Productivity tips from a tech professional to help level up our skills
Published on September 13, 2021
In this week's article, Michael from the HTML All The Things Podcast joins us on a Scrimba Livestream to provide us with valuable tips to help us increase our productivity and level up our tech skills!
Why it's important for developers to learn how to Google
As a programmer, you will often run into issues when coding, such as syntax errors, getting unintended results, and bugs to name a few.
It has become common practice for developers to use Google to search for solutions when they run into programming problems.
If you know how to Google accurately, Mike tells us that we are just several seconds away from finding our solutions.
Learning how to Google accurately will promptly assist us when resolving issues and relieve us of worry about memorizing syntax.
"Learning how to Google is not just to assist you with memory retention; Google is used to expand on concepts."
-Mike HTML All of The Things
Using Google to expand on concepts
Mike gives us an example of writing code to loop through an array.
The concept of a "for loop" is to iterate through an array.
Googling by concept will provide you with alternative ways to solve problems.
Advanced Google Search Operators
Did you know that there are advanced search operators for Google?
During the Scrimba Livestream, Mike introduces us to "Advanced Google Search Operators."
Utilizing advanced search parameters will significantly enhance our searches for solutions while using Google.
On my Gatsby blog website, selftaughttxg.com, I do not have a search capability. Now that I know about Google's advanced search operators, I can use Google to search my website exclusively!
Limit results to those from a specific website.
Here is the link to Googles Search Operators provided by Mike during the Livestream: Google Search Operators: The Complete List (42 Advanced Operators)
What if you can't find solutions using Google?
Mike tells us as we evolve as developers and our problems become more specific, not finding solutions to our problems by Googling will become more common.
When we can't find the solutions to our problems by Googling, Mike advises:
- Asking our peers for help
- Join a community ( Discord or Slack group )
- Seach closed & open issues on GitHub ( on the subject )
- Read the documentation ( on the subject )
As developers, we spend a lot of time searching the web for solutions to our programming problems.
When we find solutions by searching the web, we will often have to refer to them again in the future. But how do we keep track of our search results?
Scrimba host Leanne introduces us to a Google Chrome extension called Grepper.
Grepper: The Query & Answer System for the Ambitious Developer
Be sure to check out the website for more details about this useful developer tool: codegrepper.com
For additional Googling tips, be sure to listen to episode 153 of the HTML All The Things Podcast, "Googling Tips for Developers"!
Be sure to watch the Scrimba Livestream!
I was privileged to have my question answered by Mike on the Scrimba Livestream!
My question: "Will having an 'online presence' from blogging, YouTube, and other active social media benefit you when applying for a first developer position for career changers not coming from an IT background?"
Mike's answer: "I think 100 percent, yes!"
Mike explains that having an online presence will help you stand out from all other applicants when seeking employment opportunities.
As a tech lead, while interviewing, Mike sought out candidates that create passionate projects.
He provides an example of a candidate who created a website for their D&D group, including a feature where the players could upload their character sheets and modify them.
Mike explains that a project like this stands out from typical Bootcamp course projects and proves that the applicant is passionate about web development.
I wonder what interviewers would think about my La Roc-Cade project? La Roc-Cade is an arcade game website with the long-term goals of implementing log-in authorization, multiplayer games, and leader boards, all incorporated as I learn the technologies!
Here is a link to my La Roc-Cade article! La Roc-Cade
Mike also addresses candidates that blog
For example, Mike tells us, if an interview question arises about iterating through an array, you may have written several articles on the topic that you can showcase to the interviewer.
Writing technical blog articles proves that you understand the topics and that you are ready to teach them.
Mike also explains that building an online presence is a strategy he recently implemented to find employment opportunities.
Be vocal during interviews
Michael has experience interviewing people, and he tells us that he "loves to see a person's troubleshooting strategy."
Being vocal during interviews allows the person who is interviewing to hear your thought process.
Being vocal during interviews is especially important if your find yourself in an interview to does not allow you to Google.
To best prepare for an interview that does not allow you to Google, Mike tells us to find out the interviewer's topics.
With the topics covered for an interview
- Focus on it like it's a test in school
- Learn it like it's a test in school
- Use it like it's a test in school
- Forget it like it's a test in school
Mike concedes that we will most likely not find ourselves in a situation where we cannot use Google during an interview. What is essential, Mike tells us, is to be vocal and step through how we would solve the problems.
"The techniques that you use to solve a problem are almost as important as actually solving the problem."
-Mike HTML All of The Things
How to transition from a Junior to a Senior developer
If you are already a Junior developer, Mike tells us, the best way you can "level up your skills" is to build side projects.
Just taking courses, such as Udemy, will only teach you "best practices."
When you create your own projects, you will be able to apply the Googling skills that Mike talks about; creating your own projects will teach you to become a problem solver.
Mike tells us, as a developer, you are a problem solver.
"Go and code! It's the best way to level up as a junior coder!"
-Mike HTML All of The Things
Mikes additional tips
- Commit often
- Budget time for code
- Side Project vs. Side Hustle
- Recommended IDE
- Learn the foundations before a Framework
- Give yourself 30 minutes
When working on projects using Git, Mike advises us to commit often and write meaningful commit messages.
Mike explains that people will look at our commits, and neglecting his advice will result in raising a red flag to potential employers!
Budget time for programming
Find the hours of the day when you can get the most amount of work done, and then budget that time for programming.
The goal is to program during the time that you will be most productive.
Side Hustle vs. Side Project
Mike tells us the difference between a side hustle and a side project is that a side hustle is intended to generate income, whereas a side project is not.
Side hustles include
- And other considerations
When working on side projects, Mike recommends creating projects that are easy for us to complete. The reason, he explains, is that we will spend approximately 40% of our time building the project and about 60% of the time marketing the project.
A side project, on the other hand, focuses on the actual technology and the learning process.
Mike tells us that side projects are intended for learning and showcasing with the intent to land a job in the tech industry.
Mike, Leanne, and I recommend using Microsoft VS Code for your IDE (integrated development environment).
Microsoft VS Code is a free code editor many in the tech industry use.
Learn the foundations before a Framework
With a strong foundation in web design fundamentals, we will have a much easier time understanding and learning Frameworks and more.
Give yourself 30 minutes
While working, from his personal experience, Mike advises us to Give ourselves 30 minutes to try and solve problems before we ask for help.
Then when you ask for help, make sure to explain everything you already tried so that they know you put in the time and effort to prove that you are not just asking them random questions.
HTML All The Things Links
Mike tells us, as developers, we are problem solvers. Learning how to utilize Google, find our answers through documentation, and asking for help from our peers, will increase our productivity.
The best way you can "level up your tech skills" is to build side projects. Building side projects will help us learn the technologies we use and provide us with a portfolio for potential employers to view, ultimately giving us a competitive advantage when applying for jobs in tech!
Do you now primarily think of yourself as a problem solver? Did Mike's advice help you to become more productive and guide you in leveling up your skills? Please share the article and comment!
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