Reading Code, Debugging, Learning New Tech. Most Annoying Parts of Programmer’s Work and How to Fix Them

Published in the Java Developer group
Here at CodeGym, we mostly talk about the good sides of being a programmer and working in software development. And rightfully so, as programming can be a great career choice, and for many people, it is. But it’s not without shortcomings, of course. There are things in developer’s work that can be problematic and cause tremendous frustration, including both the technical side of the job and its other parts. Reading Code, Debugging, Learning New Tech. Most Annoying Parts of Programmer’s Work and How to Fix Them - 1Luckily, many of these difficulties can be solved or at least minimized with the right approach. So today we are going to talk about the biggest problems and obstacles in software developers' work and how you can deal with them.

1. Working with other people's code

The problem

Having to deal with someone else’s code, often not of the best quality, is one of the most common work-related complaints that you can hear from a professional programmer. And understandably so. As situations when you have to read and understand the code written by a number of programmers who were working on the project and later resigned or were fired, leaving no documentation, is rather common in the programming world.

How to fix

Having to work with someone else’s unclear code can be very frustrating and tiring work. But it can get much better if you just install proper mental settings in your head. Since it’s your responsibility now, start thinking of it as your own code, and do your best to make it as good as possible. If you generally have a hard time reading someone else’s code, then you should practice in reading and analyzing various examples and learn more approaches to coding, so you could have a clear picture of how other developers tend to think when they work on different tasks. This is why a lot of tasks at CodeGym require users to check the code provided and find mistakes in it. It allows our students to start getting used to this essential part of the job right from the start.

2. Time estimation

The problem

Working time estimations are quite important in software development and thus, can be a source of headache. When coming up with a time estimation for any given task, you always need to consider a whole bunch of factors, such as overall project schedule, the speed other team members are working with, requirements from the higher management, and so on.

How to fix

Of course, time estimation is more of a problem for beginners, and it should naturally vanish as you get more and more experience, which allows you to give better and more appropriate estimations. But one of the most obvious recommendations here is to break down big tasks into smaller ones, which makes it easier to estimate the time the main task will take, as well as clarifies the process. Also, it may be a consolation that even highly experienced developers sometimes have ever-lasting problems with time estimation. “I’ve been a professional software developer since the Carter administration and I still can’t tell you with any accuracy whatsoever how long it will take me to do something more complicated than editing a text file,” said Robert Rossney, a software engineer at Google.

3. Communication

The problem

Communication is probably the most overlooked major aspect of software development. As the majority of projects are developed by a team of multiple programmers and other specialists, being able to communicate properly is quite important for the majority of professional programmers. Falling to establish and maintain proper communication can lead to mistakes in your work, conflicts, missed deadlines and other unpleasant things.

How to fix

The best recommendation on how to deal with communication issues is to treat it as a separate part of the work that is equally important. And just like with the other job aspects, there is no better way to get good at it than to practice as much as possible. Try to increase your communication skills by practicing on your teammates or other colleagues and reviewing the results. Ask questions every time you need clarifications, be proactive in starting conversations instead of only participating when someone asks you a question. At CodeGym, by the way, you can learn communication and practice it just like you are learning Java. We have a number of features for user-to-user communication, such as Forum, Chat, and Help section where you can always ask for help or provide it to others.

4. Dealing with corporate rules and policies

The problem

Software developers can earn very good salaries, but for that the majority of high-earners have to work for big corporations. Which can be annoying for many reasons, but having to deal with corporate bureaucracy and following corporate rules and policies is one of the most popular ones.

How to fix

The only way to fix this particular problem is to change your mentality. Try to think about rules and regulations from the company’s point of view, as a necessary evil and a way to manage a large number of people working together. When looking for a job, apply to companies that have less bureaucracy and regulations. Mostly it is the case for startups and small to medium businesses, but some international giants can be quite flexible too.

5. Debugging

The problem

Finding and eliminating bugs in your code is another ultimate headache for the majority of programmers. Bugs, small and big, are always there in pretty much any code. Sometimes it is fairly easy to find them, but in some cases it might take a lot of effort, which can be extremely frustrating, for young developers especially.

How to fix

Whether you want it or not, debugging is an essential part of a programmer's work so you just need to get good at it. Reproducing errors is one of the most common recommendations on how to find and fix bugs. And if you are really stuck, use those communication skills we were talking about a while ago: try asking a QA engineer in your team or other team member for help. Many tasks in CodeGym are also focused on developing your debugging skills, so to practice with solving tasks on CC would also be a valid advice.

6. Learning new tools and technologies

The problem

Technologies keep growing and evolving with an increasing speed, and in order to stay competitive and be in demand, programmers have to keep up. Which can be difficult, because it means you need to learn new frameworks, tools, and libraries, as well as getting familiar with updated versions of old tools, on a regular basis all the time throughout your career.

How to fix

“Programmers should never stop learning. The pace of change and progress is only accelerating and programmers must find time to keep up with important changes that affect them. If they don't want to be stuck in a corner in a bank somewhere till retirement, they simply must keep learning,” said Steve Wu, as experienced programmer and project manager. As we said many times previously in CodeGym’s articles, professional programming and constant learning go hand in hand. And the best you can do to keep your skill set up-to-date is to make learning a part of the job. Put dedicated time for getting new work-related knowledge in your schedule. Follow programming related blogs, listen to podcasts, watch YouTube channels for developers. And, of course, use CodeGym as your ultimate platform to grow as a Java developer with its over 1200 tasks, new articles and guides being published every week, and a huge community of users to make friends, help each other and grow as professionals together!
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