How to Become a Better Software Engineer: Proven Tips and Strategies

Transform your skills and become a better software engineer with these proven tips and strategies. From coding to communication, these tips have got you covered.

How to Become a Better Software Engineer: Proven Tips and Strategies
Picture by Caleb Jones

Back in the time, I would have never imagined having a job as a developer, challenging myself every day to be a better worker, and growing my skillset. This sounds a bit obvious, I know, but not everyone is passionate about his job, and in software development, this could bring a stalemate in the growth process.

In a fast-evolving world like ours, I feel the need to be a better software engineer day by day, since facing challenging problems is what I like, and to solve them I realized it is necessary to keep learning something new, every single day.

This brought me to search for methods, approaches, and best practices to make this step daily. I read and looked at people way smarter than me, and I found a way to keep enhancing my skills. I’d like to share how I still approach this process, and of course, hear from you any suggestions to still improve it.

Focus your time in the beginning

Taking a period of your life to study and focus on good practices and new technologies is something I consider essential to make the first big step in this learning process. After graduating as a Software Engineer in Italy, this time came for me through Codeworks, an immersive coding boot camp that was three months long where I had the time to specialize myself.

I worked hard every day to learn good coding techniques from developers who were more experienced than me. Those months not only gave me the chance to reorganize my ideas for my future but instilled in me the ability to learn, which is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.

Stephen R. Covey

Learn to teach

Something else I would have never imagined after my studies at Codeworks was the option to stay as an instructor. Simply, I thought I didn’t have the right English level to teach other people and the fact that I strongly doubted my skills (a bit of impostor syndrome, which is a common feeling for developers).

But with that experience, while improving my English level (still working on it), I soon realized how much I was learning in my teaching activities, repeating concepts and digging deeper every time. This is something I recommend to every developer, it will help you to get more consciousness of your real programming skills. If you can’t teach in person, write blog posts about what you’re learning — it will have a similar effect in enhancing your knowledge.

Read at least one tech article every day

I know the “I don’t have enough time” answer is good protection against our natural laziness, but if we don’t force ourselves to learn something new every day, getting better as engineers become a hard path! Reading an article from people who write about our programming language or patterns we are interested in is the best way to learn something new every day.

You can do it, every day, in just 10 minutes.

Start searching for best practices

When we get a problem we naturally start looking for solutions. Usually, we easily find them online, but are we sure it’s the best way to do it? Are we looking for the best practice which will make me a better developer, or only something to quickly solve the problem?

Easy answer, whenever we face a new problem, our search query should start with “Best practices to…” or “Advanced patterns to…”. This is what I do to learn from top developers and transform my code into professional quality.

Work on your ideas and passions

The best way to be involved and look to make something great is when we are working on our ideas. When our work is something we like and generated by our passions or interest, we are 100% focused on doing it perfectly. Take an hour every week to work on something you like, and you’ll see how much more profitable that invested time is than wasting it on something unrelated to our interests.

Sometimes you have to take a risk

Never was anything great achieved without danger.

Niccolo Machiavelli

Staying in the safe zone of techniques you understand can get you by for a while, but often it is necessary to take a risk and waste part of your time investigating different approaches. Sometimes you’ll realize you just wasted the entire day on something that will never work, others you’ll create qualitative code with advanced patterns worthy of a senior developer. That’s a day when you learn something.

Wrapping up

Perfect strategies to become a great software engineer? They don’t exist. It’s something so personal that each one of us should find his way to get better and become a real professional. I exposed how I’m working on myself, I’d love to hear what you do to become better engineers!

Last updated: