Learning to code can be hard – you’re going to hit brick walls and become stuck. There’s a learning process that takes place. However, there are ways of making the process smoother. Here we’ve collected five tips from experienced programmers to make your journey easier and more rewarding.
The Best Tips From Experienced Programmers
- Before You Even Start Programming, Understand the Project
You should plan your code away from the computer. This will help you ‘build a clear mental model before you start,’ states Mitch Pronschinske, the former Managing Editor of TechBeacon who puts forward 50 tips from veteran software engineers. If you don’t have this initial outline, the content can become very messy. You want to focus on first representing the problem before jumping into the technical issues of syntax, languages, etc.
- Write As Much Code As Possible
This is one of those tips from experienced programmers that you’ll hear frequently. ‘The easiest way to get better at programming for beginners, is to program,’ says Aishwariya Ramachandran, a Software Developer at Oracle. She continues: ‘Reading a code example and thinking “yeah, this makes sense. I could totally write this” is not effective. If you’re so sure you understand, try and write it from memory. You’ll be surprised at how often you can’t. Spend time in your IDE, and make things to work.’
And also, when it comes to deciding which language to learn first, expert programmers advise you not to worry about finding the perfect first language. The important thing is to just start coding.
- When You Get Stuck…
Getting stuck happens frequently when you are programming. Here’s some advice about how to deal with this problem.
Rather than reading about a problem, watch tutorials. This will let you visually see how someone is doing something, which will let you replicate that, and most of the time, they will also talk you through it. This almost feels like you are working on the problem or issue together, instead of tackling it alone. There are thousands of coding tutorials on YouTube, so there is a good chance you will be able to find what you need.
Alternatively, you could think about finding a programming mentor. Chris Myers, a startup founder and CEO of a financial management solutions company, says on Forbes that if he could give young professionals one piece of advice it would be to find a mentor. ‘I firmly believe that mentorship is the best path to career success, hands down,’ he says.
Coding mentors are particularly useful, because they assist with:
- Coding best practice – a coding mentor helps you avoid common stumbling blocks and learn best industry practices.
- Constructive feedback – comments and criticism should be specific, timely, understanding and positive.
- Individual attention – mentoring should provide 1:1 or personlised feedback. HyperionDev offers mentor-led, programming bootcamps.
- Write Readable Code
Don’t underestimate the importance of readable code, explains Usman Shaukat, expert web developer. ‘Your code is your introduction,’ she says. You need to write code which has meaningful variable and function names, follows a coding standard and is properly indented.
- When You Get Things Wrong…
Understand that you will make mistakes. Experienced programmer Ashif Shereef on Quora says: ‘You will make mistakes. Just don’t be embarrassed. We have buggy apps that come right out of Google engineering team, Exploding SpaceX rockets, failing amazon servers, detonating samsung notes and iPhones that fail to recognize the face of Apple’s software chief Craig Federighi, standing before a 1,000-person stage where each leather seat reportedly cost $14,000. Programming is a constant process of learning.’ You will make mistakes and when you do, own them and evolve your way out of them.
How can you fix your mistakes? Quite simply, ask for help. Instead of spending hours trying to solve a problem on your own, rather find help. There are several different individuals, forums and message boards that are full of people willing to help you with your programming-related problems.
Two techie sites worth getting to know are Stack Overflow and GitHub. Use Stack Overflow for research and to get solutions to your programming problems, but at the same time you can meet some of your fellow developers.
Simultaneously, get set up on GitHub, where you can host and review code, manage projects, and build software alongside millions of other developers. Add your existing code to share with prospective employers or start new projects to keep yourself relevant. GitHub accounts are free, and it’s the best place to swap ideas and code with other programmers online. Both Stack Overflow and GitHub are great for building your reputation as a serious coder.
This article outlined five tips from experienced programmers. One of the great things about programming is the active community who are frequently willing to lend a helping hand. If you’re keen to find out more about learning coding, HyperionDev offers online coding bootcamps in Full Stack Web Development, Mobile Development or Software Engineering. You’ll get your own personalised mentor to help you whenever you get stuck.