Yesterday was the first time I did not update this blog since its conception, and ended my sixty-three day streak of updates to my projects on GitHub. Sometimes people ask me programming questions along the lines of, “What is the best way to learn/do X?” Or just in general, “How do I become a better programmer?”
The key is consistency.
Over and Over and Over
In my experience nothing helps one improve at programming like consistent effort. And I find that true of not only programming, but other endeavors, like studying foreign languages. Personally I don’t think it matters much whether you study programming for thirty minutes a day or four hours a day. The important thing is you do it every day.
Consistency is the key to improvement. If you have a programming project then try to write a little bit of code every day. It doesn’t have to be much, just some lines are enough. In fact looking over the code is enough. Read it to keep your mind fresh, to keep the ideas churning. Read new things regularly as well.
Let me be clear though: it is also imperative and healthy to take breaks. Honestly programming for sixty-three days straight was a stupid decision on my part, since I have health problems as it is. The brain also needs rest to absorb new information and ideas. So you should also factor in consistent breaks, at a micro level and macro level.
But that’s basically it, as far as any ‘secret’ to becoming a better programmer: make a plan of effort and stick to it consistently.