By Katherine Olowookere

May 13, 2023

First, let's kick off with a simple exercise

  • Right-click anywhere on the screen right now using your mouse or touchpad.
  • Choose "View Page Source" or "Inspect" from the options that appear to open a new window.
  • Scroll down through the window to see if you understand or recognize anything.

This code that is displayed on your screen contains the underlying HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code that powers the visual elements and functionality of this webpage. These lines of code simply give your computer detailed instructions about how it should display the webpage you are currently viewing. Now that you’ve experienced code first-hand, let’s look a little deeper into coding: what it means, and best practices for learning how to code.

What is Coding?

Coding is a complex task that requires a great deal of attention to detail, planning, and organization. Writing clean, efficient, and maintainable code is crucial not only for the sake of the developer but also for the end-users. In this post, we will discuss some of the most important coding best practices developers should follow to ensure they produce high-quality code that is easy to read, maintain, and debug.

Coding, also known as programming, is the process of creating software, applications, and websites using programming languages. It involves writing instructions (code) that computers can interpret to perform specific tasks, such as generating a webpage, calculating mathematical operations, or running a video game.

Why Should You Follow Good Coding Practices?

As you may have heard or experienced, coding is a complex task that requires a great deal of attention to detail, planning, and organization. Following good coding practices is important because it helps ensure that your code is readable, efficient, and maintainable. This means that it will be easy for other developers to understand and modify your code as needed, leading to faster development and fewer errors.

Adhering to good coding practices can improve the performance of your code, reduce the likelihood of bugs, and make it easier to add new features or fix issues in the future. Good coding practices will also make your code more accessible to individuals with disabilities or who use assistive technologies to access digital content.

Coding Best Practices

There are a few best practices when it comes to learning how to code, and they center around these 6 concepts explained below.

Naming Conventions

One of the most important aspects of writing good code is choosing the right names for your variables, functions, classes, and other programming elements. Good naming conventions make code more readable and understandable, which can save time and reduce errors down the line.

When choosing names, it's essential you use descriptive and meaningful words that accurately reflect the purpose and function of the variable or function. Using short and concise names can also make your code easier to read and scan.

It's also important that you use consistent naming conventions throughout your codebase. This can help reduce confusion and make it easier for other developers to understand your code.

Code Formatting and Style

Consistent code formatting and style are essential for ensuring your code is easy to read and understand. Proper indentation, spacing, and commenting make it much easier to identify blocks of code, understand the flow of the code, and identify potential issues or errors.

It's essential to follow established formatting and style guidelines for the programming language you are using. This can help ensure that your code is consistent and readable, even if it's written by multiple developers over time.

Commenting and Documentation

Code comments and documentation are crucial for ensuring that other developers can understand your code. A very common bad practice among novice programmers is including little or no comments in their codes. Not adding comments can make it harder to work with the code, and may lead to errors or unnecessary delays, especially for programmers that work in a team where more than one person may be working on a particular module.

Comments should be used to describe the purpose and function of different blocks of code, as well as to provide context and clarify any potential issues or problems.

Programming languages use various symbols such as "#", "!", or ";" to indicate to the compiler that a line of code is a comment and should be ignored. The specific symbol used depends on the language being used. Comments are useful for explaining what a section of code does or for temporarily removing code without deleting it, making it easier to debug or modify the code later on.

Documentation tools like Javadoc or Doxygen can be used to generate documentation from code comments automatically. This can save time and ensure that your code is thoroughly documented, even if you don't have time to write detailed documentation manually.

Adhering to Pep8 Guidelines 

PEP 8 is a set of guidelines for writing Python code that covers topics like code formatting, naming conventions, and commenting style. By following these guidelines, you can make your code much easier to read and understand. For example, PEP 8 recommends using four spaces for indentation rather than tabs, and limiting lines to 79 characters or less. It also recommends using descriptive names for variables, functions, and classes, and using docstrings to document functions and modules. By using consistent and descriptive docstrings, you can make it much easier for others to understand how your code works and how to use it.

Using Git Version Control

Another important aspect of good coding practices is version control. Git is a widely used version control system that allows you to track changes to your code over time, collaborate with other developers, and easily revert changes if needed. By using Git, you can keep a history of your code changes, create branches for different features or experiments, and merge changes back into a master branch when they are ready.

In addition to PEP 8 and Git, there are many other best practices that you should consider adopting, depending on your programming language and project needs. For example, you might want to use automated testing tools to catch bugs and ensure that your code behaves as expected. You might also want to use a code review process to get feedback from other developers and catch potential issues before they become problems.

Error Handling and Testing 

Effective error handling and testing are essential for ensuring that code is reliable and free of errors. Handling errors effectively can prevent crashes, improve user experience, and make debugging easier.

Unit testing, integration testing, and other testing methodologies can be used to identify issues and ensure that the code is functioning as intended. Automated testing tools like Pytest or Junit can be used to automate testing and ensure that tests are run consistently across your codebase.

Code Optimization and Performance 

Optimizing code for performance can help reduce resource usage and improve overall system efficiency. Techniques like caching, memoization, and profiling can be used to identify bottlenecks and improve the speed and efficiency of code.

It's essential to keep in mind that optimization should be done carefully and only when necessary. Premature optimization can lead to code that is difficult to read and maintain, so it's important to prioritize code readability and maintainability over performance.

Security and Data Privacy

Ensuring the security and privacy of user data is crucial in any programming project. Common security risks like SQL injection and cross-site scripting can be avoided by following established security best practices, such as using prepared statements, validating user input, and using encryption for sensitive data.

It's also essential to follow data privacy laws and regulations when handling user data. This can help protect both the user and the developer from potential legal issues down the line.


Adopting coding best practices is essential for writing high-quality code that is easy to read, maintain, and debug. By taking the time to learn and apply these best practices, you will automatically improve the quality of your code and make it easier for others to work with. Your teammates will thank you  (and love you more!) when they see you implementing these things in your work. Overall, you will become a better programmer and ultimately create better softwares.

Best practices are a great place to start, but if you really want to level up your programming game, enroll in our coding boot camp. You’ll get a full-time program of online classes, mentorship, and career coaching.  Schedule a call with one of our in-house experts to find the right coding course and payment plan for you.

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About O'Fallon Labs

In O'Fallon Labs we help recent graduates and professionals to get started and thrive in their Data Science careers via 1:1 mentoring and more.

Katherine Olowookere

Katherine is a content manager at O'Fallon Labs. She is interested in writing about a varioty of topics including careers in technology. Katherine holds a B.Sc. in E. Physics. She is passionate about personal growth and making young people become better versions of themselves through personal self development

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