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Long hours of sitting in front of the computer, coding all day and night, and dealing with bugs and deadlines have their own challenges. Programmers and developers face a myriad of physical and mental health challenges- back pain, wrist pain, eye strain, mental fog, and lack of motivation. While programming is not a dangerous and risky profession, it is surprisingly associated with a lot of health issues. We need to keep our body and mind in check to stay sharp and productive. The following healthy tips can benefit in a lot of ways. 

5 Easy Health Tips for Programmers

Here we have listed 5 simple tips and tricks that you can follow to stay healthy as a programmer.

1. Regular Exercise

Even though it is the most common and obvious tip to stay healthy, not many people follow it. Regular exercise keeps you healthy, productive, and fit for life. Most programmers forget the need to stay healthy because they do not associate programming with anything harmful. However, sitting for long hours of work causes body ache and muscle pain. It is important to adopt a 30-minute workout practice- be it a light walk, run, jog or swim- and follow it regularly. A good exercise practice keeps your body fit and makes you more mentally resilient, thereby improving your work productivity.

2. Reduce Eye Strain

Staring at the computer all day exposes you to harmful blue light. Your eyes are poor in blocking it out and lead to eye strain. It is essential to take care of your eyes and not strain them. Though it sounds difficult, you can reduce eye strain by following some simple home remedies for eye strain. It can be following the 20-20-20 rule- take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and look at an object 20 feet away, taking a quick nap after a tiring project, blinking your eyes about 15-20 times a minute. You can also use a computer glass which blocks the blue rays from digital screens. As a programmer, you are naturally exposed to the harmful UV blue light, and it is important to take care of your eyes from the beginning.

3. Enjoy a good Sleep

Good sleep is equally important as a healthy diet and regular exercise. Poor sleep affects your hormones and brain functions adversely. As programmers, you need to build a strong focus for logical thinking. Hence, it is essential to have good sleep so that you can stay sharp and focused during work. Sleep recharges your brain and uses the inactivity to reboot your brain for the next day. It significantly boosts your focus during the day and enhances your memory, all of which are critical to staying healthy as a programmer.

4. Maintain a Good Posture

As a programmer, it is important to be conscious about your posture because you spend most of your time in front of the desk. Research says that sitting work can strain your lower back and add large amounts of pressure to your back muscles and spinal disc. Moreover, your body’s metabolism becomes low when you are sitting throughout the day. As an alternative, you need to adjust your posture and sit straight with your computer. You need to stand and stretch for some time in-between work and give your body a break. This will also improve your work productivity.

5. Take Regular Breaks

When you have kept your posture and other healthy practices in place, it is still important to stand up from your desk, move around, stretch a bit, and take regular breaks. This way, you can avoid keeping your body in the same posture for long and give your eyes some rest from the computer screens. It also gets your blood flowing fast and keeps your heart rate up, and strengthens the cardiovascular system in your body. It can help if you set a timer every two hours and remind yourself to take a quick break and relax yourself for some time. This simple tip will also protect you from programming burnout.

Takeaways

As a programmer, you are prone to affect your physical and mental health more than what you think. Though nothing would harm you in your initial days, these issues will keep adding as you get older. Hence, it is advisable to follow the practices mentioned above from your initial programming days so that it does not affect you adversely. With these simple lifestyle changes, you can attempt to stay healthy as a programmer.

Happy and healthy coding.

 

 

In this post, we will be developing the first project from our list of best beginner python projects– ‘The Anagram Game’. An anagram of a word is another word obtained by shuffling its letters. For example, the words God and dog are anagrams of each other. This is what the anagram game is all about.

The basic idea of this project is to read a file that contains words and their meaning like a dictionary, pick a random word from this dictionary, shuffle it and ask the user to guess the correct word from its anagram and the original meaning of the word.

