Throughout history, one of the most basic goals of any business is to increase efficiency and productivity. The more efficient a person or process is, the less time is required to complete a project. The natural by-product of increased productivity is an increase in the bottom line. Within software development, there is always more work to do; new features to implement, bugs to fix, tests to run, the list can feel endless. Here are a few tips to help increase your productivity at work to get more from your workday. Work Fewer Hours This may sound counter intuitive, but significant research has shown that working fewer hours promotes smarter solutions while improving your ability to focus. The very nature of coding presents developers with complex issues on a daily basis that require incredible focus and smart solutions. In reality, working shorter hours may not always be possible if your employer is yet to understand the significant benefits shorter hours offers, if you are very new to a job/inexperienced or if your workload is simply too much. If this is the case, we recommend taking more short breaks throughout the day. Coding is a huge mental drain requiring consistent focus. It is important to give your brain time to refresh and recharge by leaving your desk at intervals throughout the day. Scrolling through your phone or browsing the web is not a mental break, it is just another point of focus. Try going for a walk, chatting with a colleague or getting some fresh air to reenergise your brain. Avoid Distractions According to a survey conducted by Udemy Research — aptly named "2018 Workplace Distraction Report" nearly 3 out of 4 workers (70 percent) say they feel distracted at work. The impact this has is compounded when coding due to the complex nature of the activity. You’re in the zone, ten different variables shooting through your mind and bang your phone rings or your work friend taps you on the shoulder. Instantly you are dragged out of the zone hampering productivity. Research has shown it takes up to fifteen minutes to fully get back in the zone. Similar to when you’re just about to nod off to sleep and something disturbs you, it takes around fifteen minutes to shake off the disturbance. Practical tips to combat this include; Wearing noise cancelling headphones if this is allowed in your workplace Having a clear and open conversation with your colleagues that you can only work effectively when left undisturbed for a period of time Pre-set times to chat with your colleagues or organise set meetings to avoid disturbances Turn notifications off on your phone Have a sign on your desk stating that you are working on a complex issue removing any ambiguity in the situation – open communication about the sign prior to putting it up is key. Automate Writing scripts to automate the laborious time-consuming elements of your job can improve productivity for an entire team significantly. Streamlining your workday enables you to work smarter, not harder. When you face a laborious task, always err on the side of automation but make sure you consider the cost-benefit of automating the task. You don’t want to spend more time on debugging the script than the actual task at hand. Don’t Multitask Despite your self-assessment that you are an expert multi-tasker, the reality is that research from the American Psychological Association among other sources shows that you are not. When your to-do list is overwhelmingly long, it can be tempting to hop from task to task, generating an illusion of control for your own benefit. In reality, you are wasting time as you jump between headspaces, losing the clarity that comes with continuous focus. When working on a task, choose to work on that task until completion. Of course, in the real world, this is not always possible. A solution is simply setting a time-frame or deadline for the task. Allow yourself a certain amount of time to work on the task, then move on to the next. It is important that your full focus is on one task at a time. In the working world, you will always encounter distractions and obstacles to productivity. The key is to implement simple measures when possible to mitigate distractions and to always be mindful of burnout. Our brains work better when they are afforded adequate time to refresh and when they are focused on one task at a time.
