Any developer can tell you that the industry is constantly changing, and that to be successful, you need to be constantly learning. But it’s not easy to find the time to improve your coding skills when you’re already in full-time employment. For most, mustering effort after a day at work can be hard enough, let alone devoting precious free time to working on a hobby. That’s why we’ve put together some ways you can adjust your approach, and improve your coding skills in your spare time.
If you’re looking to build a foundation in development, Codecademy should be you first port of call.
You can also choose to expand your knowledge a little bit further in your down time, by reading books and articles that might benefit your future career in coding. This sounds simple enough, but like most other things, finding the time to read can be a struggle in itself.
If you commute, then you could make the most of this lost time by working through a reading schedule. Or perhaps you prefer to read in the evening as a way of winding down. Whenever it suits you, by sticking to a schedule of books and articles and working through them steadily, you can massively improve your knowledge of the sector with as little as 20 minutes a day. If you’re struggling to find what books might prove useful, here is a list of the most popular programming books recommended by Reddit’s coding community.
Once your knowledge is moving past the theory stage, you can test it by setting yourself a hobby project. You’ll force yourself to think on your feet, and by making the task something you’re interested in yourself, you’ll be more focused on learning, and completing your goal.
Lots of developers use gaming as their area of choice, either by making edits and optimisations to indie games, or developing server tools for the multiplayer side. Others might prefer to work on tools for optimising their computer use, such as a script to automate lengthy tasks like video encoding in a computers downtime. If you’re struggling for ideas, this page on GitHub offers a number of different ideas for beginner’s coding projects.
Once you start considering the possibilities, the only limits are your own. By allowing yourself to be inquisitive and ambitious you can develop skills in an organic way. It doesn’t matter if your idea already exists – you can even emulate programming you admire. The important thing is to overcome any challenges you encounter on the way, and to learn from them.
If you’ve reached your limit with self-learning, or you’re looking for a more structured approach to get to the next level, our Developers Programme will give you the skills you need to kick-start your coding career in just 13 weeks. For more information, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 0207 426 9835.