Become an “Effective” Programmer.

As a software engineer, you might want any number of things out of your job – a steady paycheck, the opportunity to work on interesting projects, a springboard to the next better job, or maybe you just like hanging out with other programmers. But by “effective”, I mean the ability to complete projects in a timely manner with the expected quality.

Programmer

To become an effective programmer you need to have following things -

1. Understand The “Requirements” - The first step in becoming an effective programmer is to ensure that you are spending your time wisely. And there is no greater waste of time than in working on something that is not useful or never shipped.

2. Build Early - Get a demonstrable system working as early as possible. This means establishing the interface first, whether it’s an API or user interface, and stubbing the encapsulated functionality as necessary. This allows your “customers” to check it out, by exercising the user interface or writing code to the API, and any inconsistencies or omissions in the initial spec can be detected early.

3. Deliver Often - Once you have something working, don’t just leave it as a “proof of concept”. Let people play with it, see their reactions, and let this guide and prioritize your development. In particular get the software into the hands of the QA staff as soon as possible and feed them regular builds, preferably at scheduled intervals. This will help them feel involved in the full life-cycle of the project. The highest priority should be given to issues that prevent them from using the product, e.g. crashes or dead-end paths – you want them to cover as much as possible as soon as possible and get a feel for the whole product so design issues can be identified early.

4. Keep It Real - Keep your software running in as close to a shipping state as possible. You never know when you’ll have to demo the system, send out an evaluation copy, or even deliver (“OK, time to wrap things up!”)

5. Understand Your Code - Life is full of wonderful mysteries, but your code is not the place for them. You don’t have to know how your car works – if the engine starts making strange noises, you drop it off the mechanic. When it comes to your code, if you don’t understand how it works, or doesn’t work, no one will.

6. Optimal Programming – Try to write code as optimized as possible both in speed of execution & lines of code. Try to make your code as reusable as possible.

7. Plan Your Progress – You wouldn’t just hop into your car before deciding where you want to go, right? And probably you have a route in mind before you start driving, too. Similarly, before you sit down at our computer, you should know what you want to accomplish that day and have some idea how.

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