Many people assert that they taught themselves how to program (which is great)! But what about the newbies? It's not easy picking up a new language, especially if one does not have a background in computer science. So here are some tips to make the process a whole lot easier.
Learn As You Go
The best way to learn a program is through learning while you work. By predicting what will happen next, you will learn to troubleshoot every possible situation that might occur. The basics of programming lie in predicting the behavior of your language. Decide what your program should do, write down the code that you expect to have the result, and later run the code to ascertain if you are correct.
Be Consistent With Your Practice
All new skills are mastered through continuous practice. And this applies even more when you are learning about software. Programming tools are under constant improvement, and you need to ensure that you are up to date with each new development that gets released.
Do your practice using a main version of the language you are trying to learn. Once you've gained full confidence, venture into the other modified languages. It'll will make it much easier, as you've already conquered the master language.
Remember: Consistent practice is the key to perfect programming!
Understand The Basics First
Imagine you let your kid ride a motorbike before they've even comfortably mastered the psuhbike — you'd be setting them up for failure.
Similarly, you might find yourself completely frustrated if you try to do new tasks for which you still do not possess the skills for. Therefore, try to start with the most basic programming language and slowly (and steadily) work yourself up — this isn't a race you need to win.
If you are a newbie to programming, the code can be confusing and overwhelming. Instead, focus on understanting the various terminologies first; such as control flow, comparison, and variable assignment. Once your conquered the fundamental principles, you can move on to bigger and better issues (or rather, more complex languages).
Respect The Differences In Languages
Programming has many languages, and each has different idiomatic expressions according to how they have been coded by the developers. Therefore, it is imperative to learn a flexible way of coding.
When writing code, keep in mind that it is something that needs to be read by other people. Ensure you learn various language idioms by going through various open source codes, exploring the philosophy behind each code, and analyzing an array of blog posts. As you move up the ladder, review your code and offer to engage with the feedback provided by critic. Be proactive, ask if a feature in your code doesn't make sense.
This method shall ensure that you receive varied answers which will only help you grow your programming skills.
Ensure That You Love What You Build
Don't follow the suggestions of any particular expert; instead, seek advice from different programming experts, and look towards building your knowledge base.
Next, work on that project which you've always wanted to give a try. Think of your increased motivation if you actually decided to focus on building what you truly loved.
Remember: You will understand very little if you are trying to learn about programming and if it's not something that you're actually interested in.
Find Experienced People Who Can Help You
Learning to code is great. You can start at your own pace, and then speed up a little once you find resources that help your understanding.
However, coding can get a little hectic if you choose to go at it alone. Here are some ways to find help on the go:
- Ensure that you have a resourceful network of people whom you can always turn to whenever you are hard pressed.
- Ensure that you have done enough research to find any online communities that are into the same language as you.
- Find online forums, slack groups, and IRC channels to learn from.
- Find a friend from your area who understands programming and from whom you could borrow some knowledge.
While learning a new programming language you might not have heard of before, you may face untold and unsung challenges. This is where mentors come in.
In the Cyber Era, the internet has spread its roots to almost every corner, and you may friend someone who has already mastered the language that you are trying to learn. Contact them and let them know that you have recently started the journey and that you require their help. Studies have found that 88% people who make use of this method succeed on their path to successfully mastering new languages.
Make Your Schedule And Learn To Follow It
It's okay to learn alone.
However, you may even often find yourself procrastinating too much. What often helps is ensuring that you know the schedule that works best for you. We all have different timelines of learning; whether it be early in the morning, or later on at night.
Moreover, you'd need to find a location that would provide you with minimal distractions. Therefore:
- Think about the time you need to digest each activity.
- Your learning sessions should not be the same as those of another person. The way you absorb things will be different when compared to someone else. Therefore, think of what works best for you.
- When scheduling your learning times, work in an area where you can reward yourself. Work in a coffee shop and treat yourself after you have mentally exhausted yourself.
- If you choose to work from home, ensure that you set some timeslots to unwind before moving on to your next activity.
Learning a new programming language? Feel free to share your challenges in the comment section below!