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“Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live”― John Woods.

In the constantly changing world of tech and innovation, coding transcends mere programming; it’s critical to growth, adaptability, and teamwork. A solid understanding of coding best practices is essential for professional development, business success, or startup expansion!

Sticking to coding standards shows that you know what you’re doing, you’re thinking ahead, and you’re ready for the future. This is especially important for startups that want to grow and attract investors. It shows that you’re serious about scaling up and working well with others.

The Importance of Good Coding Practices in Startups

If you’re just getting started with programming, all the details about coding practices can feel like a lot. But think of it this way – in a startup, where you’ve got to be quick and efficient, having solid coding habits is like keeping your machine running smoothly. Let’s explore some of these key coding practices that every beginner should embrace to contribute meaningfully in this exciting and fast-paced world.

  • Naming Conventions

A fundamental lesson in coding is understanding ‘variables’ – temporary data storage units in a computer’s memory.  Beginner tutorials may illustrate examples of variables as x = y + z. However, in the real world, it would be better to use descriptive names like total =  amtOfBread + amtOfButter to clarify their purpose and the code’s function. Meaningful variable names are vital for clarity in future code reviews.

Additionally, feel free to choose from the different styles such as camelCase (e.g., adminEmployees) or snake_case (e.g., admin_employees), but stick to one naming convention throughout the program.

Similarly, function names should clearly describe their purpose. For instance, use canEditUsername() instead of vague names like myFunc1(). A simple naming guideline is to use verbs for functions and nouns for variables, enhancing code readability and maintainability. 

  • Code Indentation

Proper code indentation isn’t just about making your code look neat; it’s crucial for readability and understanding the structure of your code. Just like we use paragraphs in writing to separate thoughts, in coding, indentation helps distinguish different blocks of code, making it easier to follow the logic flow.

A program is written once but read multiple times, especially during testing and review phases. Consistent indentation helps in distinguishing loops, conditionals, and logical blocks, which is particularly useful during code reviews and debugging.

  • Documenting or Commenting Your Code

Before we begin discussing this topic, my advice is to write code that is inherently clear about its function. However, documentation and commenting are important for when others have to read and understand your code. Comments clarify and provide context to help understand less obvious parts of the code. They’re invaluable in large projects, preventing the need for you to recall every detail. However, avoid over-commenting to prevent cluttering the code. Well-written code should require minimal, well-placed comments.

  • Single job, Single Method

A common mistake for beginners in programming is not segmenting their code into manageable parts, each performing a single, specific task. Breaking code into distinct functions or methods is a skill that you learn over time, with a lot of practice.

Each method should ideally be responsible for accomplishing one particular task. For instance,  a method could be designed solely to return an array of users with a specific role. Simplicity in code structure makes it easier to maintain and modify in the future. 

  • Using a debugger early on

Debugging is akin to healthcare for code. Modern Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) offer robust debugging tools, a significant advancement over basic print statements for error detection.

In the past, many programmers hesitated to use debuggers, considering it an additional effort. But integrating debugging into the coding process is actually very efficient and I advise everyone to embrace debugging tools early in their coding journey. 

Building a Sustainable Future with Good Coding Practices

As we’ve explored the various facets of coding best practices, it’s clear that the journey of learning and mastering these skills is ongoing, especially in the ever-evolving landscape of technology. It’s one thing to understand the principles theoretically, but another to apply them effectively in real-world scenarios. This is where continuous learning and professional development come into play, bridging the gap between knowledge and application.

In a tech sector as dynamic as Bahrain’s, having access to the right educational resources is key. This is where institutions like General Assembly Bahrain become invaluable. They offer a diverse range of programs, including software engineering, UX design, and data analytics. More than just courses, these are opportunities to immerse yourself in the practical world of coding, learning from industry experts and applying your skills in hands-on projects.

Whether you’re starting your coding journey or looking to elevate your existing skills, the comprehensive curriculum provided by General Assembly caters to all levels. Their focus on current industry practices ensures that what you learn is not just relevant, but also immediately applicable in your startup or tech career. For entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts in Bahrain, engaging with such a platform of continuous learning can significantly boost your coding ability and deepen your understanding of the best practices we’ve discussed.