Things I Learned this Month As A Software Engineer

I have been interning as a software engineer for over 7 months now, and I have to say, no matter how good you get, you can never really stop learning and improving your skills. This week we are going to talk about a couple of things I just recently learned as a software engineer.

One of the most important things I learned very recently is a very important principle or writing clean code, which may sound more simple than you can imagine. I realized that the most important way to write cleaner code is to create better variable and function names. Now, why is this? Reading clean code should be akin to reading a story that is both precise, simple, and easy to understand. This all starts with how we name our variables and function calls. Each name tells a noun or verb, action or change of state, what actually happens, so creating names that are easy to understand and read are very important. Too many times I see confusing and convoluted code trying to be explained with comments. But this is very bad because comments can be messy, needs to be updated every time you refactor code and are mostly ignored anyway. Therefore trying to explain your code by writing better variable and function names is much better.

Another aspect that I recently learned is to divide and conquer your work. Working with a huge codebase can be very intimidating and daunting, so it is very important when you have a big project is to split the big project into mini-steps so that you can hack away at one smaller, easier component one at a time until you get to combining everything together to finish it. Working with smaller pieces is not only easier to understand, but helps gain confidence along the way as you are closer and closer to completing your entire project.

Lastly, the final thing I recently was to give yourself breaks especially when you are coding for a couple of hours in a row. It is very easy to get locked in a project when you are really in it or if you are struggling with a certain implementation. However, what I realized is that lots of the time I am able to find solution to my problems when I am away from my computer taking a break. I think the reason for this is that since your brain is like a muscle when you work it out too much it gets tired. When your mind is relaxed you can think clearer. Also, when you are not directly looking at code, you can think of things in abstractions or big picture, which is helpful to visualize the project as a whole and see all the moving parts together to then pinpoint where the problem may lie. On a computer screen too many times I get tunnel vision.

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