Some of the shortcuts that modern IDEs offer can significantly increase the efficiency at which developers churn out code. The problem is, a lot of developers don’t bother learning them. However if you invest a bit of time each day learning the keyboard shortcuts, code assist and coding templates of your IDE and you’ll have your feet up while your colleagues are still hard at it.

Design is hard. Don’t rush it

A large part of software development is thought and design; working out how best to fit all the pieces together. This takes time. But as you gain experience you tend to become more proficient; more efficient at arriving at the same (or better) solutions than you might have in the past.

However in my opinion, software design isn’t something that should be rushed. Your solution needs to feel right, and often arriving at that design takes time. I (seem to) regularly take a lot more time thinking through a problem and designing a solution than fellow colleagues. Although difficult to quantify, I strongly believe this extra time and thought up front pays for itself in maintenance and upkeep going forward.

Coding is easy. Speed it up

Coding on the other hand is an activity at which you can get faster and faster (no, not by increasing your typing speed!). There lots of ways you can improve your efficiency, like keyboard shortcuts (these alone speed up your workflow considerably), code assist, and code templates.

You’ve probably seen those webinars and tech talks where the presenter types a letter or two, hits ctrl + space and all of sudden a ream of perfectly formatted, compiling code is spat out… and then you think, how the f*** did they do that. This is the sort of power that modern IDEs give you, and that you should be using as a part of your developer arsenal.

Now if you’re like me and don’t have a photographic memory, you’ll never remember and use all of your shortcuts overnight. It’s a repetition thing. The more you use them, the more your brain will trigger them automatically, without you thinking about them. Eventually they’ll become second nature and you’ll be cringing about how you used to work, wondering how you ever lived with your new-found development power tools.

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