Everyday, we programmers write hundreds of lines of programming code. But, have you ever stopped to notice if your program is good enough? How do you make sure your programming skill set is up to the mark? How to make sure you are Programming Like A Pro? In this article, we consider these questions and try to answer them each in greater details.
How To Code Like A Pro?
There are many characteristics of a program written by an experienced professional that sets his code apart from a code newbie. A professional programmer would make use of his past learning experience and implement his code that follows a certain set of guidelines and best practices he has learnt over the time since he began programming.
While each of these set of guidelines and best practices may differ from one Professional Programmer to another Pro, there are many common guidelines which more or less all Professional Programmers follow that can make their code set apart from the rest. Here is a list of some of such common guidelines used by almost all Professional Programmers. If you can practice and incorporate these practices and techniques into your daily programming routine, even your program code will start to look more professional.
Best Practices & Guidelines To Write Code Like A Professional
- Write code that makes use of the processor efficiently – In other words, write code that runs fast on the processor using lower number of clock cycles. How to achieve this? While there are many things involved in learning to write a highly CPU efficient programs which will be explained in the future articles, some of the most common practices is to use loops sparingly, use efficient looping systems, write programs using instructions that require less clock cycles to accomplish the task at hand etc. You need to have good understanding of the underlying computer system architecture to get a better hold or control on these aspects, so learn more about the computer architecture.
- Write code that makes use of memory efficiently – Use the memory of a computer system efficiently and sparingly. It usually takes certain amount of computer clock cycles to read and write data to or from the memory. So if you want your code to speed up, it is better to write code using instructions that uses lesser amount of memory. If your code allocates too many variables, it can start gobbling up a lot of RAM space in your user’s computer, there by slowing down the computer all together, thus giving a had user experience.
- Write code that is more readable – This is one of the most important aspect of a professional code. You can write code in a convoluted way to do something extremely smart on its data, but if in the future you move on in your job role and your code is handed over to your junior developers, they will find it extremely hard to read and understand your code. So always write code that is easily readable by anyone familiar with programming. This can also include adding more comments in your source code, naming the variables appropriately etc. Sometimes, writing readable code could result in writing a slightly inefficient piece of code thus contradicting the above 2 points discussed earlier. But however, in such a situation, it is still advisable to give priority towards readable code than saving a few CPU clock cycles.
- Write code that is highly modular – What does this mean? It means you need to break down your programming into individual modules such as functions and classes, that does one thing and only one thing but extremely well. Your code need to be split up into several functions, files and libraries that can be made use of in the future for other projects as well.
- Write code that is well tested and documented – Each of your code modules need to be very well tested to ensure it fulfills and works under all boundary conditions. It should not break down for some unexpected values but gracefully reject the input under such situations. This is achieved by writing robust test cases that can test for all frequently possible conditions even if it occur only one in a million time (boundary conditions). Make sure that the code is well documented using comments and appropriate variable or function names as discussed earlier.
- Write code that is easy to enhance – Before you sit down to write your code, you need to design to program to be highly modular and easy to enhance of its functionalities in the future. This would mean writing code that is modular, with will defined APIs and interfaces such that a function serving that API can be swapped for another function with a different implementation for the same set of input and output values.
There are still many more aspects of a professional’s code that usually depends on his style and taste of coding, but the above list should give you a good fundamental beginning on how to think and write code like a professional programmer.
In the future articles, we will continue to explore some of the fundamental aspects of computer science such as a computer’s architecture, its basic functionality etc that will help us getting a solid understanding the basics of computer science. Do let me know if you have any comments on this or any other topic you would want me to explore and I will be happy to accommodate your requests.
So until then, happy coding! 🙂