Lifelong Learning: How to Level up Your Code-Writing Skills While on the Job

A software engineer at Zoom shared how he stays up-to-date with the latest developments in code-writing and how his company helps level up his skills.

Written by Lucas Dean
Published on Jul. 21, 2023
 Lifelong Learning: How to Level up Your Code-Writing Skills While on the Job
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In software development, one’s ability to code and dedication to continued learning are interlinked. 

When the entire history of coding is defined by forward momentum, engineers must have their eyes set on the horizon — internalizing new developments, emerging languages and collaborative knowledge-sharing. 

Consider, for instance, Rust, which was conceived by a Vancouver-based computer programmer to address C and C++ memory issues in 2006. This efficient, compact code is now used by 2.8 million coders. 

Today, Rust’s prominence shows no signs of letting up. According to GitHub’s State of Open Source Software 2022 report, Rust was the second fastest-growing software language, with a 50.5% year-over-year increase in usage. What was once a grievance-driven passion project has now — 17 years after its inception — become the go-to coding language of millions of engineers. 

When coding never ceases to change and evolve, neither can the coder. For one Colorado-based software engineer, keeping up with the latest trends and honing their code-writing skills is an inevitable yet welcome part of the job. 

“No matter your position or level, you want to challenge yourself to get to the next step,” said Xinyi Wang, a senior software engineer at Zoom Video Communications

Wang spoke to Built In Colorado about how he improves his code-writing skills, how Zoom helps facilitate continued learning, and how other software engineers can level up their coding finesse while on the job.

 

Xinyi Wang
Senior Software Engineer • Zoom Video Communications

Zoom Video Communications makes video communication frictionless and secure via its suite of products, including Zoom Events, Zoom Phone, Zoom Contact Center and Zoom Rooms. 

 

How have your code-writing skills improved since joining your employer? How did your company help facilitate that improvement?

Since joining Zoom, I have worked on a wide range of projects with diverse team members. Working with Zoomies who have different skill sets enables me to learn new coding best practices and work on complex projects, enhancing my knowledge of design and infrastructure. Regular code reviews by other senior developers help me understand where I can improve and learn from my mistakes. My team encourages me to collaborate, sharing my knowledge and expertise. Adding to that, the chance to manage more complex and feature-packed projects has, throughout the years, allowed me to refine my problem-solving skills and hone my coding abilities. Overall, Zoom has provided me with a supportive learning environment, as well as the opportunity to work on challenging projects and learn from experienced developers.

 

The chance to manage more complex and feature-packed projects has allowed me to refine my problem-solving skills and hone my coding abilities.”

 

Tell us about a project that you completed thanks to your leveled-up code skills. What was the project, and how was it made possible by your improvement in skills?

One project I completed was the development of the overall branding service for Zoom Events. The project was made possible thanks to skills in SpringBoot, RESTful APIs, building database structures, implementing security features and designing a sustainable backend infrastructure. I adapted our best coding practices to ensure the project code was clean, concise and efficient. 

Meanwhile, I leveraged my SpringBoot, DynamoDb and Redis Cache knowledge to build a robust and scalable web application to ensure that the service functioned optimally and could handle large volumes of traffic, guaranteeing reliability for the end users. The code quality made it easy to maintain, scale and modify, helping the project become efficient and cost-effective. Additionally, the end user benefits from their browsing experience with quicker page loading and an attractive interface — the key to branding — which results in better conversion rates and customer retention.

 

For engineers who are well into their careers, how can they continue to improve their code-writing skills while on the job?

No matter your position or level, challenge yourself to get to the next step. For junior engineers, you can develop yourself by pursuing challenging projects and seeking guidance from the most experienced engineers in your area. It’s important to remember to always take advantage of online resources, such as coding tutorials and forums. Additionally, join local coding community groups and participate in coding events to connect with other developers and learn from their experiences.

Those who are more experienced need to stay up-to-date with the latest technological advancements and experiment with new tools and frameworks. Staying curious and willing to learn from others are always good traits to improve your skills. Engineers who are well into their careers can also encourage and mentor junior team members to help facilitate knowledge-sharing and collaboration, which allows them to self-reflect on their own skills.

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images by Shutterstock and Zoom.

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