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Engineering Analytics

5 Engineering habits that will improve your development efficiency

Michael Asiedu
September 2, 2022
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Successful Software Engineers Practices

Software engineering is a complex endeavor, and as such, it is essential for all stakeholders, particularly developers, to understand the implications of their practices, how they affect them, their teammates, their products, and, most importantly, their customers.

Three decades after the start of the software revolution, many lessons have been learned from both failed and successful individuals and companies, making this the best time to participate in this frenzy.

As glamorous as the industry appears to be, numerous bottlenecks affect both individual and team performance when writing code and developing software.

This article aims to provide those who read to the end with five engineering habits that, when followed, can dramatically improve the performance and efficiency of their software development journey. Let's get started.

1. Learn the fundamentals thoroughly first, then move on to tools.

Let's talk about structures and solid foundations. What is the significance of a solid foundation?

The primary goal of laying the foundation is to support the entire load of the building. While the forces of nature wreak havoc, a well-designed and strong foundation keeps the building standing. Well-built foundations keep building occupants safe during natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, and strong winds.

It is no different when it comes to learning to code. The best way to improve your development efficiency and save your future self a lot of headaches is to become familiar with the fundamental concepts.

How you begin your development journey has a significant impact on how well you perform in the future. Begin small, get comfortable with the fundamentals, and then scale up.

People frequently dismiss the idea that knowing fundamental arithmetic is more important than understanding an entire calculus syllabus.

One of the many reasons why fundamentals should be prioritized over frameworks is that new frameworks will always supplant old ones.

Furthermore, it is on these fundamentals that these tools and frameworks are built. Popular JavaScript libraries include React.js, Angular, and Svelte.

A thorough understanding of JavaScript is required to master these tools.

In my experience, learners who have a strong fundamental understanding of JavaScript perform better and more effectively when using these new tools.

Start from the bottom up and "think clearly from the ground up," as Naval Ravikant says.

There is a strange trend in this industry of tools and libraries being pushed out by newer and better ones.

Some popular tools created with the major languages a decade ago are becoming obsolete. The fundamental languages, on the other hand, are thriving. Fundamentals endure, whereas tools dwindle.

2. Write and ship more optimized code.

Everyone can write code, but writing better and more optimized code is uncommon.

You may wonder what an optimized code is.

The structure, length, style, and speed of the code are just as important as the output when developing software.

Planning is the first step in writing better code. Getting right into a project or feature is a surefire way to fail.

A developer can envision the necessary and non-essential features during planning and prototyping. This is the first approach to reducing development time and writing better code.

Second, one of the most overlooked but essential practices is properly organizing folder and file structure.

One major advantage of file structures is that they make it easier to locate and access files. This facilitates debugging, refactoring, and, most importantly, collaborative work on larger projects.

Having separate folders with tests and components for each small feature may appear to be a hassle, but the benefits are tremendous.

Furthermore, sticking to a single naming convention throughout your project can make your code appear more beautiful and understandable.

Naming conventions are essential in all types of software development. The simpler you make variable, function, class, and other programmatic names, the easier it will be to develop that code and reference different parts.

A commented code is an optimized code. Commented code consists of lines that do not form part of the logic but serve as pointers and descriptions to other lines.

Writing comments makes it easier for others to work on the same code because they provide guidelines and short explanations for why and how certain code blocks behave the way they should.

Refactoring is the process of restructuring existing computer code (changing the factoring) without changing its external behavior. The goal of refactoring is to make a code line shorter and easier to read without changing its expected behavior.

You created new code, which is fantastic. Is the new code usable? If that's the case, simply delete the previous one!

Keeping the old code is pointless. Remove them or comment them out.

Long functions should be changed. Make them brief and straightforward.

Finally, I'll discuss style concerning optimized code.

Not only is style important for making code look nice, but it is also important for reading, editing, and understanding.

Use reasonable indentation, employ prettier extensions, and personalize your IDE settings. It will be appreciated by those who read your code.

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3. Writing Automated Tests

Software testing is the process of evaluating and verifying that a software product or application does what it is supposed to do.

Unit testing, integration testing, pentesting, and other types of testing are examples.

The software you're developing and the stack you're using will influence your testing methods, but testing is one of the most important skills a developer or team can have.

We can use tests to determine what went wrong, where it occurred, and what we can do about it if our application ever crashes.

When all of the tests pass, it's easy to conclude that the problem isn't with the function for which the tests were written.

Furthermore, testing improves the quality of the code. Its goal is to find all potential bugs before putting the code through further integration testing.

Because unit tests are modular, parts of them can be written even if the entire application has not yet been set up or completed.

If there is a flaw and we accidentally add another semicolon to our expressions when refactoring our code, our tests will come to our rescue.

If unit tests are in place, it is safe to proceed with refactoring.

4. Engineering Metrics Tracking and Data Analytics

Tracking various data sets is essential in software engineering because it provides an unbiased view of how well a project is performing.

When it comes to measuring performance and understanding the project's various strengths and weaknesses, knowing every countable measure for your engineering codebase and the product is crucial.

Tracking the average time it takes to submit pull requests or the rate at which bugs are fixed during the development and production phases are examples of important code metrics.

Cost and time estimation, as well as the number of software developers working on a specific feature, are key project metrics.

Code quality is an important metric for almost every company that uses the internet, in addition to tracking user satisfaction. Code quality metrics may include the number of lines of code, the number of dependencies used, the performance of automated tests, and code redundancy.

Non-technical considerations include tracking costs and time spent per feature shipped, as well as the efficiency and ROI of various development techniques.

In some cases, a shift in problem-solving strategy or the application of a specific tool may be required. These seemingly insignificant decisions can result in significant progress for the team and the product in question.

Quantitative data like the number of code lines and qualitative data like redundancy are difficult to check, but software like Keypup can easily provide DevOps insights like DORA Metrics, software delivery metrics, and development quality.

Performance measures are a great way to evaluate the performance and proficiency of an engineering team.

Technical leads and developers must be able to select and assess the measures that are appropriate for their goals and objectives.

Code churn and reactors, efficiency, and other security metrics are also worth taking into account.

5. Inclusion and collaboration with other people/ teams

Collaboration is especially important in software development teams because individually talented developers and software engineers must share skills and solve problems together to work most efficiently.

Individually, software developers can broaden their knowledge by joining an active and open community of engineers who are preferably smarter than them. This association can be formed by attending conferences and engaging in healthy Discord communication.

Contributing to open source projects is a sure way for developers to improve their technical skills.

When you try to read other people's code and collaborate with them, you're putting your brain under a significant amount of stress. As a result, you'll have a better understanding of how successful engineers think.

The significance of effective team communication cannot be overstated. Communication between the product, marketing, and engineering teams must be continuous.

This cross-communication is essential for shipping the best features and understanding what works best for the product's users.

Before you leave

A dedicated team is releasing new resources and software on the Keypup blog to help you explore the world of engineering metrics. Check us out for more information on DORA metrics and software delivery quality insights.