The top 11 productivity tips for coding engineers

learn programming

Being a productive programmer brings tons of pluses, including higher pay, office benefits, increased popularity among peers, and internal satisfaction


There is a huge demand for productive engineers. Not only are they able to code faster, but they also write high-quality code. However, productivity, for coders, is highly debatable. A programmer’s productivity is measured using LOC (Line of Code) and the quality of the code written. As productivity for programmers is hard to measure due to project complexities, LOC is used to give a rough estimate.

If you ever wondered how to become a productive coding engineer, you can read through the top 11 productivity tips. They will surely help you to improve your craft.

Why productivity matters

The term productivity is defined as the amount of output you churn out compared to input. Being a productive programmer brings tons of benefits, including higher pay, office benefits, increased popularity among peers, and internal satisfaction.

Above all, the faster the coding engineer works, the better it is for the company who is fighting competition every single minute. The mantra is to work faster, keeping the quality of the work intact.

Startups also love productive engineers who not only solve their problems, but also solve them faster than others. No one is denying the fact that a good programmer is more productive than a mediocre one. And, if you want to become a good programmer, you need to take productivity into account.

Let’s move through the top 11 productivity tips for coding engineers.

1. Become more productive by working fewer hours

It can sound counterintuitive, but working fewer hours per week can improve your productivity. First, you are focused on the task due to time constraints. Second, you are more inclined toward smarter solutions and the ability to break through the glass ceiling.

It also encourages you to improve on the bad management practices, assuming you have them. The whole idea of working fewer hours and being more productive is discussed in detail by Itamar Turner-Trauring. You can check the blog post for a better understanding.

2. Minimize distractions

As coding platforms, tools, and apps require understanding at both core and higher level, you need to keep your focus intact. If you are distracted, it will take you around 15 minutes to regain focus.

Software engineers work on complex problems, and if they are disturbed, it is hard to get back in the grove. An interesting question on how to let others know you do not want to be disturbed when working is discussed here on StackExchange. Keep the environment silent and reap the benefits!

3. Take full advantage of automation

Automation is the future. It helps you to focus on the bigger tasks by taking care of the monotonous ones -- for instance, if you need to compile the code or maybe migrate data into the database after every single change.

Typing in the code can be a daunting task and can easily break your productivity. For this, you can certainly take advantage of code generation, or write scripts to automate tasks. Read this article to learn more about automating coding tasks.

4. Get a mentor

Internet users have recently undermined the role of mentorship. It's common for coding engineers and learners to think that by using the internet they can solve every problem for themselves. A mentor not only improves your understanding, but can also guide you to improve your productivity.

Many platforms offer code mentors for learners and experienced engineers. Mentorship is a developed idea, and is even backed by industry experts who benefited by having a mentor while pursuing their careers.

5. Use Scrum

Scrum is an agile development framework that focuses on making the most out of the complex coding projects. It's widely used in the IT industry and is based on sprinting and constant planning, rather than having a single, long milestone.

With Scrum, a team is assigned feature implementation every 2 to 4 weeks. To make sure the work is moving forward correctly, daily meetings are held by scrum masters at the start of the day. With innovation as the priority, Scrum is a good path to take for improved productivity. If you're a team leader, you may want to implement Scrum in your projects.

Not a team leader? Bring it to the notice of the team leader and get it implemented!

6. Continuously refactor code and write code documentation

You may not see code refactoring as a productive task. After all, it doesn’t add any new features or functionality to the project. But that’s a wrong way of thinking. Refactoring code helps you to easily read the methods. It also makes the code maintainable.

Refactoring code can save everyone’s time, including the engineer maintaining the code. Code documentation can also help you to improve the overall productivity of your project. It's a long-term benefit, and you should always try to do it.

7. Work on other projects and learn new skills

Working on new projects can be an excellent way to keep your mind fresh. Most of the time, coding engineers are stuck with one project, and this routine can easily become boring.

Hobby projects can reflect more on your own ideas and help you grow as a coder. Not to mention, the side projects can help you learn new skills along the way, which in turn will help you improve your productivity in future projects.

8. Read books

“Internet has everything, and I don’t need a book.” Does this resonate with you? If so, then now is the right time to change your perspective. Yes, the internet can act as a good source for your coding endeavors. But it doesn’t show the full picture.

Books, on the other hand, offer a unique view on managing projects or understanding programming language or technology. They're generally written by veteran engineers who have served the industry and who are sharing their experiences and offering tips on how to avoid the pitfalls.

The structure of approach also helps you to digest information in a more meaningful way. In the end, you will benefit by becoming a better, more productive coder.

9. Don’t optimize prematurely

Premature optimization is a serious issue among the coding community. For real-time projects, optimization is necessary. Other projects, such as games, also require optimization to a certain degree for better user experience, certification for publication, etc.

However, that doesn’t mean you should start optimizing your game in its half-baked state. It's a good idea to optimize after a good chunk of functionality has been implemented. The late start will help you to avoid unnecessary work and keep you productive.

10. Get proper sleep

Working fewer hours can help you remain productive. In the meantime, you also need to get proper sleep. Without proper sleep you can easily hamper your productivity to a great extent. Not to mention, improper sleep can also hamper your health and cognitive capabilities.

11. Stream your projects to stay disciplined and committed

Streaming your projects online can be a great motivational booster for you. One of the major problems that coding engineers have is not being regular with their coding sessions or sprint. The irregularities happen when you don’t broadcast your work.

Staying disciplined and committed can help you to improve your productivity. For example, you can broadcast your project streaming to special platforms like Livecoding to find an appropriate audience.


If you are an engineer who codes, you already know the importance of productivity. Productivity gains come with time, so initially, don’t try to push too hard. With proper planning and execution, you will see yourself improve over time. Having a good team also helps you to stay productive. After all, coding projects are mostly team-based, and require collaboration on all levels.

Do you really take productivity into account while doing projects? If so, what are your productivity hacks? Comment below and let us know!

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?

From CIO: 8 Free Online Courses to Grow Your Tech Skills
View Comments
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies