Being a software engineer isn’t ever a job someone is going to say is a breeze. There’s a lot that goes into the work you do. You spend a lot of time studying and learning about effective coding practices when you first begin.
While you’re just starting out sometimes you probably wonder if the things you’re studying for hours are really what you’re going to use in real life situations. The best way to learn about real-life situations for the career you’re starting is to ask experts in the field.
Some professions don’t require as much focus and consulting others who have been doing things longer isn’t as vital. That’s just simply not the case when it comes to software engineering.
If you’re looking for some tips that come from the experts you’re in the right place. Here are five expert practices software engineers recommend beginners use right from the start.
1. Learn How To Use A CICD Pipeline Early On
When it comes to testing code and debugging, a CICD pipeline is a tool you can walk into a job knowing nothing about. CICD (continuous integration continuous delivery) pipelines automate the testing of any code change without you having to do anything extra. It makes the chances for human error decrease drastically while coding and debugging.
When you’re starting out, this tip is invaluable. If you can walk into an interview or first day on the job and know how valuable a CICD pipeline is, you’re going to be ahead of the game.
Spend some time researching what they do, how helpful they are, and why you want to use one. Your new employers will be impressed and you’ll be able to be more valuable right from the start.
2. Be Ready For Your Interview FizzBuzz Test
Speaking of being ready for day one, or your job interview here is a common tip from expert software engineers who have interviewed for a job at least a few times by now. If you have a coding language listed on your resume, be ready to prove your skills. This can often be referred to as the “FizzBuzz” test.
You could be asked to write a code using numbers 1-100 where every third number is changed to the word “fizz” and every fifth number is changed to “buzz.”
If you can’t pass this test the pros in this career area recommend skipping putting programming languages on your resume. Basically what you’re being told here is; be ready to prove the skills you say you have.
3. Take Notes. Then Take More Notes.
Experts often say this is a step many people skip in their rush to get software out of development and into the end-user’s hands. Don’t. While you’re programming take notes about what you changed, why you changed it, and what the result was. It can help you remember things if you get sidetracked.
This tip applies to department meetings and really any interaction you have with another co-worker. If they have something valuable to tell you, take notes. Don’t risk forgetting it because you didn’t get back to your desk to try something out right away.
Your notes can also be a way to show others what you’re working on and why. If you’re struggling to debug something, take your notes with you when you go to talk to someone else about it.
They are a communication tool, and even if it sounds low-tech considering what you’re doing, it works. So take notes, then take more notes. Always.
4. Never Ever Stop Learning
There is an endless amount of information available to you both online and in print publications. As a software engineer, you can’t ever take a one and done approach to developing your skills. You should always be striving to stay up to date with the latest technologies and coding techniques.
Read blogs, read tip lists like this one, spend time looking at tech news and even watching YouTube (or other websites like Skillshare) video tutorials. The point here is that you always need to be taking the chance to improve your skills.
This isn’t a career where you can stay relevant if you stop learning. Time wasted not advancing your skills or being overly confident really can cost you so much.
The more you keep your skills at the top of their game, and embrace the newest techniques the more valuable you’re going to be to your employer. Always, always keep learning.
5. Coding Skills Aren’t The Only Skills That Matter
As a software engineer, there’s a good chance you’re going to be spending a lot of time working on a team. If you don’t have the best social skills, or you aren’t great at communication, you are going to struggle.
This could even end up costing you a job if you aren’t careful. Coding can be frustrating and when tensions are high you’ll still need to be able to remain professional.
Social skills are extremely important when you’re a software engineer even if you haven’t yet considered how much you’ll be interacting with others.
If you know this is an area where you currently struggle take this advice to heart. Start working on your communication and professionalism. Make sure your social skills are just as sharp as your coding skills.
There’s always going to be something more to learn. There will always be a software engineer that’s more experienced than you. Don’t take these things as a sign that you will never be a great developer. Use the advice you’ve learned here, and the advice you can seek out from other experts. Keep their tips in mind as you’re just starting out.
They’ve lasted in this career for a reason. Use their success and even their past failures to your advantage. If they’re willing to tell you where they’ve gone wrong in the past take the time to listen.
When you start to realize you’re spending more time being productive and less time feeling frustratingly confused all of the time you’ve invested will be worth it.