I spoke to senior React Developers from my company and asked what do they generally do that helps them stay in coding shape, and if they have any exercises to practice and master their React development skills.
And not surprisingly, all of them have three things in common:
- They just code a lot.
- They learn new stuff constantly.
- In spare time, they train their brain.
Why our brain needs workout?
You probably know that the brain is like a muscle. If you do nothing to train it, it cannot get any better.
But it’s even worse. The brain is deeply wired to save as much energy as possible. So by default, it wants you to do nothing, and if you let him, it will take over the control and push you to do useless stuff that will make it even lazier (to save the energy in case you will have to fight a bear but will you?).
As a result, we often do those useless things over and over again, and we may even think we don’t have time for additional exercises during the day.
But it’s far away from being true. Let’s make a shortlist of things we do that doesn’t bring any value, yet consumes our spare time:
- Scrolling Social Media Feed
- Skipping through tabs in browser
- Scrolling the same News and portals few times a day
- Unlocking and locking again your phone
- Browsing channels on TV
- Checking the calendar
- Refreshing emails
- Checking Slack channels
- Checking up push notifications
- Thinking about something that won’t happen anyway
…and pretty much everything that you do just to make the time pass, and you hope will finally make you feel more entertained and keep you busy.
What if we could change these to do something (like exercises) that will make us better React developers instead?
Guy named Napoleon Hill said once:
“Tell me how you use your spare time, […], and I will tell you where and what you will be in ten years from now.”
Different studies say different numbers, but the average time we waste during the week is around 21 hours.
21 hours each week, doing nothing.
This could make or break your life, or career I suppose. Or at least I have my own reasons to think so.
How about using at least a part of those 21 hours a week on something that will give your brain a rocket fuel? What if you could use this spare time to learn to feel more comfortable with challenges?
I made a list of tasks that you can use to stretch your mind and train your React development skills, but I suppose any kind of developer could use it for himself.
1. Read at least one React (JS) related article a day
That’s maybe not the best example from all the exercises for React Developers Start slow. Don’t read everything you see on the internet. Peek only one article that seems interesting.
It’s five minutes only, but it can really make your day.
Good articles will help you:
- understand different approaches,
- learn about new possibilities,
- keeping up with fast changing technology,
- add more interesting insights to your work.
You will quickly see yourself broadening horizons, and bringing way much more ideas and sense to your work.
And that is a true fuel for your career.
Many React developers get great articles I read come from blogs like:
Remember, it’s only five minutes, yet it can take you to many interesting places.
If you want to start from some basics, use our advice on writing a better React code:
WANT TO USE REACT IN YOUR PROJECT?
2. Solve 1-3 katas daily for React developers
Theory is a great source of insights and ideas, but true masters learn through practice.
If you want to be a great piano player, you have to play the piano a lot and stretch your musical sense. If you want to become one of the best react developers, you have to code a lot, and you need to train your “development sense”. In a way, more engineering way of thinking.
CodeWars Katas are best to do so.
Most of the time the work is the main source of your coding practice, yet you are not always doing stuff you want to do at work, and many times you just do what others expect you to do. This way, you kinda master what you already know, instead of broadening your skillset, and getting more experience.
However, mastery doesn’t come from a “technical practice” only (like writing endless lines of code). You should also be discovering new stuff to be able to do more, in a better way.
Solving katas is a great opportunity to stretch your development mind and find new ways of thinking by working on a variety of coding problems. Pure experience.
Simply, use Code Wars and have fun. Btw, this may be the best of all exercises for React Developers.
3. Play logic games
Playing riddles and logic games is another great way to stretch your mind capabilities with a bit of fun and entertainment.
Different riddles force you to think in a different dimension.
Solving Sudoku, for example, will help you keep your code clean and readable.
Normally, while coding, many React developers think about adding other lines to make things work. Sudoku is totally opposite. You need to figure out what is not needed, or shouldn’t be added before you come up with the right answer.
This way we become more sensitive to “just adding another line of code” to make things work. Instead, we try to make more thoughtful decisions and keep things clean.
But Sudoku is just an example. There are way much more riddles you will find challenging, entertaining, and useful to your brain.
Few minutes a day will make your brain always ready to face any challenge there is.
I also recommend playing in the morning, as your mind is fresh and more open for being challenged. In the evening you may feel too tired, and even get upset if you won’t be able to solve it.
4. Learn micro tasking
Micro tasking, which is dividing big tasks into doable micro steps.
Sometimes doing a bigger thing seems too hard and overwhelming.
This is why you should be dividing big challenges into smaller, more manageable, and easy to execute steps.
Try this in your everyday life. Whenever you will be doing anything (shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc), spend a short while on dividing the whole activity into smaller steps you need to take in order to accomplish the big task.
This will make you feel more confident even in the face of extremely challenging projects, and help you improve your prioritization sense.
5. Best React developers sleep well
Sleep is probably the most pleasant and one of the most ignored of all exercises, not only for React Developers, but for everyone ever. Yet it’s also the most important one.
You can read a number of articles and books about sleep deprivation, and how it affects your brain, so to make it easy for you, seriously just go to bed tonight a bit earlier and get a decent sleep for 7-9 hours. Then repeat each and every day.
If you cannot fall asleep that easy, wake up earlier tomorrow and fight one day being bit more tired.
This is a typical difference between “what you want at the moment” versus “what you really want” to achieve in a long haul.
- Be more productive
- Have stronger brain and body
- Feel more energized
- Feel less stress and be ready to face more
- Lose weight more easily
Fix your timing, and just start to sleep well. And don’t listen to all the “so-called hustlers”.
People like Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, or Bill Gates treat their sleeping time seriously and invest much time in it.
Bonus – Make this list your daily routine
I like what Seneca said about luck:
“Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity”
In other words, a mix of what you can and you cannot control.
Opportunities can come from anywhere and most of the time you have no control over it, but you definitely have control over your preparation, and this list is a wonderful start.
Implement at least one point at the time per 2-4 weeks, and you will see yourself better prepared for any React project, or challenge.