July 28, 2013 1:03 PM
Posted by: CompleteITProfessional
If you work as a software developer, then you’d be familiar with the necessary yet sometimes difficult task of debugging your own code. This task rarely goes as well as you’d like, and you can often spend hours trying to fix a bug or reproduce a problem in some code. Try out these five tips that I use when debugging code.
July 7, 2013 8:57 PM
Posted by: CompleteITProfessional
Developing software takes time. It involves analysing how to write effective code, writing the code, compiling, testing, debugging. It’s a big part of many IT projects – but there are ways you can save time as a developer.
Using the keyboard to perform tasks is a lot faster than using the mouse for the same thing. Many applications have built-in keyboard shortcuts – combinations of keys, that when pressed, will give you a result. These are usually displayed in the menu of the application.
It’s a good idea to get to know what these shortcuts are, as they can save you a lot of time. Pressing Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V to copy and paste is a lot quicker than using the mouse and navigating the menu. There are more shortcuts to learn than just basic text manipulation, though. If you’re using an IDE to develop code, there is a range of functions and shortcuts associated to them. Running debug mode, compiling code, Find and Replace, showing other windows – each of which could have a shortcut key. Learning and using these shortcuts can save you time in the long run.
Auto-complete is one of my favourite features in developing software. If you’re using an IDE when writing code, you may have the ability to use auto complete.
This feature will attempt to finish words for you as you type them, in certain situations, provided you’ve spelt them correctly. Depending on the language, the Auto Complete feature will complete keywords, function names, variable types, variable names, table names and column names. This can save you time in two ways.
Firstly, it saves you from typing the whole word. The suggestions will appear and you can just select one. This is usually done with a combination of arrow keys, space bar or the Enter key, depending on the application. You can then keep typing the rest of your statement.
Secondly, it ensures you have the correct name. It’s matched against other definitions it has found, which means the name is correct and you’ll have less problems later when attempting to run the code.
The IDE application that you use to develop and debug your code will likely have a lot of built in functionality. I’ve used a few IDEs before and many of them have functions that I’ve never even used. I’m sure they would save me a lot of time and hassle if I use them, but I just don’t yet know what they do or haven’t had the situation that needed them to be used.
There are many functions listed in the menus of the application that are designed to make your life as a software developer easier. Take some time to learn what they are and what they do. It can save you time in the long run as you’re writing your code.
This may seem like it’s something that doesn’t save you time – spending time to write comments for all of your code. However, I think it is a big time saver if we thing longer term.
Code commenting allows you to enter information about a piece of code such as the description, parameters, usage, and author. If you’re not sure what a particular function does, or a step in the code, then the comments can help explain it.
Spend some time as you’re writing the code to comment against the functions and the steps inside them. You’ll see the benefits of this later, as you come back to the code at a later date. Also, if others come to view your code, they’ll be glad to see that it is commented and easy to read.
June 30, 2013 2:38 AM
Posted by: CompleteITProfessional
Welcome to the IT Career Advice blog! This is the first post of the new blog that has been set up for me here at IT Knowledge Exchange. The topic for the first post – five ways that IT professionals can improve their IT careers.
There are many things that IT professionals can do to improve their careers. An improvement could be seen as doing your job better, getting a promotion, or just increasing your knowledge about what you do at work. Let’s take a look at what I think are five of the best ways you can improve your career.
One of the best things you can do to be better at your job is to get organised. Many of us have a lot going on in our lives, both at work and in our personal lives. People give us things to do, emails come in, meetings need to be attended, notes are taken – the list goes on. It can be hard to keep track of what needs to be done.
A good way to handle all of this incoming work and possible confusion is to improve your self-organisation. It’s a lot easier to work out what to do, when to do it, and who needs it done, if you are aware of everything that you’re doing. Different systems work for different people, so I won’t suggest a definite way to do it, but I recommend writing everything down that you need to do in a single place. This can help you identify what needs to be done. Write it down in Notepad, Excel, Outlook Tasks, a notebook – anything that works for you.
LinkedIn is a professional social networking site – similar to Facebook, but it’s targeted towards working professionals. People in the IT industry fall under this category. If you haven’t set up a profile on LinkedIn, I recommend it. This is because knowing people in the IT industry is very important, especially as your career progresses. You can “connect with” (similar concept to becoming friends with someone on Facebook) other people you know or have worked with to communicate with them, keep up to date with their roles and careers, and get introductions to other people.
A profile page on LinkedIn is quite similar to a résumé. It has your name, title, summary, work history, skills, and education. If you’ve got a resume, you can use that as a guide to filling in information. The good thing about LinkedIn is that companies and locations are integrated, so once you put down your current or past employers, you can find other people who worked there as well.
Get A Certification
Certifications are a big part of the IT industry. Some roles have more certifications available than others, and therefore they are more affected. For example, roles in the networking or system administration field have a large number of certifications. People starting out in those roles often look to get certifications from CompTIA or Cisco. On the other hand, roles for software developers don’t have a lot of relevant certifications – there are some from Microsoft, but they only apply to .NET.
Depending on your role, you might want to look into getting a certification. Doing this has several benefits:
- It increases your knowledge on the subject matter
- It proves to your employer that you have a certain level of understanding on a topic
- It demonstrates that you are dedicated to improving your career and can set and meet goals (studying to take the exam)
- It can help in getting a pay rise or promotion
The IT industry is constantly changing, and so are certifications. It’s helpful to get certifications as your career progresses to stay up-to-date with the trends in the industry.
Set Career Goals
One of the best ways to improve your career is to set some career goals. These goals are long-term targets for where you want your career to go. Sure, you could just keep going to work, doing your time, and hoping for a raise – but without some kind of long-term plan, how will you know if that’s what you want?
Take some time to think about what you really want to do in the IT industry. Write it down. Put a time frame on it as well. Work out what kind of role you’d like to be doing, what kind of work as well. From here, you can work backwards to find out how to get there from your current position.
This will help you decide on the next step for your career – whether you need to get promoted, gain experience, move departments, or even take a possible new role with another company.
Keep A Good Work/Life Balance
It’s important to work hard while you’re at work. It’s equally important to take some time away from work to allow yourself to focus on other things in life. This concept is known as “work/life balance”. It refers to having a healthy split between your work time and the rest of your life.
Those people who spend too much time at work, or doing work-related tasks, may find they don’t have time for anything else and find themselves feeling burnt out. This reduces their effectiveness in all areas – at work and at home.
To avoid this happening to you, try to keep a good balance between your work and the things you do outside of work. Take time to relax, eat well, get plenty of sleep, socialise with friends and family, get some hobbies. All of these will distract you from work and will ideally make you feel fresh when returning to work.
I hope you’ve found the information here useful! For more tips and advice, visit the Complete IT Professional site at www.completeitprofessional.com.