Starting to learn coding may be one of the greatest decisions you will make in your life. However, actual learning may be an overwhelming process. I started learning coding several years ago, and I must say it was mostly a “try and error” path. With that in mind, I would like to offer you some insight and a few coding learning tips that I would tell myself when I first started. Especially if you take into account that I learned most of what I know now in the past couple of years.
If I could just tell myself these few tips, I would have saved me so much time and avoid many mistakes I made. As most of these mistakes are somewhat universal, I believe you could easily make them yourself. And that would be a shame. Learn from my experience and you will learn coding much faster and easier.
Tip #1 – Coding is not about remembering things
Coding is really not about remembering and memorizing.
As always, we think that learning something is about memorizing facts and commands. However, coding is much different. Unlike learning for school or college tests, where you would need to know which command does what, learning to code is really not like that.
There is really absolutely no reason for something to occupy space in your brain memory, when you can just look it up in seconds on Google. We are so privileged to live in an era where information is at a click away. We can just look up everything in seconds so why would you actually try hard to memorize something that you can quickly just find the solution for on the internet.
So, if you’re a beginner in terms of coding and you feel bad when you actually google stuff – don’t. Even the most experienced developers google so much when they actually work on their projects. I look up on Google not just complicated, but also simple things and that’s totally fine because what counts in the end is that you get deeper understanding. If you find something on Google, you will actually be able to take that and integrate it in your project and adjust it to your needs. And that is how you learn and progress.
Tip #2 – You do not need a college degree to code
University actually does not really teach you web development and programming.
Of course, if you decide to study computer science then you will learn some programming language and you will also build projects. Especially with other students in your university. But what I mean here when I say is, that as soon as you actually finish and you get your degree and you get into a job where it is expected from you to build real software, you will probably have no idea what to do. And that is completely normal. So that will be the point where you will actually start to realize how important are coding practices.
Coding is not about a degree, it is a skill anyone can learn. If you did not decide to study computer science, and you think you can not start coding without it – you are wrong. As any skill, you can start to learn programming at any age, and without prior knowledge. And that is the true beauty of coding. What is important here is to practice as much as you can and gain much needed experience. so you are able to actually apply these practices later on your job and projects.
Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t say that studying and academic knowledge is without worth. However, it is not crucial for you to start learning to code. If your main goal is to become a developer the quickest way to learn is actually by practicing. Many things university teaches are actually theoretical, and have less practical value. Again, we do not talk here to give up on studying computer science if that is what you wish to do. I am stating that it is not a prerequisite to code, and especially if you are someone like me, who started coding later in your life
Degree can be helpful, but it is not a necessity to start.
Tip #3 – Do not rely solely on books
It is similar to the previous one. Books are amazing resources to start with, and a great help to improve your programming skill.
However, you’re not going to become a great developer just by reading books.
Many beginners actually have a misconception about that. So, often the first step is to buy tons of coding books about the language they wish to learn. Still, after reading those books, many of them realize that they actually still don’t know how to code. This is due to the fact that programming is not just a collection of facts that you can learn with a single book, or by reading several of them. Programming is a practical skill which you can only acquire by actually practicing and implementing the things you read about.
Books are a tremendous resource, especially for beginners, in order to understand a better coding environment. However, true learning begins when you start writing code. That is the way you will actually become a better developer and acquire a programming language of choice.
Tip #4 – Be ready to adapt
The Programming environment is constantly evolving and languages that were a thing before are not so much in use today. Languages change, libraries develop, so it is important to stay open to that change and be ready to adapt to new circumstances. Maybe the programming language you choose will disappear in a few years, who knows?
New languages appear all the time. However, you do not have to be dependable on the language of your preference. To correct myself, you CAN NOT be dependable on a single language. I am not saying you have to learn multiple languages at once. But you have to stay open for change and to learn new things.
In today’s environment, it really is not the case anymore that you can just learn something as a teenager or a young adult and then you’re fine for the rest of your life. The world is changing so quickly and you have to constantly learn new things and adapt to new technologies in order to stay competitive in your career.
Stay ahead of the curve and read about technology trends and development, so you can make a transition more easily.
Tip #5 – Always invest in yourself
This could be the most important tip on this list.
When I say invest in yourself, I do not mean only in investing your time and effort, but also your money.
You could question yourself, why would you ever spend money for something that you can actually explore online and teach yourself for free? However, this is something where money will save your time and energy. Think about it this way. Online courses are not there to sell you some super secret knowledge. No, online courses are actually there to save you time, because someone out there already went through all the struggles and mistakes you are going to make while learning it yourself, and then put all that into a good, structured course.
So, when you think about it, online courses are in fact big time savers. And this is definitely a tip I would like someone said to me when I was 18. Real progress I made and the time I really stayed on track with learning was the time I bought myself my first online programming course. It had helped me to learn everything so much quicker and to actually save some time and stay focused on coding.
In the end…
Yes, anyone can start coding, but that does not mean this will be an easy task. Arm yourself with patience, as some languages require years to master (if that is even possible). But do not give up.
Yes, you will come across some problems that will look impossible to solve, which will take much more time to solve than you planned. Keep in mind this: that is completely expected and normal. Stay on track and continue to practice. Stay focused and results will come.