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Max Ong Zong Bao
Max Ong Zong Bao

Posted on • Originally published at

7 Habits of Effective Developer


Sometimes I wish I was told to focus on cultivating these habits when I was starting out.

So it could help me become a better developer as I progress in my technical skills.

Time Management

To date, time management is one of the harder habits to cultivate.

For me, instead of just skipping after spending 1 hour in fixing it.

My tendency has always been fixing it no matter the cost involved.

Recently I tried to use promises which took 3 or more days to figure what is wrong for an API call in ExpressJS.

I believe establishing a better feedback loop in estimating of tasks and execution can help a lot in not missing the deadline.

Therefore maybe adopting a time management technique like Pomodoro technique or installing Rescuetime.

To track time where you had been spending your time is useful for you to understand where could be eliminated.

Writing Well

By writing well, it demonstrates clear thinking and understanding.

Especially in technical discussion or you are just conveying your understanding or propose solutions to solve a problem.

Since we usually covey information through our technical documentation or words to our superior, colleagues and stakeholders.

I found that conveying it in a bite-sized format that is digestible for a non-technical audience has always been a challenge.

Reading books like Writing Well and The 48 Laws of Power is useful.

Whenever you are writing it for someone that is above you in standing within or in another organisation.

Life-Long Learner

As a developer, you are always required to learn and pick up new skills & technologies as you grow.

The best way to learn for me has always been working in an actual project or teaching it to others.

Do document your learnings in blogs, podcasts, mentoring, teaching or offering advice to help you remember.


This is challenging if you are from the multitaskers school of thought.

Especially if you had not tried Pomodoro technique which will kick your ass to learn to focus on doing a single task.

You could pick up the book like Deep work to find ways to prevent you from being distracted.

I found that one of the best ways to prevent distractions is just turning off notifications be it slack, email.

It helps to have software to block you from wandering off to sites that is a time sink.

Understand How Code can Deliver Value

Always seek to become a value creator in your code.

By understanding business concepts, business models or strategies from your superiors, books, videos, podcasts.

To expand your thinking and language when talking with non-technical people.

I found that books like The DevOps Handbook, The Effective Executive, Lean Startup is a great way to start.


Since it's gonna be the new year soon. I believe you will have tons of resolutions for the start of next year.

Start a task now Now!!! and do it on a daily basis with the right environment to help you to build discipline.

Which free you up the time to focus on going after the bigger things in life.

It can be as simple as folding your blankets when you wake up or just 50 push-ups daily.

Writes Clean Code that's Easy to Read or Test

As I learn and work with other developers. I realise the need for clean code and test cases to help in debugging.

Since without it, it could be a pain to maintain other people's code or just the past you.

For next year, I will be dedicating more time to learn about Solid Design, Design Patterns & Site Reliability Engineering.

To help me to create software that is automated, scalable and effective in delivering software.


I hope these habits are useful or it could be a guide for you to form part of your new year resolutions to help you to be outside of your comfort zone.

I had learnt that I need to continue to push myself further on these habits.

Like discipline and writing well is the part I will be focusing myself to next year as I progress to do things that are outside of my comfort zone.

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The original post was on 7 Habits of Effective Developer - Reading Time: 3 Mins and cover image by Drew Beamer on Unsplash


Top comments (10)

ghost profile image

Ok, sounds reasonable, but also soo hard, can we just keep spending hours looking and trying plugins for IDEs and other stuff to make us "more productive" without all the hussle of actual work?, what about reading a lot of books that teach me how to be productive?

Is amazing how much useless work my brain does to avoid productive work, maybe I'm drinking the wrong kind of coffee, I'll do a deep research in the different kinds of coffee...

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

There are no magic bullets but multiple different ways to tackle it.

Which mileage may vary so you need to test it out yourself to get the best combination that works for you.

Sloan, the sloth mascot
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steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

Nice I was using it because it's easier to do it and helps to avoid callback hell.

anthonydheysum profile image

An amazing read. Special thanks for pointing out SOLID and design principles.

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

Hahaha, it's one of my todo lists actually for learning those after flunking from one of a technical interview I had gone through.

zaynaib profile image
Zaynaib (Ola) Giwa

Your post was an enjoyable read. It gave me more motivation to write more during the next year. :)

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

Thanks a lot, I really appreciate the compliments and I hope it was useful for you. I had followed you and I am looking forward to future articles from you :)

kostassar profile image
Kostas Sar

Very good post!

Also, thank you for including the books that inspired each rule!
I added many of them in my reading list

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

That's great I'm glad that it helps :)