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How to become a better Developer?

by Emily Gorsky

The evolution of computer science over the past two decades has transformed web development from a singular, self-contained department, to one of the fastest growing professions in the world.

This is unsurprising, given that today, software systems power everything from our mobile phones, to our cars, and even home appliances like our fridges, heating systems and doorbells. The increasing demand for computer software and applications has subsequently created a high demand for expert developers, programmers and coders. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for software developers is projected to grow by a staggering 24% from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

But with this growth comes greater challenges for developers. Compared with just a few years ago, programmers and developers are expected to offer solutions to increasingly complex problems. While certain frameworks have made things easier, many developers must also be creative problem-solvers, strong communicators and highly adaptable, willing learners.

Becoming a better developer can open a world of opportunities, from greater career prospects to branching out into emerging industries. With that in mind, here are four ways you can improve your skills and become a better developer:

1. Stay up to date with emerging trends

The fast-moving world of tech has enabled so many great new things to happen, in a relatively short space of time. From an increased focus on cybersecurity, to virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI), the world is shifting to encourage a greater understanding of how these technologies can change our lives.

As a coder, you are not only at the forefront of these technologies but the creator of new concepts and designs. It is therefore important to stay up to date with all the latest technologies and understand how they are currently being implemented. The potential of these new technologies is then only harnessed by thinking outside the box – for example, virtual reality exists way beyond gaming and is also being applied across industries like education, medicine and construction.

2. Work on your own personal projects

Coding is a unique skill in that it relies on creativity, just as much as technical know-how. Creative problem solving is one of the more exciting challenges of coding and there’s nothing more encouraging than working on your own passion projects to help you learn new skills and create something that is truly your own. Whether that’s creating an app to make your own life easier, or helping a friend design a tool for their personal use, it can be rewarding to put your skills towards something that isn’t strictly work-related. These newly developed skills can then help you to become a better developer and could even help drive your career forward.

3. Be multi-lingual

If your goal is to become more employable (or more valuable as an employee), it can help to focus on learning additional programming languages. JavaScript, Python, C++, Ruby and SQL are just a few examples of some of the most in-demand languages right now. You can also scope out job listings to find out what languages and skills they list in their ads so you can have a better idea of where to focus your efforts. With the rapid growth of technology, these languages are constantly evolving, so familiarising yourself with them and even practising them, can make you highly valuable to current and future employers.

4. Learn from other developers

There is a growing community of developers online, all of whom have vastly different levels of skills and experience. Whether you are seeking a mentor to shadow, or just want someone to teach you how to do something new, it’s a good idea to engage with other developers, both online and offline. No two programmers are the same, everyone has unique strengths and abilities, which means learning from each other can strengthen your skill set and make you an even more valuable developer.

Upgrade your skills or fill in your knowledge gaps

If you’re a developer looking to learn a variety of skills in coding and web development, the Open Colleges IT, programming and developer learning library is a great place to start. This library contains over 3,110+ digital assets to help existing programmers develop a range of skills, from mobile development, through to HTML5, Java, Python, C+ and more. Assets include video short courses, audiobooks and eBooks, which not only focus on programming languages but also present topics such as Cloud Core, Software Testing and Secure Programming.

If you’re ready to improve your coding skills, head over to our IT Learning Library and subscribe today to access these practical resources.

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