Learning to code can be intimidating to beginner- or intermediate-level programmers. At this stage, you feel like everything is important, and with dozens of coding languages out there, it can be challenging to know what to master and what to ignore.
How can you take your coding skills to the next level despite these challenges? What does it take to sharpen your prowess in coding? While learning experiences vary from person to person, five things matter the most when learning how to code. Let us dive deeper to help you become a better programmer.
Master the Basics
Mastering the basics is the first step to becoming a great programmer. Getting the basics right ensures you lay your foundation strong. Similar to how the human skeleton is the framework of our bodies, so are the coding basics.
So when learning syntax, control structures, variables, and data structures, ensure the information sinks into the long-term memory as it will be the cornerstone of your coding skills. There are dozens of ways to master coding basics and proceed from beginner to intermediary level.
Master the basics with valuable resources from trusted sites like theCoderSchool, BitDegree, Udemy, Coursera, Khan Academy, Code Academy, and GeeksforGeeks. You will access learning resources like code documentation, cheat sheets, articles, projects, and courses that help sharpen your skills and prepare you for the next level of coding. For example,coding courses like coding bootcamps give you a head start on the AP Computer Science “A.”
Leverage Social Coding
Learning to code has many ups and downs, but you don’t have to face this ‘quest’ alone. With social coding, you join a community. Instead of struggling alone, the community allows you to grow and learn from people who are better than you. You collaborate in a coding world through discussions, creation, and sharing.
The leading social coding platforms include GitHub and SourceForge. Besides the collaboration, social coding ensures you input your best efforts to take your skills to the next level quickly.
That’s because when you start writing code, other programmers can review it on the platform. For this reason, you will strive to write better, neater, and well-organized code to avoid embarrassment. Social coding platforms are a gold mine for both beginner and intermediate-level programmers. Once you become an expert and write powerful code, platforms like SourceForge help you to sell the code.
Have a Coding Project to Practice Your Knowledge
An old proverb says practice makes perfect. Practicing ensures you apply the theory in real-life coding, which is vital to progress from beginner to intermediate (or expert) level.
Coding becomes practical if you apply the skills to a project. For example, instead of only reading theoretically why a loop is important in coding, you immediately see its value in your project.
Instead of reading about common coding mistakes, you learn from your own mistakes and how to prevent them in the future. As a result, you quickly master coding skills, and learning becomes more fun. Essentially, practicing through a project prevents you from seeing coding techniques as abstract ideas but as real solutions to problems in your project.
As a newbie in the coding world, it can be challenging to brainstorm project ideas. But don’t worry. There are several public repositories like GitHub, where you can source project ideas and store your code to access it easily.
The same way clinical trials test for a drug’s efficiency and side effects is how you can leverage experiments to:
- Write better code
- Improve your analytical skills
- Sharpen your problem-solving skills
After writing code that works, tweak a few values and see what happens. Alternatively, purposefully write another code that will crash the program. This sounds crazy, but such experiments reveal your code’s errors to ensure you won’t repeat them in the future. You will also learn how to fix the mistakes should they happen again.
Experimenting with your code ensures you get to the core of concepts rather than cramming standard procedures. As a result, you can easily and quickly implement what you learn and improve your code.
Be Patient and Keep Going
In your coding journey, you will face problems. From wanting to learn too fast to getting frustrated when you write bug-filled code, you must tackle these obstacles to become a successful programmer.
The only way to achieve that is to be patient and press on despite the challenges. Becoming an expert programmer doesn’t happen overnight and might not even happen in the first several months. If you stick with coding, you will improve over time.
Remember, everybody ‘sucked’ at coding in the beginning. But if you give it your all, you will slowly but steadily become a better programmer. Your hard work will pay off when one day you make super exciting games or powerful apps that appeal to a global audience.
While coding is one of the hardest skills to master, anyone can learn to code. After all, you don’t need unique gifts or superpowers to learn. All it takes is a burning desire to write better code and the willingness to do whatever it takes to learn and improve your skills.