Top 5 Tips For Computer Programming Beginners


Learning something new is never easy, and coding is no exception. It is unlike everything else that you have ever done in school. You might have learned a foreign language, but none are used or constructed like coding is. For instance, if you learn French, you may need to write a short recipe for making pancakes and all you would have to do is find the appropriate words for the ingredients and the correct verbs for your recipe, and you would be okay.

However, attempting to emulate that process in a coding language is much harder. You simply cannot tell your computer to make the pancake since you are not defining what you use to prepare the batter with. If you tell the computer to use a mixer, that is still not enough…what do you put first, the flour or the milk, or eggs, etc.

Computers tend to be quite literal and only do as they are told and nothing more. It is part of the reason why beginner programmers are usually turned off. It can be such a difficult and alien experience that it is at times overwhelming, which makes people not want to pursue it.

However, if you take the proper precautions, you will learn a lot, have a lot of fun, and even pursue programming as a career or hobby. If you are into programming and don’t know where to start, here are 5 tips for beginner programmers:

  1. Know that Programming is All About Solving Problems

The first thing you need to realize is that programming is by itself a tool used for solving problems and not a solution itself. The solution to a problem will come in the form of an idea that originates from your own brain. The code you write is how you implement the idea.

It is important to realize that you first have to come up with a solution and then find the most suitable way to implement that solution via coding. The more experienced you become, the better you will become at translating your thoughts into code.

  1. Learn the Fundamentals

The greatest loss of programming time is not rewriting or debugging code, but rather the amount of time wasted by developers that don’t really know the fundamentals. The fundamentals are the language, IDE, VCS, and build system. Of the 4, language and IDE are the most important by far.

Ideally, you should know just about every keystroke combo in the IDE after just a few weeks of practice, so that you only touch the mouse only if it saves numerous keystrokes. If you know the keystrokes, then you know the commands. Knowing IDE requires a lot of discipline.

However, knowing large languages, such as C++ or Java will require much more than discipline. These languages are huge as is their libraries. Reading is your best approach. Read code that uses features that you don’t know and seek opportunities to use them.

Books are your best friend for this. Learn about the features on the periphery of what you are currently using, and you will soon find the that periphery expanding. Knowing the build systems and VCs will make you a valuable team member that does not waste time because of ignorance of key operations.

  1. Curiosity & Questioning Existing Software and Systems

It is important to question everything around you. You might not have as much context to question things in the beginning. However, as you grow into an increasingly advanced programmer, you will start questioning the frameworks, tools buy xilinx fpga, and code bases that you have started using frequently.

The knowledge you gain will help you appreciate what others have already done for you. Since numerous well-known open source projects are currently available for multiple production environments, you will basically be learning the best practices and thus growing as a programmer.

  1. Technology Is Never Constant

Technology is and will never be static, and it is important to understand that all programming languages currently in existence will disappear one day, which means that if you rely heavily on a particular coding language, you would be rendered irrelevant.  Programming languages basically fall into a family tree, and it is possible to learn a language similar to the one that you currently use. For instance, Python and Ruby are similar, which means that learning either would be easy.

However, it will be very hard to switch from an object-oriented programming language such as Ruby and make a successful transition to a statically-typed language such as Haskell. You would probably find this incredibly challenging.

If you would like to learn a new programming language easily, it is more preferable to have a project for every language. Explore as much as possible to ensure that the technological changes never catch up with you.

  1. You Should Ask for Help and Collaborate with Others

It is important to realize that programing is a social activity and should thus be taken as thus. You can only learn how to code well if you discuss with other people and learn how they do it. In fact, nobody would be a great programmer today if he or she hadn’t involved people who are great at certain areas.

If you learn how others solved a programming challenge, you would be more confident in your work. So, know who to ask should you ever encounter a problem in a particular area, and be available for others too because two minds are always better than one.

The Bottom Line

A lot more useful information and advice can be added to that provided here. However, that’s exactly where the problem lies…too much information is available online even for free that it can be hard to know where to start. It is the reason why the recommendations have been limited to just five.

If you apply the 5 tips discussed here with diligence, you will be able to handle progressively larger and more critical tasks, and you will soon be looking back in embarrassment at the code you wrote just several months ago.

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