Sunday, October 09, 2016

improve my coding skills?

The questioner wrote, "Besides practicing, what else can I do to improve my coding skills?"

I took up the challenge with a warning:

Be careful of practice, because if that’s all you do, you’ll just be reinforcing your bad habits.

Instead, read and understand the coding of others. Reviewing code is the fastest way to improve your own code. If the reviewed code is well done, you learn good techniques. If it’s badly done, you learn what things to avoid.

If you’re on an Agile team, reviewing the code of others will be a natural part of your work, and you’ll also learn from others’ reviews of your work.

In any case, one of the very best ways to read and understand the code of others is by participating in software testing. By testing, you learn what really works and what really causes trouble.

And, of course, you should always take the opportunity not just to study code, but to watch others actually producing that code. What tools do they use? How do they use them? What’s their thinking process? What do they read to learn?

Finally, read some good books about thinking, reviewing, and learning. I’ve written some, and my own books refer to others. (

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