Being a Productive Coder

Getting the most out of your work

September 8, 2015 Business Development, Coding

In this industry and regardless of experience, code is king.  In ANY service based industry having a high turn over rate yields higher revenue.  Simply put, the more you can produce as a coder, and the higher the quality, the more money you can ultimately make.  Let’s examine how we can stay as productive as possible as a coder and increase your earnings.

Learn to Reuse

The whole concept of being a productive coder revolves around NOT writing code!  The best coders out there are by far the laziest and the most efficient.  If you’ve written a piece of code before, why write it again?  Building off our code and evolving it to a point where it is modular and flexible is where most of your effort should be spent.

Adopting a Continuous Service Improvement Model

Moving towards not writing code and being productive requires us to shift our thinking a bit.  At Cyberpunk, every website we produce has the ability to inherit the upgrades of our latest and greatest creations through a simple upgrade process.  During development our process is simple:

CSI Diagram small

  1. Identify new features specific to the current project that can be implemented into our code base
  2. Update one of more of our code bases to include these features as configurable and / or modular options
  3. Produce the new website matching the client’s specifications.
  4. Update one or more of our code bases resolving friction points identified during development.

The aforementioned lifecycle and process allows us to produce websites that have more features, quicker and easier through time.  The result is a progressively better product that stays competitive from quality and price standpoints in an over saturated market.

Improving Your CSI Model

In order to further our CSI model we need to constantly track what we’re doing.  This applies not only on a production level BUT a business level too.  There are three simple components to creating the most effective CSI model you can; like most things worth having it requires a certain amount of time and dedication to achieve.

Time Your Tasks

This is essential.  Once, you have some measurement of how long it takes you to do something you can start to identify friction point within your process.  After doing this for a while, you’ll start to see the time it takes to complete tasks go down.  That being said, your code will be more efficient and your level of service will be of higher quality.

Don’t Get Emotionally Involved

While this can never 100% be achieved, just being aware of it is important.  There are many different emotionally deterrents that hinder productivity: having an overwhelming amount of work on the table, domestic problems, being distracted by the weekend, etc.  Whatever the case, understanding what slows you down on an emotional level and aiming to compartmentalize it and dealing with it later are great assets with productivity but many other areas of your life as well.

Maintain a Schedule

Once you know how long it will take you to complete your tasks, make sure your schedule can support the amount of work you have available.  This may seem obvious but, for some it isn’t.  Knowing how to manage yourself as a resource is a managerial level skill and will come in handy once you have to start hiring.

Productivity Tools

So let’s get into some tools that can help with productivity.

Source Code Management Tools Like Git

Learning to use SCM tools like Git will greatly help with productivity.  Creating code bases, forking them and being able to quickly deploy your code allows for continual service improvement models.  Check out some of the best Git based SCM tools out there.

  • GitHub – The largest Git platform.  Many, many open source projects can be found here.
  • BitBucket – A great alternative to GitHub.  Offers unlimited free private repositories for small teams.
  • GitLab – Another great alternative solutions to GitHub.  With GitLab you can even install the software on your own server.
Use Snippets!

If you find yourself doing the same thing over and over stop it!  Create a snippet that you can use and modify. There are many tools out there that aid in this process.

  • GitHub Gist – Create and share your snippet library.
  • Sublime Text – Amazing source code editor.  Offers simple and powerful snippet management.
  • Emmet – HTML and CSS workflow plugin available for most code editors.  Code complex layouts with a simple syntax.
Project Management Tools

Stay on target!  Know what to work on, when its due and how much time you should be spending.  Don’t let scope creep get a hold of your employees, clients or yourself.

  • Basecamp – A simple and robust cloud based project management and collaboration tool.
  • ActiveCollab – Originally a clone of BaseCamp, Cyberpunk currently uses an in-house version of this tool to manage tasks, files, deadlines, files and financials.
  • Podio – This tool helps automate and manage any business and is highly customizable.

Conclusion

Have an interesting take on how to stay ahead of the curve?  Let’s hear it in the comments?

 

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