5 things I wish I knew before learning programming

Learning programming can be a tedious task. If you have not been living under a rock, you would know that it is one of the most highly paid jobs right now. It is expected to be an in-demand job for at least the next 40 to 50 years. Considering all this, it is obvious that you might want to know such an important skill even if your job doesn’t require you to.

The question that arises next is where do you learn to program. It must come as no surprise to you that YouTube is full of programming tutorials. Moreover, there are many other websites like Udemy and Coursera that have a huge library of programming tutorials. You could also follow the more traditional approach by getting some books on the topic.

So the next thing you might be thinking is,” Yeah whatever, I am just going to watch some videos on YouTube and become a programming wizard”. But from what I have seen, this approach never works out the way it is intended to. Instead, you have to look out for some extra measures to make sure that you actually become a programming wizard. I have been programming since I was 10 years old and here are some of the things I have learnt along the way:

1)Know your intentions

When I first started programming(at the age of 10), I just wanted to build video games and hack my neighbour’s WiFi just like they did in movies. I was obviously not worried about getting a job or making a commercial app. So I started learning python programming. I did not know If I could make apps with it or not(I thought all languages were the same). Even today, Python is the language I use the most. But if you are a 25-year-old looking for a job, I would recommend you to learn a skill rather than a language. For example, If you are learning python, you are learning a language. But if you are learning web development, you are learning parts of multiple languages like javascript and PHP. By learning a language, you are learning about how that language works, its advantages and disadvantages and things like that whereas by learning a skill, you are learning parts of a language which are suitable for that skill.

2)Don’t go course shopping

I have seen a lot of beginners jumping from one online course to another. Don’t waste your time researching about which course is the best. Moreover, don’t discriminate between free and paid courses. If a single person is teaching the whole course and you are comfortable with the courses’ pace, then it is perfect for you. For reference, you can check out the YouTube channel freeCodeCamp for programming courses. I have seen people learn python from the official python documentation. One more thing to keep in mind is that the certificates offered by udemy and Coursera are worth nothing. So don’t waste your money. If you find a very nice paid course, go for it, all that matters is you actually learn something.

3)Build Projects!!

After you have learned some programming, build a project to showcase your knowledge. Keep repeating this after anything new you learn. You will get a lot of errors at the start, but once you can get the hang of things you will get less but way more difficult to spot errors. Never binge-watch a tutorial, always make sure to test your understanding by building projects. Gradually, your projects will size up in size and complexity and maybe you will make the next Google or Instagram. Building projects will also make you feel proud of yourself and encourage you to learn more. This will also make you job-ready as building and modifying projects is what a company will make you do. As a side note, I would like to add that you should really learn GitHub. It is a place where you can store your code. Believe me when I say that you are going to thank me later for this.

4)Stick to one language(or skill)

You should always focus on quality over quantity. First, become at least an intermediate in one language before jumping to another ship. This part may come to you as an extension to the second point, but I can’t explain how much of my own life I have wasted learning different languages, sometimes even learning 2 languages at the same time. By learning only one language to the highest level, you have taught yourself that language to the highest level. What you might not realize is that you have also taught yourself how to learn any language to the highest level. So if learning the first language to intermediate level took you 6 months, learning your second language might take you only 3. The more you learn, the more you learn how to learn.

P.S.:- The people whose job requires them to learn multiple languages can exempt themselves from this rule.

5)Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Never shy away from asking for help if you are stuck somewhere. Whatever you are doing in programming, there is always someone who has done that and asked for help on StackOverflow. At first, I was hesitant to lookup for a problem’s solution online. It felt like cheating to me and it natural for you to feel the same. But there is no point scratching your head on a problem if you have been stuck on it for more than an hour(or whatever is appropriate).In fact, most tech jobs involve stack overflowing and copying code from different places. So, go and ask for help if you feel like it.

Resources)

First, I would like to thank you for reading this article.Consider subscribing for more quality programming content!!

I am attaching external resources below

Tutorials: ||freeCodeCamp||Udemy||Coursea||edx||

Practicing: ||Hackerearth||Codechef||Hackerrank||

Forums:||Stackoverflow||CodeProject||

Happy Coding!!!

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