For the past few months, I have been teaching quite a few of my friends how to program and develop the web. Here are some mistakes they have made that REALLY annoy me.
1. Skipping Through Courses
So once, I sent my friend a link to a free course that was 6 hours long. 10 minutes later, he said he finished with a 99% score. I realized that he skipped right to the quiz and guessed/copied code until he got the correct answer.
There are a few things wrong with this. The first is that you learn absolutely nothing. The point of the course is to teach you skills, not to see how well you do on the quiz. My tip: take the courses slowly. If you don't have time, work on it the next day. There is no rush to finish.
The next thing I hate about this is that it encourages cheating. We all have that one friend that pretends to be good at everything but actually is a big cheater. If you want to learn web development, go right ahead and take your time. If you want to flex that you finished the course, I would recommend spending at least the recommended time.
2. Git Commit Messages
This is more of a personal thing. I have been working on numerous open source projects, and one of my friends keeps his default commit message as "fixed stuff". This article has awesome guidelines for writing commit messages. When the newbie programmer writes "changed something" or "fixed stuff" as the commit message, the rest of the contributors have to spend a while going through their changes trying to figure out the code.
This overall slows down development, and is detrimental to the effective workflow of the team. Always create a PR guideline for keeping track of things also.
3. Too Much Manual Testing
Developers should not waste their valuable development time performing manual testing. Manual tests are not reusable, and they are boring and time-consuming. As a newbie, there’s a high chance that you could end up doing too much manual testing. Believe me, you’ll quickly get frustrated when you fill out the same forms time after time.
You can save a lot of time by starting to write automated test cases right from the beginning. While the initial setup of automated test cases may take a while, you can reuse them anywhere once you have automated your tests. It also increases your confidence in automating the testing process. You can use CI/CD pipelines and pre-commit hooks to automate your testing and improve development and test efficiency.
4. Completely Ignoring SEO
Many new developers ignore doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of the websites or web applications they develop. That could be due to the lack of technical SEO knowledge or lack of development time. But it’s a big mistake to ignore it.
Think about SEO optimization from the beginning. Most users find websites using a search engine. SEO is therefore very valuable from the client’s point of view. So, if you have ignored SEO optimization as a developer, the site will be ranked below in the search results, and the client will not be satisfied.
As a web developer, you need to think about SEO right from the moment you start building your web application, not the end of it. Otherwise, you could end up with a lot of unnecessary rework. Here are a couple of tips for you guys to follow when developing:
- Make sure the site architecture is crawlable
- Optimize the website for efficient loading time
- Use intelligent backlinking
- Keep your coding W3C validated (You can use the W3C Markup Validation Service)
- Eliminate duplicate content
- Use image alt tags
5. Ignoring Code Formatting and Commenting
Learn about the correct naming conventions for the languages you use, use the correct spelling when naming functions or variables, and use an automatic code formatting tool with your IDE.
Another good practice followed by experienced developers, ignored by newbies, is adding meaningful comments in the code. The purpose of adding comments is to document your code so that the code can be easily understood by other developers or even yourself in the future. You can use comments to define the variables, functions, class names, and what your code does at a high level.
Following proper formatting and commenting practices will make it easier to find bugs in your code as well.
I hope you liked this article, and if you did, make sure to check out my twitter and the rest of the blog. Thanks!