3 Actionable Tips to Create a Feedback Loops and Improve Your Code Quality as a Beginner
In 2007, I wrote my first line of code.
At first, I didn’t think about my code quality. As I started working on shared codebases with others in academia and later in the industry, I realized the importance of writing good code. But how do you improve your code quality?
You need feedback.
Chances are that your code is not reviewed by others if you’re coding on your own or if you’re in a small non-tech organization. And that means no feedback!
So how do you get feedback on your code?
Tip #1: Read other people’s codes.
Pick your favorite open-source project.
A good example is a library you’re currently using in your projects. Find the project on github.com and explore it, observing how the code is structured. Then read the code, and take note of any patterns you find interesting. Pay attention to different coding styles you encounter and how they’re different from yours.
List 5 things you learn from this exercise and immediately apply them to the code you write that day/week.
Tip #2: Contribute to open-source projects.
Go to github.com. Find an active project that’s interesting to you.
Every project has a contributing guide on its Github page. Go through it to learn how to contribute to the project and understand anything you need to know before getting started.
Go to the issues tab on the project Github page and filter for labels such as “first” or “beginner” to find issues that are suitable for beginners. Pick one you find interesting and start working on it. Once you fix the issue, push your code, create a pull request and wait for a developer on the project to review your code and give you feedback.
Tip #3: Review your own code
Start with reviewing a code you’re not actively working on that day/week to avoid overlooking mistakes.
This can also be more effective if you’ve recently read or reviewed another person’s code. This is when your mind is aware of mistakes and patterns observed in another code and can detect them (or similar ones) in your own code as well.
A self review may not be as effective as a peer review but it can still reveal mistakes in your code that you can learn from and hopefully avoid in the future.
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