5 Tips for Keeping Your Coding Skills Fresh

Okay so it’s been awhile folks but I have life updates on my life as a coder. I got a seriously awesome job at a seriously awesome company and for the first few months I actually forgot about anything else. I’m not writing in Swift for work so it kind of meant I wasn’t practicing at all. Life lesson: if you want to become the multi talented people you fangirl on instagram and youtube, you are required to put in the work. Can someone please rewind to me on December 1st and give me this message? For the second time post-college, I stopped writing once I got the 'prize.' I had kind of a I made it moment and I needed a break. That short break turned into six months and now here we are with a “relaunch.” If you’re struggling to keep up with coding or frankly any skillset, like me, here are a few tips to help you get back on track:

 

  1. Schedule Time to Learn in Your Work Calendar I have learned that the only things I truly pay attention to are my work calendar and my work email. Apologies in advance if you’ve recently sent me a personal email but there is truly nothing like getting all of my tabs interrupted by a calendar reminder. I’ve started living by my calendar, even down to the commute hours. When it comes to picking up or sharpening my coding skills, I block it off or it's not going to happen.

  2. Join a Meetup Seeing other people succeed does two things for me: 1) It inspires me to know that continuous growth, new skills, and happiness are available to me and 2) it motivates me to be one step better than the best person in the room. I should note that I’m not competitive at all. I run my own race. But when people go through and create experiences we do ourselves a disservice if we don’t learn from them. Meetups are a great place to find people on similar journeys as you as well people who have already done what you’re striving to do. More than anything, whether learning a new coding language or dipping your toes into coding for the first time, you need a community.

  3. Find an Accountability Partner Preferably someone who doesn’t code. My accountability partners do not care about my whining and ultimately they know they can’t force me to do anything. But knowing they are watching and judging whether or not I blossom into the person I say I’m determined to be pushes me. The dreams we keep to ourselves are the dreams we don’t believe are possible. Sharing your dreams with another person is like telling yourself you believe in your ability to make it happen. It’s a vulnerable moment and finding the right person to hold you accountable without judgement, offense, or ill intent takes discernment, but once you find that person, hold on tight.

  4. Enroll is an Online Course The internet is a magical place with an abundance of resources. Never ever forget that. If you’re interested in learning just about anything you can enroll in online classes or even subscribe to YouTube University. If I’m being honest, YouTube taught me more about Swift than some of the materials I was offered while in my bootcamp. So many schools have started offering free Computer Science courses. For example, Stanford offers a series of free programming courses online. Harvard’s infamous introduction to Computer Science course, CS50, is now available for free online enrollment as well. And then of course there are sites like Coursera, and my personal favorite Udemy. If there’s something you want to learn, the resources are available to you, you just have to search for them.

  5. Commit to Freelance Work If there’s one way to keep you accountable to learning a new skill it’s putting money on the line. Freelance work is probably the number one way to make sure you’re maintaining your skillset while also possibly picking up new ones. In the freelance world you can’t give up unless you’re willing to forgo customer satisfaction and in turn a pay cut. Sharpen your skills and catch a pretty penny at the same time. If you’re looking to showcase your talent, I strongly suggest building an online portfolio and linking that site to your personal page on fiverr, elance, or freelancer.