“90% of the code is written by 10% of the programmers.” – Robert C. Martin
Given the fast-paced nature of this business, web development is not for the faint of heart, but nonetheless the profession is growing steadily and the talent pool is getting greater, in the US and abroad. In fact, when the U.S. News reported their ‘Best Jobs’ Ranking for 2014, web development came in at a solid number nine on the top 100 list (software developer hit number one!)
“Web developers are responsible for the sleek fonts and clean layout you love on your favorite websites. The Bureau of Labor Statistics considers this one of the fastest-growing jobs this decade and predicts employment should swell at a rate of about 20 percent by 2022.” – U.S. News
That being said, successful web development companies need to deliver stellar products on a budget, (usually) within tight brand constraints AND hire rockstar talent from a growing applicant pool in order to do that. Webonise maintains a high level of developer talent by knowing exactly what works and what doesn’t. Looking to hire new devs? Searching for a job? Need a company to build or rebuild your web presence? Every developer is not created equal.
“Productive developers are autodidacts,” said Richard Davis, Chief Technology Officer at Webonise with over 10 years experience in the field. “They know how to analyze a problem, teach themselves how to solve it and discipline themselves to implement the solution. Productive developers also intuit the appropriate level of abstraction when analyzing a problem, neither prematurely grasping for the forest or the trees. They know how to understand just enough of a system to make the smaller component they are working on meaningful. After contemplating this system and their requirements, productive developers follow the spirit of Occam’s razor: The simplest possible solution is the best solution. Productive developers do not so much harness powers of prodigious computation as of attentive focus. They see what is essential and eliminate the mental noise that clouds it."
There are many things you can do – some big, some small – to enhance the way you work and to improve the outcome of your activities. Choose the right tools and nurture the intangible fundamentals that can make or break a developer striving to reach productivity. Some of these are out of a developer’s hands – for example a work atmosphere that offers quality training and continuous adoption of new technology, a healthy teamwork, constant new projects and challenges that breed enthusiasm and a powerful sense of pride in one’s strengths. However, when it comes to streamlining your web development workflow and making every part of the development cycle move quickly and smoothly, we have a few solid tips for you.
Here’s what other Webonisers had to say about increasing your work productivity:
#1.Know your strengths as well as your weaknesses. When you know the areas in which you excel and in which you falter, you can then play to your strengths while relying on others to mitigate your weaknesses. There is nothing wrong in collaborating with others who possess different strengths. This will also allow you to apply more focus on areas where you are strong. Doing this ensures the overall process is that much stronger due to the individual contributors being better together than they are separately.
#2. Don’t just fix problems whenever they occur.Fix the processes that allow the problems to occur in the first place. In doing this, the same problems never occur again. Don't treat bugs as an overhead or yet another task to complete, but treat them as a chance to improve your processes and increase the quality of your code.
#3. Tough things first. Figure out what the hardest job is going to be and knock it out first, when your creative juices are flowing freely. This way, the stuff that needs to get done at the end of the day will be easier to do even though you’re feeling less energized.
#4. Sometimes you have to know when to quit.There will be times when you’ll be banging your head on the keyboard for hours trying to make it work, and you’ll still end up without any progress whatsoever. In cases like this, you need to take your mind off of it and come back afterwards with a fresh perspective. You’ll be able to see things in a different angle and find a better solution to your problem.
#5. Only Respond to Emergency Emails during productive hours. You can lose a few precious hours while switching between programming and doing other things. One of the biggest deterrents to productivity is managing email, phone calls, etc. Whereas some of this has to be done, nearly 90% of emails don’t need to be responded to immediately. A great way to protect your productivity is to set up times throughout the day to check in and then stick to them./
#6. Use source control- Git is GOD! Source control is not just for source code. With modern distributed source control systems such as Git, it is dead simple to create a source repository anywhere and then later (if needed) push it to a server for backup/sharing.
#7. Keep work at work. When you understand that you have a limited amount of day to get your work done, it is much easier to focus during that time, making you much more productive. If you rely on spending your midnight hours working, sipping dark coffee and pretending you don’t need to sleep, you won’t be more productive, you’ll just become overworked and detrimental to the entire team.
#8. Limit meetings to once a week! When you spend your time chatting and going over projects, it can actually become time consuming in a negative way. I know, it’s fun to meet up and talk projects, but we all know that these talks can go on forever, sometimes cutting your productive hours in half.
Being a dev means that a lot of people rely on you, but the glue that holds these projects together, the PMs, may rely on you the most. It’s invaluable to hear from successful and knowledable people like our CTO, Rich Davis, but it may be just as beneficial to hear from the people who analyze each step of the project, as a whole, from client relations to time management.
When it comes to productive developers, these product managers have a few tips to share as well. Since they work together and coordinate entire teams of devs, they know what productivity is all about.
“In order to be a great project manager, I need to work with someone who isn't afraid to deliver bad news. Instead of waiting for the ’right time’, they tell me right away which gives me a heads up and allows me to manage my expectations and our client’s expectations accordingly." -Courtney Prebble, Webonise Product Manager
"Attention to detail is KEY. I want to work with a dev that takes a user story list and really thinks about it, comes up with scenarios I may have missed and brings it to my attention. At past jobs, I've worked with countless developers who blindly build whatever I've written without asking a single question. Obviously this is a recipe for disaster." - Erin Cummings, Webonise Creative Director
"I appreciate someone who is proactive in problem solving. Recently one of my devs came to me saying we need to do some preventive maintenance before we run into a much bigger and harder to fix problem. That is information I need know." - William Slater, Webonise Product Manager
So these are the ingredients that make a productive dev one of the most priceless assets a company can have. If you have more, do share! This is a topic we never get bored of. If you want to see some of the work our devs have done over the past year check it out here!