10 Things Every Programmer Should Know

When building a large or complex program, it’s very important that the programmer knows what and where and how and why and when to use certain things. So here we go: 10 things every programmer should know.

We have been in programming for a while now and we’re still amazed by the things that people struggle with. So many programmers are struggling to prioritize what they need to learn – for example, many people are still having trouble with basic stuff finding the right programming language to start out with. That’s why we’ve decided to write a blog post today that covers some of the most important skills every programmer should have down pat.

So let’s get started with the first one…

1. Programming and Scripting Language

Obvious right? Sure! Programming language is a crucial part of becoming a programmer and should be one of the first things you learn.

Coding which is the core of any programming language is writing code in a particular syntax that the computer will understand. In other words, writing a code is done using a particular programming language.

It is also worth noting that there are many programming languages out there, and the knowledge of more than one language will prove to come in handy. So which language should you learn first? Well, the answer to that is less than straightforward and depends on your background among other things.

Examples are: Kotlin and Java for Android Development; Swift, C++, Objective-C for iOS Development; JavaScript, Python, Ruby for Web Development etc.

Scripting Language

Scripting language is a lightweight programming language that allows for quick prototyping and development of computer programs.

They are often used for rapid application development (RAD), scripting, macros and more. In most cases they are embedded into a host application that provides services such asUI elements or graphics, and in turn the scripting language provides higher-level services.

The most popular scripting languages are Python, Ruby and JavaScript which can be used to develop web applications, automate administrative tasks and much more.

Expertise in at least one scripting language will allow you to develop software solutions faster and with less code.

2. Libraries and Frameworks

Library is a collection of non-volatile resources used by computer programs, usually to support common functions like input/output operations.

Libraries consist of code that can be reused by different programs.

Frameworks, on the other hand, provide a software structure or architecture for applications and libraries to fit into.

Frameworks are usually used to make development faster and easier by providing generic structures that solve common problems, as well as create consistency across multi-developer projects.

Frameworks vary in their structure and complexity, but may contain some or all of the following components: application programming interface (API), project management tools, source code control system, issue tracking, documentation generation and more.

Examples of popular libraries are: jQuery for DOM operations; React for UI development; and Google’s Material Design for Android. Examples of popular frameworks are: Spring, .NET framework or Django which can be used for developing web applications.

Libraries and frameworks are designed to make your life easier, so it is a good idea to learn at least one of them.

3. Text Editors

In order to write a code you need some kind of editor. Text editors are programs that are used to write plain text using a specific syntax. There’s no need for all of the bells and whistles, just a solid text editor that will not get in your way.

Some of the most popular ones are Notepad++ – free text editor for Windows. Others are Atom, Sublime Text and Visual Studio etc.

A programmer should be familiar with the basics of using text editors including short-cuts and how to work with them.

4. Independent Development Environment (IDE)

Basically IDEs are programs that allow users to create applications that provide various developer tools into a single graphical user interface (GUI). Programmers use to write, debug and maintain their code. It contains things like syntax checkers, programming language support etc.

Writing codes in IDEs is easy when compared to writing them in a text editor. Also it consists of many features that can automate complicated and time-consuming tasks.

The most popular IDEs are: Eclipse (Java), Visual Studio ( C, C++, and C#), Jupyter Notebook (Python) to mention a few.

At this point, you might be wondering:

Text Editors vs IDEs: What’s the Difference?

A text editor is a simple program used for writing plain texts.

An IDE (Integrated Development Environment) on the other hand, provides tools for developers to write, debug and maintain their code.

5. Source Control

After writing a code, most programmers upload their code to a server or share it with someone using some kind of source control software.

Source Control is the process that allows programmers to track changes in their code. It also helps programmers restore older versions of the software as well as roll back unwanted changes from a project repository whenever they want.

There are many different types of source control software available on the market, but most programmers use Git as it is one of the best and most popular source control software out there.

Keep in mind that learning how to use a Git is not only the key to successful collaboration, but also an indispensable tool for any programmer.

6. Remote Collaboration Software/Services

In order to work together on a project, programmers use some type of remote collaboration software or service.

There are many different types of these services, but most programmers use GitHub as it is the most used by other developers and is also free to use. GitHub allows programmers to create and share projects that contain all of their code, documentation, notes etc.

The most important part of using a remote collaboration software or service is setting up your profile and choosing which programming language you want to use.

Once again it all depends on your background, but knowing a few of the most popular ones is certainly going to be useful.

Some of these are: GitHub (Git), Bitbucket (Git) and GitLab etc and for finding remote freelancing platforms you can review Hiremotely, freelancer or fiverr. 

7. Database

In this age and time, programmers often use a database to save and access information.

In simple terms, a database is an organized collection of data that is easily accessible. A database knowledge would allow the programmer to store, manage and access data.

There are many different types of databases, but most programmers prefer SQL as it is easy for beginners and still get the job done. Others are SQLite, MySQL and PostgreSQL etc.

8. Code Testing

Writing code is one thing, but testing it to make sure that every part of the program runs smoothly and functions properly is another.

The goal is to catch bugs as early as possible in order to avoid spending a lot of time debugging and correcting errors later on.

There are many different types of testing, but in this section you will find the most popular methodologies.

Unit testing is one of them and it basically tests an individual component in isolation to ensure that it meets expectations. It can be done without having to run a full blown application every time and allows developers to validate that their code functions as they intended.

Test Driven Development (TDD) is another popular testing methodology, but it requires a different approach as developers write tests that define the functionality before they write the actual code.

The last testing methodology is called Acceptance testing and as the name suggests, it involves a business analyst who writes the test cases and then developers have to implement them.

Continuous Integration is a software development practice where teams integrate their code into a shared repository several times a day.

The purpose of the software is to automatically run tests every time new code has been added and report any problems as soon as possible.

There are many different types of Continuous Integration tools, but most programmers prefer Jenkins as it allows them to configure the source code repository being used, run tests, and then report the results.

Most programmers write automated tests for their code to test whether it works correctly or not. These are some of the things that help them catch bugs before they start working on a project. Some of these are: Selenium (Web Applications), PhantomJS and CasperJS etc.

9. Project Management

Project Management is all about creating methods and processes which help teams to stay on track with their project goals.

There are many different types of Project Management methodologies, but most programmers prefer the Agile and Scrum Methodology as they are lightweight, iterative and allow developers to work in short sprints.

The other popular project management methodology is called the Waterfall Methodology which is a sequential and linear process and it is good for projects which don’t change requirements very often.

Having the basic knowledge of Project Management methodologies especially Agile and Scrum will allow programmers to integrate seamlessly into an existing team, while still being productive. Plus, this knowledge would be beneficial to you as well – as it would help you to manage your own projects easily and fast!

10. Communication Skills

A look at most job postings would reveal that Communication is one of the most important skills for a programmer.

This means you need to develop strong communication and collaboration skills in order to be an effective programmer.

Most programmers work in teams, so the ability to communicate clearly and effectively is critical. You need to develop these skills as a programmer as it is important to be able to explain technical concepts to other programmers, business people and non-technical staff.

Programmers need to be able to communicate their technical knowledge and expertise in a way that makes sense to the layperson.

The other skill you need is collaboration, which allows programmers to work together to come up with the best solution.

You will also need good listening skills, as you need to be able to take notes and ask questions when you don’t understand something.

It’s also important to be able to express ideas verbally, as this would enable programmers to give their input and present ideas in meetings.

Along with good technical skills, a programmer needs to develop strong communication and collaboration skills if they want to be an effective programmer.

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