There are a few things that separate good from great, a fine line between just getting through, and being truly effective. This applies to almost anything, and especially web development.
So what does being effective in web development mean? What are the habits that you need to develop to become great? Let’s take a look:
1) EFFECTIVE DEVELOPERS USE BUG TRACKERS
Be it a software, mobile or web app, any development project needs to have bug and issue tracking services. It’s more practical than manually looking through thousands, or even million lines of code.
Using bug trackers will not only improve your workflow. It will also make your product better and more efficient.
2) AN EFFECTIVE DEVELOPER FIXES AND TESTS
Once there was a bright architect who was asked to design a library. He built it so beautifully that it was lauded as a masterpiece. However, when it was finished, it began crumbling down because he forgot to take account of the weight of the books.
Like the architect, will you forget to take account of rudimentary details? If so, it will mean one thing: a nightmare. That is why, as the developer, you need to test the website, app or software you are creating before launch.
3) AN EFFECTIVE DEVELOPER BUILDS WITH AN END GOAL IN MIND
Quick question: which would you prefer to be, a developer who works fast and reckless or the one who takes it slowly but surely?
Over the short term, immediacy will prevail over the slow. However, in the long run, a reckless developer’s end-product will almost certainly be buggy and difficult to maintain.
I’m not saying that you should be complacent about the time pressure put on you as a developer. The point is that effectiveness means sacrificing a few hours to produce something that will have longevity.
4) AN EFFECTIVE DEVELOPER OPTIMIZES
There is a mantra that I follow in almost anything I do: Make it work; make it fast; make it beautiful.
As a developer, the first thing you need to focus on is making your project work. Next improve its speed. And lastly, worry about aesthetics.
This formula will allow you to create effective products that are both functional and pleasing to the eye.
5) AN EFFECTIVE DEVELOPER BUILDS FOR BOTH ENDS
You may be reading from the perspective of a frontend or backend developer (or maybe, both) but no matter what your role is, you need to remember that both ends deserve equal consideration.
For most sites, a front-end without a backend is useless, and a backend without a front-end is even worse.
Most importantly, they need to work together. It’s a symbiotic relationship and an effective developer is aware of that.
The world is a better place when people work together.
6) AN EFFECTIVE DEVELOPER DOESN’T MULTI-TASK
Multi-tasking is usually seen as a sign of productivity and versatility. However, that popular impression is not entirely true:
In 2008, a Stanford researcher named Clifford Nass found that multi-taskers were less productive because they used their minds inefficiently. Nass also found out that multi-taskers are often out-performed by those who carry out tasks one at a time.
So, don’t do two or more tasks simultaneously, finish one before going on to another. Oh, and don’t play games, listen to music, or watch T.V. when you’re working either.
7) AN EFFECTIVE DEVELOPER IS ORGANIZED
Being able to properly organize your work helps because it makes error tracking easier, and makes you more productive.
By organised, I mean the way you arrange your code. Sure, having a strucutred schedule and a tidy desk help too, but what really matters is how you arrange your code.
It’s not easy to ensure that code is organised. It’s tempting to drop in a hack or two, knowing that we can take it out later, but that way lies spaghetti code — and good luck reusing that.
At some point, code will become disorganized, but reusing and refactoring code is a major aspect of development and the longer it remains organized the easier your task will be.
Don’t beat yourself up if it takes a while to pick up these habits. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a lifetime of effective development won’t happen overnight. But keep at it, and before you know if you’ll be a kickass developer. Good luck!