The 7 Habits of Happy Developers
My kids’ school is teaching kids good habits by following the book the 7 Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey throughout the school year. I thought it would be fun to do something similar for the 7 habits of happy developers.
So what are 7 habits of happy developers? There are probably way more, but 7 is a good number, I think.
Habit 1: Always learn.
It’s important to keep up with what’s going on in the industry and to approach it with a curious mindset. In order to continue to grow as a developer, you should be curious and excited about what’s new in the tech world. Find fun ways to solve problems and stay sharp by working on side projects, not just what you work with every day at your job.
Habit 2: Ask for help sooner rather than later.
Understand that most people know more than you and that’s OK! Many people in the industry are more than happy to share their knowledge, and though it can be scary to ask for help, you’ll be so much happier if you ask for help when you’re stuck. And make sure that you don’t wait until you are banging your head on the table.
Though it can be scary to ask for help, you’ll be so much happier if you ask for help when you’re stuck.
This one was a tough one for me to learn because I felt like I should know more than I did, and I didn’t want to ask any stupid questions. It’s so important to really understand what you are doing and if you don’t understand, it can be frustrating trying to figure out why something is not working like you would expect it to. Software developers are some of the most helpful people I have ever met and I have never come across one that wasn’t eager to share their knowledge.
Habit 3: Share your knowledge.
Teaching others the craft solidifies your knowledge and exposes areas where you may need more education. Answer questions on Stack Overflow or Quora. Create educational content on YouTube, in blogs, or even LinkedIn. If you aren’t comfortable putting yourself out there publicly, find someone to mentor one on one – a student or coworker. You won’t get the public appraisal, but you could be the reason that student or coworker is a successful developer. A good mentor can make all the difference in someone’s career.
Habit 4: Have a problem-solver mentality.
Try to enjoy figuring out why things aren’t working. It is inevitable that something won’t work. It’s just a part of the process. Don’t just throw your hands up in frustration, instead try to find out interesting ways to solve the problem by breaking it down into smaller, testable components to pinpoint the issue. By remaining calm and curious, your brain will function better and you will be happier overall.
Habit 5: Have fun.
Being a developer can be very stressful, but if you enjoy challenges, and are able to find creative solutions you’ll feel accomplished and proud at the end of the day. Even if something isn’t necessarily fun, find ways to make it fun and interesting. Sometimes, I like to pretend the world is on fire and if I fix this one bug, the fire will go out and I will have single-handedly saved the world (OK, maybe I watch too many Marvel movies).
Habit 6: Create a work-life balance.
Oftentimes, I will find myself working nights, weekends and holidays. Not because I’m a workaholic, but because one of the downfalls of working remotely, is that all of my days kind of run together. It’s easy to let time slip away while I’m working and forget about my non-work life, so I have started scheduling my working hours, and if it’s not on my calendar, I’m not working. I take days off when the rest of the world is off – Thanksgiving Day and the day after Thanksgiving, for example, I won’t be working. I’ll be eating turkey, washing dishes, doing laundry, all the things that tend to get neglected when I don’t take time off.
Habit 7: Step away from the desk.
Get fresh air, meditate, exercise, eat healthy. Seriously. All of these things we tend to forget about when we are elbow deep in code. TAKE BREAKS. Do something good for yourself. This is good not only for your mood, but your brain, too. Most of the problems I’ve solved have come when I’m not staring at my screen. I’ve solved problems while feeding my kid, taking a shower and taking walks. You’ll be healthier AND happier.
Now, take a break – this was a long article! And then get back to work solving problems while wearing your superhero cape!