Developer productivity is not all about how many lines of code you can write in a day or how quickly you can complete a given task. And NO, there’s no single trait or silver bullet to help you to become a more productive developer. There are though practices, tricks and tools that you can employ to improve your productivity.
- Get a mentor
Interestingly the Internet has undermined mentorship, especially with those developers who think they can solve every problem themselves by using the Internet. Mentors matter – not only can they improve your understanding and knowledge, they can guide you on how to improve your productivity.
Many platforms offer code mentors for beginners and experienced developers. Mentorship is backed by industry experts who believe having a mentor helped them fast track their career.
- Work fewer hours
The whole idea of working fewer hours and being more productive is promoted by well-known bloggers like Itamar Turner-Trauring.
While this may sound counterintuitive to productivity, it’s not. Limiting the hours you work forces you to be more focused on the task and look for smarter solutions, making you more efficient and effective.
- Work on your own projects
Very often developers are stuck on one project, and this routine can easily become boring. Working on your own projects can be an excellent way to keep your mind fresh. Making this a hobby helps you grow as a developer by improving existing skills and learning new ones. And that improves productivity.
- Read books
Sadly, bookshelves at most workplaces are just set-dressing. You rarely see anyone reading one, especially not during work hours. Still, you have a computer and can read papers and most books through an e-reader. So get to it.
Books offer a unique view on managing projects or understanding programming language or technology. They are usually written by experienced successful developers who’ve been there and done that, and can provide great advice on avoiding the pitfalls along with top tips and short cuts.
Simply put, the more you read, the more you learn, the more you know, the more you can do, the more productive you’ll be.
- Minimize distractions
Email, ichat, Facebook, YouTube, TV, and even a cluttered desk can distract even the most dedicated developer.
Take time to manage distractions. Set aside breaks, close unnecessary applications and keep your environment tidy. A clean desk can actually boost productivity.
Even reducing the presence of toolbars in your text editor can help. Whatever you can do to bring your focus back to what you need to focus on can help.
As developers work on complex problems, interruptions are productivity killers. Joel Spolsky, the co-founder of SO summed it up simply, “it takes an average of 15 minutes to achieve productivity when participating in complex, software development related tasks.” Let people know when you don’t want to be interrupted.
- Automate time consuming tasks
Automation is the future. It helps you to focus on the bigger tasks by taking care of the monotonous ones – like if you need to compile the code or maybe migrate data into the database after every single change.
Typing in the code can be a daunting task and can easily break your productivity. Take advantage of code generation, or write scripts to automate tasks.
If you can spend an hour setting up an automated program to get something done for you that takes you ten minutes per day, you will have gained that time back in a week.
- Use Scrum
Scrum is an agile development framework that focuses on making the most out of complex coding projects. It’s widely used in the IT industry and is based on sprinting and constant planning, rather than having a single, long milestone.
With Scrum, a team is assigned feature implementation every 2 to 4 weeks. Daily meetings are held at the start of the day to make sure the work is on track. With innovation as the priority, Scrum is a good path to take for improved productivity.
- Refactor code and write code documentation
You may not see code refactoring as a productive task. Admittedly it doesn’t add any new features or functionality to the project, but it does make the code maintainable and helps you read the methods easily
Refactoring code save everyone’s time, including the engineer maintaining the code. Code documentation can also help you to improve the overall productivity of your project. It’s a long-term benefit, and you should always do it.
- Don’t optimise to soon
Premature optimisation is a serious issue.
Optimisation is necessary for real-time projects. Other projects, such as games, also require optimization to a certain degree for better user experience, certification for publication, etc.
That doesn’t mean you should start optimizing your game in its half-baked state. It’s a good idea to optimize after a fair chunk of functionality has been implemented. Doing it further on down the track will help you avoid unnecessary work and keep you productive.
- Stream your projects to stay disciplined and committed
Streaming your projects online can be a great motivational booster for you. One of the major problems that coding engineers have is not being regular with their coding sessions or sprint. The irregularities happen when you don’t broadcast your work. Broadcast your project streaming to special platforms like Livecoding to find an appropriate audience. Staying disciplined and committed will improve your productivity
The Last word
There is a huge demand for productive engineers. Not only are they able to code faster, but they also write high-quality code. Being a productive programmer brings tons of benefits, including higher pay, office benefits, increased popularity with peers, and internal satisfaction.
Are you a developer that “gets more done” and deserves more out of your career? Why not drop us your CV today?