7 Essential Tools Every Web Developer Needs to Succeed
At first glance, you might think this article is all about software and hardware tools. While software is important, that only represents 20% of your success. The other 80% is your psychology; your mindset for success. Many people who want to succeed in business begin tentatively; they don't have a plan or process they can follow. This is a recipe for failure. The first tip is about the mindset necessary for success; the rest are about tools, techniques, workflow, etc.
1. Find a mentor. Someone who has succeeded at what you want to accomplish and follow what that person does to the letter. Secondly, cut off all escape routes, so the only choice you have is the one in front of you. If that is the case, you are far more likely to succeed.
2. Planning. This is essential. Before you begin to build your business, you need a solid plan, which ties into step one. Part of that is having a mentor. Beyond that it is building the systems you need to make your business a success. If your mentor doesn't have that, you need to do that for yourself.
One way is by creating checklists of every process you do in your business. Write down everything and use as many photos and illustrations as necessary. This will save you a huge amount of time when you must do the task again in the future. If you don't write it down, you will have to relearn it, that will cost you dearly in terms of time and productivity.
Another step that is key, is being able to tap into many resources for the jobs at hand, especially if you don't have all the knowledge yourself. To do that, you need to find experts, people who are familiar with what you want to guide you. It is a major mistake to believe you must be able to do everything yourself. Some resources to check out for experts are Profnet, SourceBottle, and HARO (Help a Reporter Out).
HARO is a resource I have used for many years to write articles. By doing so, I've been able to tap into knowledge far greater than my own and give you, the reader, so much more. You can do the same in your business and I recommend you take advantage of it. It will save you time and money.
One last thing is to keep the lines of communication open with the client. Break the job down into steps and get the client to sign off on each step before you move forward. This could save you a lot of grief later.
3. Create a consistent workflow. This is key to your success. It is important to develop a base process and use it for all your clients. There will be some exceptions, though a base process will make your life a lot easier. Yes, some clients will want options outside of your knowledge. There are several ways to deal with that. If you don't know how to do the task, outsource the work to someone who knows the process better than you do. This will save you time AND money.
4. Storyboarding. This is a technique I've spoken about in other articles and it's essential to every job you take on. Simply put, it's where you create a type of flow chart where you detail every aspect of the job — on paper. If there are any problems, you fix them — on paper. Once you have figured out all the steps, you've essentially done the job. All that remains is to transfer that to code.
5. Make use of frameworks. As with software programs, there are various frameworks available, such as Bootstrap, Angular JS, etc. It is recommended that you look at what's available, and pick one that seems to have stood the test of time and stick with it unless there is a good reason to change. The reason for this is that if you look at too many tools, you will dilute your effectiveness as a coder. Also, it's impossible to keep up with all the variations in technology. You will burn yourself out fast if you do that.
6. Create detailed notes in your code. In each bit of code you generate, make sure you are commenting in the code. In addition, create a log, where you give full details (including screen shots and photos) of every step you take. This is essential if you pass the project on after it's completed. Skipping this step and not making notes will create nightmare for those who come after you.
7. Validate your code. This is one step often omitted by developers. Don't. Take the time to validate your code, fix any mistakes, then give the completed job to the client. Never, ever, take shortcuts.
About the Author
Nathan Segal has been working as a freelance writer for 18 years. In that time he has published more than 1,000 articles and has written 9 books. You can learn more about him at http://NathanSegal.org.