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Prompts I Use Daily

I’m sharing my daily interactions with GPT–4 and how it assists in my coding process.

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Prompts I Use Daily
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Before Growth is a weekly column about startups and their builders prior to product–market fit.
  • “Can you provide 10 alternative names for this piece of code?” This could be for a method, variable, or constant.
  • “I’m not a native English speaker. Can you help me rewrite this sentence or paragraph to sound more like one?” Sometimes I’m just fine with sacrificing some of my personal voice for the sake of clearer and more professional English.
  • I often request translations. GPT-4 has already proven to be much more accurate and reliable than Google Translate in this aspect.
  • “Could you interpret this code for me? I’d appreciate a step-by-step explanation.” If the explanation is unclear, then it’s likely that my fellow engineers might also find it hard to understand, indicating a need for refactoring.
  • I often resort to ChatGPT for queries that resemble the nature of those found on Stack Overflow. Unless the issue arose after ChatGPT’s last training cutoff, I find it quicker to discuss with the AI than to search for solutions independently. This probably constitutes 80% of my interactions with it.
  • “Let’s discuss the new feature I’m developing. I’d like you to act as a team member and review my proposed implementation method step by step.” Alternatively: “I’m faced with a particular issue or feature to be developed. Could you suggest how you might approach it?” This is particularly helpful when I hit a creative roadblock.
  • “Could you help me refine this prompt? I’d like it to yield better results.” As I noted in the post about Changepack, it can be tricky to get ChatGPT to behave exactly as you wish. Providing it with the problematic prompt and asking it to fine-tune it often proves beneficial.
  • Conventionality checks. ChatGPT typically defaults to a safe, conventional response. This can be limiting when looking for creative inputs, but in certain contexts, such as some engineering decisions, a conventional response might be ideal as it’s likely to be more widely understood.
  • Pros and cons. Ask ChatGPT for arguments in favor of and against a certain concept. The responses can help gauge how your thoughts align with or deviate from common viewpoints.
  • Unit tests. When provided with a class, GPT-4 usually generates simple, but useful tests.
  • Finding synonyms. With ChatGPT readily available, it’s quicker to ask it for synonyms than to look them up in a dictionary.
  • Writing simple, non-specialized methods or classes. This is particularly handy with things like regular expressions, which I hate.
  • Tackling anything I’m below average at. Take, for instance, naming characters in the short stories I write. I used to struggle with this, so now I ask ChatGPT for similar character names based on those I like. Even if none of the suggestions strike a chord, I can ask for the reasoning behind each name and use that as a springboard for further ideas.
  • “I need to write a performance review (or a blog post, lengthy email, etc.) but I’m finding it hard to start. Can you ask me questions about the person or topic until we’ve gathered enough information to form a comprehensive review?” This approach helps overcome writer’s block, as conversations with ChatGPT are informal and free-flowing.
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Kamil Nicieja

I guess you can call me an optimist. I build products for fun—I’m a startup founder, author, and software engineer who’s worked with tech companies around the world.

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