While there are plenty of social outlets to vent and express your feelings online, LinkedIn is not one of them. Outside of work we have all been told by a friend or colleague NOT to talk about work, regardless if the information is positive or negative, nobody wants to tackle these topics after 5:30. The same rules apply when it comes to LinkedIn and your working world. Nobody wants to hear your opinion on football, nor do they want to see photographs of your family, or that funny picture of a dog chasing its tail. There are plenty of social media outlets where you can express these interests and opinions. Try to differentiate your work world and your social world. LinkedIn is used by hundreds of millions of professionals worldwide. It is a place where you can sell/offer your experience and skills within the working community. How you demonstrate this information will be the reason why you are being headhunted by businesses and agencies, or on the contrary why you are finding it difficult to gain any traction in your network. Here are some key tips on how to get the most out of your LinkedIn profile. 1. Profile Picture: Your profile picture is a unique selling tool. Isn’t it always nice to have a face with the name? It makes you stand out more, makes you more memorable and ultimately portrays a big message to your professional network. When you’re using a picture, please do NOT have a picture of you including: Dogs, Cats, Bars, Nightclubs, group pictures, poorly formatted pictures or wearing a football kit. This is the first thing that a hiring manager will see, make it count, and make a positive impression. Recent surveys have shown that your profile is 11 times more likely to be viewed if you have a photograph on it than without. 2. Spelling/Grammar: This one is self-explanatory, yet it is the most common issue you’ll find on LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn personal page is essentially your own online stock for hiring managers to buy into. You want your stock to be professional, assertive and representative of your ability. Ensure to spell-check your personal information and details before you submit them on your page. This, of course, will rule out any “where, were, we’re OR they’re, there and their” mistakes that are most common. Remember, this is your professional profile – nobody else will correct your work for you. 3. Networking A great way to get the most from your LinkedIn is by expanding your network. LinkedIn users have a tendency to add their closest friends and don’t explore and maximise their potential to widen their networking net. Reach out to old acquaintances and colleagues, clients and customers, and most certainly your college alumni – these are quite likely the most beneficial additions to your network. They have probably pursued the same routes as you have and can provide you with a broader reach in your network. 4. Creativity: “Creative and Responsible” – are the most used adjectives by LinkedIn users over the last few years. Never have we seen such creativity and responsibility by users across the globe. Although going by this statistic we should be societies full of Steve Jobs’ and Richard Branson’s. True creativity now-a-days in the business world is explored via strategy. Please don’t misconstrue your creativity as an innovative personal attribute that no other user could possibly think of. Instead why don’t you portray this “creativity” via a different route? Present your publications, merits, videos and any other projects that will depict the right image of you. We must be strategic on what information we want on show and what will make us stand out and be remembered. I’d advise you not to use LinkedIn as a place of social interaction, rather see it as a way for you to canvas your experiences and skills to date, and interact with professional communities globally. Think professionalism every time you log in and you should be presenting your best foot forward.
With the advent of mobile and web applications accompanied by the ever-increasing diversification within the world of tech, developers are in high demand. However, developer roles within larger, more glamorous companies such Google, Facebook and Zendesk are hyper-competitive, with highly qualified candidates from around the world applying. For example, Google receives two million job applications a year. You’re going to need a little bit more than some coding expertise to land a job with the tech giants. The age-old question persists; what can you do to stand out from the crowd? 1. Master your Coding Language Coding is the fundamental building block to landing a developer job. If you aren’t a proficient coder, you don’t have a chance. Most ‘proficient’ coders with a few years’ experience know at least one or two dynamic languages very well. Python, PHP, Java, Ruby, C++; it is up to you what languages and how many you decide to gain proficiency in. It is recommended to master at least two languages if you’re seeking to land a job with the tech giants. Learn best practices, design patterns, object orientation. Check parameters in every function, really master your language. 2. It's Not Just About Coding In the modern era, tech companies are looking for more than just coders. Gone are the days of the stereotypical coder locked in his or her room alone for hours simply coding, coding, coding. Firms like Microsoft and Google highly value interpersonal and teamwork skills. Developers are expected to work on cross-functional teams as well as with external clients. Showcasing your personality and demonstrating strong interpersonal skills can really be the deciding factor as to whether or not you’re selected for the job. Behavioural interviews, interviews posing questions designed to get you to open up about yourself, are becoming just as important as technical interviews. Don’t be afraid to show off your personality. 3. Demonstrate Passion The dream employee is a passionate employee. Employees who demonstrate passion for their line of work are motivated and excited to go to work, qualities that are naturally appealing to any employer. How do you demonstrate passion in the developer world? It can be achieved in a variety of ways. On your CV or during an interview, you can direct the prospective employer’s attention towards any side project that you’re working on in your spare time, perhaps located on your GitHub profile (which will be discussed next). You could emphasise any new coding languages you are learning. You could attend a ‘hackathon’ or ‘codefest’. These meetups highlight your love for coding and are great ways to gain exposure. 4. Contribute and Publish Your Code Online As a developer, your strongest asset is your code. Showcasing your ability to write readable and interesting code can grab the attention of a prospective employer. Contribute and publish your code on GitHub (most popular), Bitbucket, or even your own website. This portfolio of code acts as an extension to your CV, representing your technical skillset is an easily discoverable and shareable way. This repository of code is greatly appreciated by employers within the developer sector and is actively sought out.