Importing the Libraries

For this project, we will be using the json and random packages that are built into Python. JSON stands for Java Script Object Notation which is a file format used to store data in key-value pairs. This is similar to the Python ‘dictionary’ data structure. The json package provides methods to handle such data. The random package does exactly what the name suggests and has methods for generating random numbers, making random choices, and shuffling a list, among others.

import json
import random

 

Loading the Data

As mentioned before, we will need a dataset of words and their associated meanings. You can download a version of Webster’s Unabridged English Dictionary from this repository: click here. As we can see, the file format of this data is a json file and hence we will use the load function of the json package to load this data into a dictionary data structure in Python. 

 

filename = 'dictionary_data.json'
file = open(filename)
data = json.load(file)

The data is now stored as key-value pairs in the variable named data which is an instance of the dictionary class. A key-value pair in a dictionary is represented as {key : value}. In our data, the keys of the dictionary are 102217 different words and their values are the associated meaning of the respective words.

 

Picking a Random Word

Let us write a function that will pick a random word from the 102217 available words. The function will take two arguments – data and length. The data represents the dictionary of words and length is something determined by the programmer to decide the maximum length of words that should be returned from this function. We first have to make a list of all the possible words from the dictionary which can be accessed using the keys method of the dictionary class. We then pick a random word using the choice function and check if the length of the selected word is less than the maximum length specified in the arguments and the greater than two. Since, this can take multiple attempts we put this code in an infinite loop. When a word satisfying the length requirements is picked, the function returns the word. No code inside the function is executed once the function returns a value. The logic is given by the word_prompt function specified below.

 

def word_prompt(data, length):
    all_words = list(data.keys())
    while True:
        word = random.choice(all_words)
        if len(word) < length and len(word) > 2:
            return word

 

Shuffling the Word

Next, let us implement a function that will return a shuffled version i.e. an anagram of the word that we have selected. First, the word is converted into a list of characters. Next, we shuffle this list of characters using the shuffle function of the random package. The shuffled list of letters is converted back into a word using the join function that joins a collection of iterables together. Lastly, we run this code in an infinite loop to check that the shuffled word is not equal to the original word itself. If this condition is true the anagram of the word is returned. This logic is given by the shuffle_word function given below.

 

def shuffle_word(word):
    array = list(word)
    shuffled = word
    while True:
        random.shuffle(array)
        shuffled = ''.join(array)
        if shuffled != word:
            return shuffled

 

Building the Anagram Game

Now let’s move on the last part – building an interactive version of the game for the user to play with. We use our functions defined above to get a word and its anagram form to question the player. We also access the meaning of the word using the data dictionary. We will be giving the user five attempts to guess the correct answer and for that we have used a for loop that starts from 5 goes to 1 decrementing by 1 every loop. Every loop we ask the player to make a guess and check if it is equal to the expected word. If it is, the player is correct and we can break from the loop. Otherwise, the loop continues. Finally, when we reach the last iteration, we give the correct answer to the user. After for loop, we provide an option to allow the player to play the game again. To ensure that the game continues until the player decides to stop, we put the code in an infinite loop and break from it when the player enters ‘n’. The logic described is implemented in the code below.

 

print("Welcome to the Anagram Game!")
while(True):
    word = word_prompt(data, 5)
    question = shuffle_word(word)
    meaning = data[word]
    
    question = question.lower()
    word = word.lower()
    
    print("\nSolve:", question)
    print("Hint:", meaning)
 
    for i in range(5, 0, -1):
        print("\nAttempts Left:", i)
        guess = input('Make a guess: ').lower()
        if guess == word:
            print("Correct!")
            break
        if i == 1:
            print("\nCorrect Answer:", word)
    
    choice = input("\nContinue? [y/n]: ")
    print('-'*50)
    if choice == 'n':
        print("\nThank you for playing!")
        break

 

Anagram Game Output

 

Complete Code

Finally, the complete code is given below. The code’s script is placed in a '__main__' scope, which is used when reading from standard input such as the command-line interface. It is good practice to style the code according to conventional standards. You can go forward and build on this project through a scoring system or even a graphical user interface.

