How to Improve your Programming Skills

As the subtitle of this blog indicates, I am a self taught programmer.

Like most self taught coders, I suffer from the horrible feeling that I am missing something in my programming education. As such I am continually striving for improvement. But how do you achieve improvement? Where do you start? What do you do? Is there any set methodology?

Searching the internet looking for direction yields a bunch of different advice, but it is mostly really common sense: write more code; read more code; learn a new language; do coding exercises; etc.

This is obviously all good advice, but it misses the heart of the problem: focus.

It is all well and good learning a new language, just as it is well and good completing some exercises, but this is ultimately busy work if you don’t know what particular aspects of your coding you want to improve.

Improving your ability to code complex algorithms is very different to improving your ability to code complex front-end user interfaces.

If you are aiming to improve the former, then no amount of learning the latter will help.

Programming is now a vast field, and it is only once you have decided what aspects of programming it is that you want to improve, where to apply your focus, can you truly start to improve.

So, what areas of your coding skills do you want to improve? Define that, then answering the question of how to improve becomes much clearer.