Becoming better programmer is not an easy task. Programming is not only tough for beginners. Even many professional programmers, who had spent many years in reckless coding, find it both challenging as well as adventurous. Since long, it is a matter of discussion that keeping programming journal is how much beneficial for programmers. Though I am still not a top level programmer but in my experience journaling helps a lot in coding. So I decided to write on how writing programming journal helps to become a better coder.
Table of Contents
What is programming journal?
Journal is like a diary or canvas in which you can scratch your progress, experience, improvements, mistakes, ideas and plans. Journal writing is equally beneficial for all age groups. Especially it is useful if you are a new programmer and want to develop your coding skills. Programming journal may be handwritten on notebook or note taking app based. But I prefer pen paper handwritten journaling (Curious to know why? Don’t worry I will cover it later in the same post).
It Helps to remember ideas and hence make productive.
Keeping a programming journal allows you to solidify your ideas in a piece of paper. You can transfer problems or thoughts from your head to paper by writing your doubts in it. This helps to see whatever is in your mind in front of you.
You can keep a record of bugs to be removed or alternate algorithm to be implemented. Keeping a note provides you flexibility to not to remember these entire concepts or ideas all time. So thoughts will not be floating in your mind when you are busy on another task.
In short, writing journal unloads your mind, which contributes to concentration as well as reduces chances of mistake. Fewer mistakes ultimately make you more productive.
Helps to track your progress and improvements
Dedication or concentration is must to become an expert programmer. Many programmers get overwhelmed because they could not track their progress. They start realizing that I am in the same place from where started. As a result, they start losing their interest. I had also faced same problem as a beginner in programming. It feels really bad when you work hard but could not find what is improved till now. If you are struggling with same issue, probably writing programming journal may help you.
It helps you to remember your achievements and feel good. You can stay organized and motivated to keep progressing. It acts as physical prove for what you had learned, how you are better than that day when you started coding or how much you worked to solve your doubt. It helps you to gain your self-confidence and to overcome depression. Journaling allows you to track how many mistakes you committed and what should you do to avoid them.
May be beneficial in long term projects
If you are working on any short project or doing some tweaks of coding. Then you may not realize the need of journaling. But in a long term project, it becomes necessary to keep records. There is a big risk that you may forget about any bug which could be never eliminated or forget to upgrade a library. It helps in proper management as well as brings self-discipline. Also, you do not need to remember how this algorithm, design or concept can be used at which stage of your project.
Useful to restore information in mind.
Journal may be of great help when you restart any project after a long time. Either you can complete whole project on the same day or you have to jump in between codes. Many times it is practically impossible to complete a large project in one day. Here programming journal comes handy to understand the piece of codes from where you left last time.
How to take programming notes?
Now if you had decided to write programming journal, you may think which method is best. Actually, both method works fine at their place. You should choose whichever you prefer.
You can keep a handwritten journal because it provides you relief by making a certain distance between you and glowing screen of your PC. Writing by hand improves your physical and mental health. Hand-eye coordination increases your creativity. On another hand, you can use note taking apps like OneNote, Evernote or Tomboy. Then you can sync your digital programming journal in any cloud storage service to access from anywhere. Additionally, digital journaling provides flexibility to auto login, easy editing and password encryption.
Writing programming Journal, what to include?
Like a regular diary, first of all, you can mention date and time. Then briefly describe problem you faced and probable reasons for the issue. It is possible that you may find a solution while writing. After that mention what attempts done by you to solve the problem. If you had solved problem write its solution or write why you can’t solve it. You can also mention what you learned from this problem and how you can avoid such glitch again in future.
In this way, you can also make a list of your achievements, goals, expectations or points to reconsider in future. At the beginning, all this may not seem useful but believe me, you will find it very useful in future.
Writing programming journal is not as easy as it seems. You have to evaluate all time that this point to be mentioned in the journal or not. Also, you have to regularly (daily or weekly) give some time to make your journal fruitful. But once you get habitual, you will start enjoying it.
Our life is full of struggles, achievements, events, and lessons. We generally forget or ignore these real gems and a stage comes when we think ‘what I was doing since then?’ This situation is not only mentally painful but it may divert you from your ultimate goal. So start writing programming journal from now to become a better coder.
Are you going to start writing programming journal? Which method will you prefer, handwritten or digital? What things will you like to mention in your programming journal? Have you found journaling beneficial? You can freely share your thoughts in comments.