 

import json
import random
 
def word_prompt(data, length):
    all_words = list(data.keys())
    while True:
        word = random.choice(all_words)
        if len(word) < length and len(word) > 2:
            return word
 
def shuffle_word(word):
    array = list(word)
    shuffled = word
    while True:
        random.shuffle(array)
        shuffled = ''.join(array)
        if shuffled != word:
            return shuffled
        
if __name__ == "__main__":
    filename = 'dictionary_data.json'
    file = open(filename)
    data = json.load(file)
    
    print("Welcome to the Anagram Game!")
    while(True):
        word = word_prompt(data, 5)
        question = shuffle_word(word)
        meaning = data[word]
        
        question = question.lower()
        word = word.lower()
        
        print("\nSolve:", question)
        print("Hint:", meaning)
 
        for i in range(5, 0, -1):
            print("\nAttempts Left:", i)
            guess = input('Make a guess: ').lower()
            if guess == word:
                print("Correct!")
                break
            if i == 1:
                print("\nCorrect Answer:", word)
        
        choice = input("\nContinue? [y/n]: ")
        print('-'*50)
        if choice == 'n':
            print("\nThank you for playing!")
            break

 

Hopefully this post has introduced some basic concepts in Python such as conditional statements, looping statements, and file handling. As a beginner, it is expected that you have doubts about such concepts and if you need any clarification, we at FavTutor are always here to provide you help from expert tutors 24/7. Get started by sending a message through the chat on the bottom right. Happy programming!

 

To be a good programmer, you need to solve complex problems, continuously learn and adapt to new technologies, and develop yourself daily. This can be a strenuous task if you are not very experienced. Moreover, you may seem to lose interest and sometimes experience mental fatigue leading to programming burnout. With tight deadlines and never-ending office hours; burnouts can be both emotional and physical. In this article, we have listed down five ways to deal with programming burnout and live a fulfilling life.

 

5 ways to prevent burnout from coding

Here are some easy and simple tips on how to prevent burnout in programming:

 

1) Use good tools

Using a good suite of tools, based on your own needs, can make your life as a programmer easier. For example, knowing some keyboard shortcuts, tech hacks, etc., will save you a ton of time and make you more efficient. Moreover, using suitable tools and updated versions of the software will make your day less tedious, reducing the chances of a programming burnout.

 

2) Sharpen your mental acuity

Each individual is different. While some might be able to work 18 hours a day, some might lose their mental focus within 9 hours. You need to set your work limits and focus on improving your mental acuity. It may sound obvious, but very few programmers understand that mental acuity can lead to programming burnout. Now that you know about this, practice some proven tips to improve mental acuity, and get your focus on track.

 

3) Keep your physical health in check

Sitting at your desk and staring at the computer screen throughout is a challenging task. Not only is it unhealthy, but it also makes you feel lethargic. This eventually causes resentment, and you resort to snacks and coffee to overcome it. While this is an excellent short-term fix, it creates a bunch of problems in the long run. Hence, you should opt for healthy food and add a daily schedule for physical activities to keep you energetic throughout your work. 

 

4) Try new things

Although there is a high demand for programmers, this might still be a reason to burn them out quickly because there will be a lot of new work coming in their specialization. And doing the same job every day can be pretty exhausting. The solution is to set aside some time to learn new things and experiment with new technologies outside your work. This will give you a much-needed break from your work life, and also boost your productivity. 

 

5) Encourage work breaks

Programming is a highly cognitive job which causes brain fog and eye strain. Sitting in front of the computer for long hours is one of the most common mistakes that can adversely affect your work performance. Hence, it is always good to take short breaks to clear your head and recharge yourself. Be it a 5-minute walk to a quick nap; include breaks in between your work to get an improved focus. 

 

Takeaways

There is no sure shot cure for burnout because every programmer works differently. Nevertheless, the tips listed above are some of the most effective ways to save you from programming burnout. All these habits take time to form and will not show tremendous impact in a day, but it will help you feel better and perform better at your work.