Coding can be one of the most difficult jobs you do and learning how to code is only the first step.
You can make your process easier on yourself and any who have to read or fix your code later by making some useful tips into daily habits, and by remembering that practice and continued learning can help along the way.
Not every platform for building infrastructure as code is built the same. Some, like Terraform, have a specific language that you must use while others can be used by several of the standard languages taught in schools. Many will use cloud technology to aid in the storage and access to programming tools and ongoing or finished projects, allowing you to work in real-time with your team around the world. Choosing the right one from the beginning of your project will make the process easier.
Even if the platform you are using does not have a proprietary language, there are still several coding languages that you will need to learn. You can do this through university classes, online courses or by studying them on your own. There are even several online tools and resources you can use to practice your skills while learning or after landing your dream job to keep the knowledge sharp in your mind and get experience using it in real-world applications.
Good code should be meaningful in class names, variable names and even function/method names so that you or another can easily see what they are without notes. Too many programmers will leave a project at the end of the work day just to not remember what the names mean when they arrive for the next shift or have to explain the names to everyone else on the team multiple times. By using meaningful names, you can save yourself time and trouble as you work on the infrastructure code day after day.
Many programmers will comment out code that does not work or is unnecessary, but this commented out code can clutter up the source files and can easily be unnecessary as a backup with a good source control. Your code will be cleaner and easier to read when these unnecessary or unusable lines are deleted, giving you a more professional look and an easier time with future editing and debugging. Other sources of unnecessary clutter include redundant code and too many nested notes, which can both be eliminated with some careful editing.
Readability is one of the keys of a good line of code. If you or another programmer cannot read the lines easily enough to pinpoint problems or improvements, then your job just got harder. Many people will confuse clean code and clever code, but clever is often harder to read and edit. While clever code can seem like you have solved a puzzle and boost your ego, good and readable code needs to be optimized for the next person to look at it, who may not be as clever.
It is important to include breaks in your coding process. Too often you can be determined to fix or finish something before you walk away, but your mind will just end up being bogged down and worn out. This can make it take longer to finish and lead to more frustration. Take playing video games for example, how many times were you frustrated with a boss fight and struggling for hours to get it, turn it off for work or a meal, and then come back to finish the fight in less than five minutes? When you give your brain regular breaks to regroup, you can get more done, more quickly and easily.
It is important to refactor your code if functions or methods are too long, have too many nested loops or if names are more than twenty characters. This can give you a cleaner look and improve readability, but it can also reduce the resource intensiveness of your code for better function. If you know and use some debugging techniques, during the coding process, you can make it easier to edit when you are done. You can also use debugging tools to help you find errors during coding and editing. When you get stuck, these tools and techniques can point out if there is an error in earlier code that led you down the wrong path and help you get going again.
Coding is a difficult process, but without the right platform and techniques, it can be a lot harder. When you choose a platform that uses a language you already know or are learning and remember that clean code is more readable and easier to understand, the process can be much smoother and go quicker. Your coding process can also be easier if you remember to practice your skills between projects, take breaks and use a debugging tool.