Two months into 2020 and the COVID-19 virus breaks out to pandemic scale, compelling everything and everyone to go home and stay there. The good thing is, you do not have to commute to the office anymore, so there is some time to spare. So why not make yourself a professional lemonade?
As a coder, it is essential to stay up-to-date with your fast-paced world. But going to work had been taking a heavy toll on the body, mind, and of course, time. Well, not anymore! Consider it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be productive in your pajamas. Use the lemon to tick off that aspiring skill (or a set of skills) you had in your bucket list for so long.
While the list has no end, here are ten ways to go about it:
1. Become a full stack developer (if you aren’t one already)
As a full-stack developer, you’ll be adept in working with servers and host configurations, able to perform database integrations and create data-driven websites. Depending on customer requirements, your project can involve a mobile stack, a web stack, or a native application stack. However, being a full-stack developer isn’t just about familiarity but more of an intuitive understanding of the best practices around front-end and back-end domains. Once you nail that, your value in any team increases exponentially.
While it’s not something that can be mastered in a matter of weeks, you can lay the groundwork for the technical foundation, hone your core skills, and keep learning.
2. Learn that new framework you always wanted to
The industry is so fast-paced that by the time you master a framework, there are 5 new ones on the loose. Usually, there’s little time to catch up. But with the pandemic causing us to retreat into our nests, the time has come!
More often or not, kicking off with documentation can be overwhelming since there is a lot of information to cover. Instead, you can start by going through basic introduction tutorials and move on to simple exercises.
The trial and error method is more helpful in picking up tricks than you think! At this point, reading through content won’t be that herculean a task. Be it official documentation or articles by other engineers, it’s now easier to pick up best practices, anti-patterns, tips and tricks around the framework you’re trying to learn because you now have the perspective of a minorly experienced individual.
Some on-demand frameworks that you can opt for: Angular/React/Vue; Spring MVC; Django
3. Learn Docker and Kubernetes
Both, simply because one isn’t an alternative to the other. While Docker is a technology that allows apps to run in constructs (popularly termed as containers), Kubernetes ensures coordinated running of multiple containers.
The newest members of the DevOps universe have already changed the flow of web app creation and deployment, making them more scalable and future-proof. Docker helps maintain consistency across multiple development-release cycles and standardizes the environment. Kubernetes not only allows you to procure maximum utility from the containers but also build cloud-native applications that can run anywhere, independent of cloud-specific requirements. Hence, it is a must-do course if you want to deploy web applications easily and effectively.
4. Explore GraphQL
Developed by Facebook under MIT license, GraphQL has been powering their mobile apps since 2012. It is a typed query language that provides a comprehensive interpretation of data in an API, making it easier for clients to specify exactly what they need.
As opposed to traditional REST APIs that require loading from multiple URLs to get data, GraphQL APIs do it in a single request. Therefore, apps using GraphQL are typically faster even over slow mobile network connections.
For best learning results, you can start by simply getting a hang of the syntax and documentation, and then move on to experiment with minor projects. When your projects reach a level where they require more flexibility and control, you can build powerful tools like GraphiQL.
Learn it here: https://www.howtographql.com/
5. Get savvy with data analytics and data science
Data analysis is the process of data evaluation, using statistical or analytical tools to uncover beneficial information. With the advancement of technology, the world is witnessing a boom in data-driven processes. Almost all major industries have turned to Big Data analysis to make important decisions and solve complex problems.
So, consider the value of being able to look at data and infer a solution or the mere cause of a problem. It is a skill that’s often missing, given the fact that an individual is technically sound. To kickstart, Microsoft Excel, SQL (database language), R (programming language), and data visualization are the basics that you need to cover.
And if you love data a lot, data science is something you should look into. Cousin to data analysis, data science is a more advanced subject, involving a lot more programming, creation of new algorithms, and fabrication of predictive models.
6. Learn the fastest-growing programming language
According to Stack Overflow’s annual Developer Survey 2019, Python has managed to edge out Java in the overall ranking and is now the second-most loved language. Although the IT world is ever-changing, Python has stood the test of time and proved its efficiency to both beginners and experienced programmers.
Apart from being an easy-to-learn language, Python is highly productive as well. Whether you want to build sustainable apps, web services, or games, automate a recurring task, pull off complex calculations or gather insights from a set of data, Python can be implemented in all of these.
You can begin with the basic syntax, variables, and data types of the language and move on to decision-making and control flow. You may then master the Object-oriented programming approach. Oops will not only help build large scale applications but also write clean code. Finally, practice is the key to get the knack of it all.
7. Join the community of AWS-certified developers
As more and more companies are switching from traditional server infrastructure to cloud solutions, cloud computing skills are getting a higher bid in the industry.
Currently the biggest cloud computing platform, Amazon Web Services will essentially help build and enhance your cloud skills with their training and certification program. You not only get to learn from experts but also stay at par with regular AWS updates, so you know your cloud skills are fresh. Moreover, they offer the options of both digital learning which can be done at your own pace, as well as classroom training by an instructor.
Whether you want to design sustainable systems, develop applications for the cloud, or automate apps, networks, and systems, you can go for the industry-recognized credential along a path that serves you well.
To learn more: https://aws.amazon.com/training/
8. Familiarize yourself with Artificial Intelligence
Although it is still at a growing stage, AI is slowly but significantly changing the landscape of all major industries. AI specialists bagged the No.1 spot on LinkedIn’s list of emerging jobs. In the last 4 years, hiring growth for the role has been projected at 74% annually. Artificial Intelligence will replace many human jobs in the long run and simultaneously create new opportunities for those who understand it.
AI holds the capability to accelerate innovation be it coding, testing, bug detection, or resolution, and improve the overall process of a project cycle. For example, an AI-driven tool can cut the number of keystrokes required to type in half. It can identify vulnerabilities in a piece of code, prior to testing and consequently generate the required tests for quality assurance.
Since AI is a vast concept that aims to mimic human abilities, it is important to approach the correct learning process that will skill you up for your current or desired job role.
9. Predict the future with Machine Learning
A branch of AI, Machine learning is a data analyzing method aimed at automation of analytical model building. It implements the idea of self-learning systems that will help identify patterns and in turn, make decisions or predictive outcomes, with little or no human intervention. Siri, Alexa, even Tesla’s self-driving cars, they all function the way they do thanks to the implementation of machine learning.
It is safe to say that data rules the world. This data can be used to build precise models that will analyze even more data and deliver fast, accurate results for large-scale organizations to lock-in lucrative opportunities and avoid bumping into projected risks.
Machine learning is no cakewalk but similar to computer science, you need a top-down approach to it. You focus on the result you desire, that is, using modern and “best of breed” tools to work real problems end to end.
10. Build the app you have been wanting to
Is there an application you have been ideating on since time immemorial? It’s time to act on it! Working on a side project is one of the best moves you can make as a developer.
Whether you’re creating a single feature or a full product, it is a process of facing and solving problems. These projects are likely to trace the fine intersection between enjoying what you do and practicing marketable skills.
When you start executing your own project, it opens up an entire portal wherein you learn new technical approaches faster. It keeps you hands-on and provides that dose of motivation you might need to achieve awesome results.
And, bonus point no. 11: Stay healthy
This is a challenging time and health is wealth after all. Try not to venture out unless absolutely necessary. Practice hygiene. Eat healthy food, drink plenty of water, and most importantly, maintain a positive atmosphere around you and your loved ones.
Any of the above will set you up for a prospective career ahead. It all comes down to what’s best suited for your interests — and that’s totally your call.