The most fun I have had coding so far has been with Code Fights Tournaments.
It’s so much fun because it is gamified. The contests are only 10 minutes so it’s short and sweet. I have benefited by learning how to read, debug, code, and type fast. Also it’s fun to race against not only myself for experience points (XP), but also against contestants from all over the world.
Here’s more information about Code Fights: So, what is CodeFights?
Here is a great summary of things ASP.NET developers should know: Critical stuff that every junior C# developer must know
I found this great motivational quote from former NBA Superstar Kobe Bryant:
“That’s what Mamba Mentality is,” Bryant said. “It’s understanding that every day you can work on something, every day you get better, and then you can fast-forward years later and it seems like it was a ‘Voila!’ moment, but you know that patience and perseverance every single day is what got you there.”
Here are a few tools that have helped me consume materials faster
Youtube Playback Speed Control This allows me to watch videos at up to 4x the normal playing speed
Natural Readers and Free Text to Speech Reader These let me copy and paste text so that I can simultaneously read and listen to the text
Spreed This is more for leisure/fictional reading. With this tool, I can copy and paste text, and read it rapidly. It presents the text one word at a time at a single point on the page, so I don’t have to move my eyes at all.
I have been using The Pomodoro Technique for almost 2 years now. It has helped me tremendously in being productive and focused.
However, I have only kept track of the number of Pomodori I complete each day. I have never really tracked my Pomodori over the week nor month.
I have modified my tracking by keeping track of the number of Pomodori I complete each month. I keep track of the number of completed Pomodori on a spreadsheet, and I multiply this number by 25. Basically I am tracking my number of focused minutes each month.
But since I need something gimmicky to motivate myself even further, I call these monthly focused minutes Pomodollars 🙂
Here’s a great article on the importance of continuous improvement as a professional software developer: Never Be Blocked
I recently read this article: The Interleaving Effect: Mixing It Up Boosts Learning.
A few interesting points were made:
Blocking involves practicing one skill at a time before the next (for example, “skill A” before “skill B” and so on, forming the pattern “AAABBBCCC”), in interleaving one mixes, or interleaves, practice on several related skills together (forming for example the pattern “ABCABCABC”).
Overall, the interleaving effect can be strong, stable, and long-lasting.
I am currently learning from Pluralsight courses. I think interleaving works nicely with Pluralsight because the modules are around 30-60 minutes, which can fit into a Pomodoro because I play the videos at 2x speed.
I also feel like I have more fun because I can take several courses at once and finish a module from each course every day. Plus I get the variety of many different subjects, and the repetition when the courses overlap.
I read this interview with competitive programmer Ahmed Aly: Why Renowned Googler Ahmed Aly Chose HackerRank and what really stood out to me was his advice:
Ahmed, what advice do you have for people who want to become great programmers like you?
Don’t try to solve harder problems unless you are really good at solving the easier ones. That means solve a lot of really easy problems (that could be hundreds), that will improve your coding skills, which should be the easiest skill to gain. Then go to little bit harder problems, and so on.
In December I wrote about growing my coding abilities by reading.
Well I have found something even better and more enjoyable for me: learning from Pluralsight.
I am especially inspired by the growth shown by Kevin O’Shaughnessy who completed over 400 Pluralsight courses!
I feel like solving code challenges plus learning and building with Pluralsight will really accelerate my growth as a software engineer.
You can get 3 free months of Pluralsight by signing up for the free Visual Studio Dev Essentials.