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How was the previous year for you in terms of growing yourself as a programmer? Happy or disappointed with your progress? Either way, now the new year has begun, it’s a good time to set some goals and list coding resolutions for yourself.
This list of coding resolutions to set in the new year should be ideal for those new to programming. If you’re an experienced programmer, choose items not already achieved.
The whole idea is to get you thinking of some coding resolutions you might want to set and use them to write up more specific goals.
Many developers are guilty of starting a personal project but never finishing it. This year, don’t be like most and actually see your projects through from start to finish.
Take a personal development project and get it done and published (whatever that entails).
Complete your dev projects and don't be like this guy! (Comic Source)
To help accomplish this successfully make sure sure you at least:
1) Plan out your project properly with milestones and target dates.
2) Don’t get distracted and actually finish the project before moving on to the next one.
If you’ve never completed a personal project from start to finish before, now is a good time to set yourself a target of making sure you do so this year for at least one project!
Having a website showing a portfolio of your work is great for keeping all your achievements in one place. If you’re job searching, it’s also a great way to showcase your profile to potential employers in a creative manner.
There are countless ways to get your own site setup and hosted all for free. For a small sample of options checkout frameworks for building static websites such as Gatsby and Jekyll. And for hosting options checkout Netlify and GitHub pages.
The contents of a typical portfolio site will have some info about your skills and experience, projects you’ve completed (another reason why point #1 is important) and links to your GitHub page and other dev related pages. Having a portfolio site setup at the very least will stand you out from those who don’t have one at all.
This goal focuses on having a long commitment that you’ll look after under a schedule set by you. Whether a blog or YouTube channel, choose a platform (or both) that you’re most comfortable with and start creating content.
Advantages of having a blog or YouTube channel include:
- A place to document what you’re learning.
- Sharing your knowledge and expertise with others.
- Developing your own personal brand.
- If you’re consistent you’ll end up with an impressive portfolio of content.
- You can make some extra income.
- It’s fun!
Entering programming contests, hackathons or challenges are a fun way to grow your skills as they will usually push you in challenging ways. Checkout devpost.com which lists upcoming hackathons and this list from freecodecamp for sites that do programming based challenges.
I personally prefer to enter contents which are time based. This will ensure you plan appropriately and there’s actually a deadline to submit your entry. This can be a time based hackathon like Hacktoberfest which runs in October. Or a game jam, which is a contest all about making video games usually based on a theme with a deadline to submit the game. Checkout game jams at itch.io, a site that hosts many game jams that run all year round.
Whatever you choose, make sure you’re committed to actually submitting an entry for the contest in time or completing the challenge.
What this means as a goal can vary between different people. But I will define it as actively being involved in an open source project you find interesting and regularly trying to make contributions to projects. This is not the same as entering a time based challenge which forces you to make open source contributions (like Hacktoberfest). But making contributions because you find the project interesting and want to help out.
A good place to start is the GitHub explore page where you can search for public repositories. Look out for projects actively looking for contributions. Make sure to read the README and CONTRIBUTING files of the repo to have an idea of ways you can contribute. It’s important to spend some time finding projects you’re passionate about so you can make useful contributions.
So don’t just wait for challenges or competitions to arise to get involved in open source as contributing to open source is an all year round event. A great goal to have for your coding resolutions!
Related: See this post on my blog for a beginner friendly guide to making your first open source contribution.
Read a book about programming that’s relevant to the area you want to grow your skills. If you aren’t familiar with authors in the programming space, pick a best seller because it’s a safe choice and you’ll likely gain something from it.
Set yourself a target to read at least one programming related book from start to finish. And when you’ve read it make sure to summarise it and publish your summary of it somewhere for future reference.
This coding resolution is to simply plan out a development project you’ve always dreamed of doing and making sure you set yourself a target of getting to it this year!
To make things even more interesting, aim for something completely different to your area of expertise.
Are you a Front-end dev right now but want to get involved with Embedded devices? Try tinkering with some devices such as the Raspberry PI and do a project using it. Are you a data scientist but always wanted to develop a video game? Have a go at game development using engines such as Godot or Unity.
Whatever project you want to do, don’t put it off for another year!
These 7 coding resolutions are to give you ideas for achievable goals you can set for yourself this new year.
Make sure to write down and properly layout out an execution plan detailing exactly how you’ll achieve each of your goals. Always have your plan at hand and regularly reflect on your progress.
Will you be targeting any of the coding resolutions on this list? Let us know in the comments.