Tips to Learn Programming Faster
The most frequently asked questions today are, “How long does it take to learn Java?” “How can I learn to code quickly and kick-off my career as a software developer?”
Not only the freshmen but also a majority of coding auto-didacts are also in search of a quick and straightforward answer. Well honestly, in order to master the skill of programming, one has to practice more than ever. Now that you are here, let’s share some really resourceful tips that actually work when it comes to assisting you in learning any programming language in a rather short time.
Pick a Language & Grasp Its Fundamental Concepts
First things first: don’t ever skip even the simplest of the fundamental concepts!
Although it may seem quite elementary but grasping the fundamentals is like getting to know about all the building blocks that form up the paradigm of a programming language as a whole. If you skip just one, the ripple effect that would cause will be catastrophic.
Your take from this should be picking out any programming language that you want to master, start learning the basic syntax, and get yourself familiar with concepts like data types, variable definition, conditional statements, iterations (loops), object-orientation concepts, and data structures.
All of the above-mentioned fundamentals should be learned because this is the only way to get yourself out of a buggy situation that you are most likely to encounter while developing a starter project.
The next crucial step to follow religiously is to find such resources using which you can whet your coding abilities. To name a few:
These portals have been designed specifically to get you on the path of practicing the fundamentals leading up to training you into learning advanced concepts. All you’ve got to do is to stick with one language and follow a good learning strategy.
Engage Yourself in Building a Small Project
“The only way to learn a new programming language is by writing programs in it.”
This quote by a world-renowned computer scientist, Dennis Ritchie, is enough to explain the importance of learning coding only by doing it.
Learning the syntax and practicing just to make sure your syntax produces the optimal output, isn’t always enough. You will have to follow a rather smart approach to excel in the skill of programming.
Let’s elaborate with the help of an example!
Suppose you have learned the syntax of basic arithmetics including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. At this level, you could follow any of the following approaches to ensure that you have learned well.
- Either you can keep on practising the syntax of all the operations on two integers.
- Or you can chalk out a plan to develop a small program that takes the input of two integers and acts like a calculator.
What do you think is the best approach? Of course the last one!
Similarly, once you have grasped the concept of conditional statements and loops, create a simple grading project which asks for the scores of a user in every subject and then calculate the grade as an output. Isn’t this interesting?
“What to Do if I Get Stuck Somewhere?”
Who said you won’t?
It all goes back to tip number one: Learn the fundamentals right!
The knowledge of basic concepts plays a crucial role in getting you out of such situations where you get stuck. Interestingly, getting stuck is like a routine activity in a developer’s life. Let me share a strategy with you that I usually employ whenever I encounter a situation like this:
1. First of all, I try to understand the text that shows up in case of an error or bug.
1.1 If I read it a few times and still don’t understand it, I go to step 2.
1.2 If I get the condition, I do not rush immediately to code. Before doing that, I build an approximate algorithm of the solution in my mind. Also, I try different tools and resources including but not limited to:
- Activating the debugger.
- Reading out the documentation.
- Googling it after taking a power nap.
1.2.1 Has an algorithm appeared?
1.2.2 If not, go to step 2.
1.2.3 If yes, start to code.
1.4 Still not working? I analyze the algorithm and I try to change it.
1.4.1 If still, I don’t know what to do after all, it’s time to go to step 2.
1.4.2 If I figure out what to do, well, I just do it.
2. Ask for help.
2.1 If I have been helped, I return to the point from which I came here. If I have not been helped, I leave this task for now and move on to the next task.
Don’t Just Write, Read Code Written by Others as Well
Reading out someone else’s code expands the horizons of your thought process. Thanks to dozens of open-source resources available online, you can easily view the code of hundreds of programmers on a single problem. Online portals like Stackoverflow, Stackexchange, GitHub are some of those platforms where you can find tons and tons of material regarding any programming problem.
While we are on the subject of reading the code, take note that if you are literally “reading” code, it won’t help as such. To develop a better understanding, tinker with the code, try optimizing it and the best option is to think of other ways of solving the same problem.
If you do such practice, rest assured that you will come up with something more intuitive and that’s the moment to share your code with the community by posting that code on your own profile or by commenting right beneath that piece of code. By doing so, you will get lots of impressions and you will be highly regarded in the developers’ community eventually.
Get Yourself a Mentor
Don’t underestimate the importance of having a mentor when it comes to mastering your programming skills.
Luckily, the programming community is quite well-endowed with talented professionals who are always willing to help you out either by commenting on your queries or by their blog posts. Then you have GitHub, which is considered as the online hangout place for developers across the globe where, not only will you find relevant answers to certain coding-related problems, but also you will have the chance to share your codes with others.
I have learned from my experience that the feedback left on your code is your best teacher and taking an active part in such activities makes you an accomplished coder.
Now that we’ve laid down all the crucial tips for you to follow, the duty of implementing all these tips falls upon you.
In order to develop the skill of coding in any language, you should ensure to eke out time to practice, reading out your own code, taking help from mentors, and coming back to refurbish and optimize your code. Make the best use of open-source code that you find on the internet, tinker with it, and only by doing so, you will one day excel as an excellent software developer.