You’ve probably forgotten, but it takes a long time to learn to read, and it’s often difficult. Ask any six-year-old. It’s no different with coding. So here are some tips to make coding easier for newbie developers.
Don’t copy/paste when learning to code – rather type it out
When you’re just copy / pasting, you don’t necessarily understand the code itself. Rather read through the code you’re trying to learn, talk through it (even out loud), and then try to reproduce it yourself in your text editor.
Code frequently, preferably every day
This may seem like an obvious thing to say, but you only get better at something if you practise it frequently. Ask any musician or novelist. It’s the same with coding. Don’t get distracted by endlessly researching programming languages, web frameworks and coding paradigms. Get coding. Do something every day.
Give yourself an actual project
What do you feel passionate about? Animal rights? Stock trading? Fitness? Think about creating a website, an app, a game, some software. Have a look at codeconquest for some great coding project ideas.
Keep a daily journal
‘Maintain a daily journal of what you learn,’ advises Gareth Dwyer, software and operations developer at HyperonDev. If it’s something big, write a blog post about it and publish. You’ll reinforce what you learn and get feedback from others.
‘Even it feels like blogging is pointless because there are so many people who already know what you just learned, remember that if you just learned it there are many people who haven’t learned it yet,’ he says.
Join a Hackathon
‘You’ll gain more practical knowledge in one hackathon than from a month of lecturers,’ says Tim Fogarty, the EU commissioner for MLH (Major Legaue Hacking), a global student hackathon league. ‘(They) are super-condensed learning experiences.’ Not only will you learn the technical aspects of a project like APIs, frameworks libraries, version control, testing, etc. (stuff software engineers know), but you’ll also learn about idea generation, working with others, and managing a project. In fact, if you want to learn how to code, go to a hackathon!
Find out your learning style
Mike Arpaia, a former Etsy developer who is now involved in security software for Facebook, reports on Codementor that becoming a good programmer ‘takes a long, long time and a lot of tedious evenings…Before you can write good code, you have to write hundreds of thousands of lines.’
But it’s best to find out your learning style. Do you prefer to pick up information via reading, watching videos or listening to podcasts? Once you understand your learning style, use it to your advantage and seek out material in this medium.
To conclude, because programming is a field that is always developing, you need to be open to the idea of learning new skills. You might find the best way to upskill is via an online coding course. But – like many things in life – attitude is all: you have to approach this new field of knowledge with the understanding that you may well take one step back for every two steps forwards but even at this rate, you’re still making incremental progress, and that is what counts.