can mention all the details regarding the file naming, class naming, function naming, and variable declaration and the operations that are performed by respective individual files and the details regarding the changes done during the project. This document will help the other team members if a team member is absent to go ahead and continue her work and the project deadlines are met perfectly.

Try to keep the code simple:

The developer should try to keep the code simple as a complex code may lead to error, and others may not be able to understand if they require to understand the functionality. A simple code may result in more lines however it will facilitate other developers to understand the code and provide them with a good code reading experience.

Use Variables efficiently:

One of the best practices for good programming is using variables efficiently. The use of unnecessary variables should be avoided as it may lead to confusion. One should use the concept of constants, global variables, and local variables while writing the code. This use will lead to efficient memory usage and reduction of execution time. A strict variable naming convention should be followed while declaring the variable, and the variable name should be meaningful with respect to the value that it is going to store.

Make the code correct first and fast later:

The developer should first focus on the functionality of the code. The code should execute and perform all the operation that is supposed to do. Once the operations are performed correctly, then the developer can go ahead with the required changes to make the code run fast.

Keep the backup of the Code and the code document with the appropriate date and time stamp:

Take a regular backup of the code and code document with an appropriate date and time stamp. It is useful to understand how and when the changes were made in the code without losing the previous code. It comes in handy when the data of the code is lost due to some technical or human error.

Keep the installation structure simple:

The developer needs to ensure that when the project is completed,and the end-user tries to install it the instruction and the steps required for the installation are easy to understand. It should not consume unnecessary space and redundant data.

Never stop learning:

A good developer should never stop the learning process. As the time moves ahead changes occur and to make sure that one is not left behind one should never stop learning. Learning should be a continuous process and as the technological changes are happening very rapidly so to survive and thrive in this competitive era one should never stop learning.

Help your colleagues:

Knowledge is a wealth which never lost nor reduced. It can only increase and it should not be kept with yourself. One should always help his / her colleagues by which they will be able to grow along with. It gives a good sense of  work environment and a healthy relationship between the team members.

Never write the code when you are mentally tired take a break:

When you are mentally tired never write a code; just take a break and relax. When you are mentally tired you are prone to make more mistakes while coding which may lead to more errors in the code which ultimately takes more time to identify them and remove it. During the break, one should engage him/her self in any activity which may make them feel relaxed and all the stress is reduced.

Take out some time to nurture your hobby:

No matter how busy one is; he or she should take out some time to pursue what they love to do. It makes one feel relaxed and it also helps in increasing the focus and concentration level, which ultimately results in an increase in productivity and the quality of the work.

Error Handling:

A good Developer writes not only great code but also makes sure that the program or application does not terminate unexpectedly. Most of the programming languages do provide error handling or exception handling.

Conclusion:

To summarize, anyone can become the best developer by following the best practices, using proper comments and writing simple and bug-free codes. Though the number of points stated is many, by following just 5 to 6 points will also help you to improve your coding. The most important point is to never stop learning, if you stop learning you will stop your growth; as a developer stagnancy leads to pausing the growth in the career and makes you just a liability in the team.

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About Author

Pukhraj Shrishrimal

Pukhraj is a customer success manager with an experience of 1+ years in this position with a prior experience of working in different tech domains and languages such as Python, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Java, Selenium webdriver, DB2 and Data Science & Analytics. He has worked as an independent freelancer more than 5+ years of experience. Also, he is a certified professional with certifications like IBM DB2 and ISTQB certified with hands on experience of 2+ years of experience in each technology domain. He is a tech oriented person who loves to reading books about technology and he loves to riding bikes.
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