Tips To Being A Better Programmer

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image: git-tower.com

It is a lot of tough work to be a programmer, the type that can earn money from his programming skills. It is not just about typing out codes but about being in the mood, being patient, avoiding distractions, getting comfortable with rewriting everything, meeting the client's expectation and being actually very good at coding.

I have been on a programming project for two weeks now. It is like building a complete application from ground up, but in Excel. Been having to use commands I didn't know exist in Excel. I had done the first phase for the client last year, then the second phase at the start of the year and now they are ready for phase three (which should be the last phase). Then I will transition to another project for them.

We communicate via Skype, email and Whatsapp messages.

I spend whole days thinking out how I will execute the project, how I will code the mammoth program. I break the application into steps that I can code out in one go. Unfortunately, I don't bill the client for those hours thinking out the solution and program flow. I got the project via one of the freelance site I am registered on and the terms of the project involved a per hour billing. And been a very nice person, in addition to the fact that it is the very type of projects I enjoy and I love programming, I decided to not bill them for a significant portion of the actual time I spend on it. In the hourly consulting world, it is common to have billed and non-billed hours. Some people restrict those non-billed hours to the time spent discussing the specs with the client. Others exclude time spent researching/thinking the best way to structure the project flow. I take it further by excluding some of the time I spent on the project.

I still make good money as I bill the client in dollars.

And I am not the only one like that. I once hired a couple of Asian programmers and one of them, an Indian, actually works this way. Bills you way less than the actual time he spend on the project.

Those are some of the pleasant sacrifices you make when you love programming. You've got someone paying you for something you would have done for free if you weren't too busy. You won't have any issue with undercharging for it as long as it gets the client sending more such exciting projects your way.

To be a better programmer you need to be always programming and better if you are working on a real world project someone is paying well for.

1 comment:

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