Every beginner programmer has their misconceptions about what programming is or questions about how they can best succeed in their career.
We put together 5 tips that every beginner computer programmer should hear and understand to make their journey easier!
1. Programming is a tool
It’s important to understand that programming itself is a tool by which you solve a problem, not the solution in of itself.
The solution to a problem is an idea that comes from your own brain – your code is how you implement that idea. Remember that you need to come up with the solution first, and then find the best way to implement that solution through clean coding.
The more experience you get, the better you’ll be at translating what’s in your mind into code. We have a list of the best websites to learn programming that can help you sharpen your skills.
2. Start with the General Fundamentals
It’s incredibly easy to bite off more than you can chew and get lost in the details of a specific programming language before you even understand the fundamentals of programming. You don’t need to know the specifics like how to optimally sort an array in Python before you know the difference between an array and a hash!
You need to understand the fundamentals of computer programming that apply to all programming languages. This includes concepts like object-oriented programming, conditional logic, data types, refactoring code, clean coding, properly naming variables and function, and so much more!
This free course does a good job of explaining many of the concepts above and more simple enough for a complete beginner to understand. Another highly recommended resource is Python: The Fundamentals of Python Programming (free with Kindle Unlimited).
Python is widely recognized as the best programming language for beginners to start with. Even if you don’t have long-term plans with Python programming, everything this book teaches you will apply to every other programming language you’ll use.
3. Start with Projects You’re Passionate About
The best thing you can have to differentiate yourself from others interviewing for the same job is an awesome project or two in your portfolio.
Projects you create on your own show off a lot of great qualities employers want. These desirable traits include –
- Initiative and motivation to become a great programmer.
- Ability to turn your knowledge into a real, working application.
- Strong self-reliance, meaning you’re ready and able to hunt down the answer to issues that arise.
When you’re trying to come up with a project for your portfolio, you should pick something your passionate about as it will really show through in the end product.
For example, if you like sports, you could make an app that analyzes and projects statistics. It doesn’t matter if you’re not making something new and unique, as long as you’re able to learn along the way.
Your passion for the project can really drive you to go the extra mile and think of ways to make the project more interesting. Also, it’s better to be able to show passion for your work when you talk about it during an interview.
4. Question Everything
You’re going to progress much faster and learn more if you get into the habit of keeping a deep curiosity of how things work. Instead of just relying on an underlying function to pull the data you request, make some time to dig into it and see how it’s accomplishing the task.
Looking at existing, widely accepted code will help you learn from seasoned developers and pick up good habits. Also, having a deep understanding of the full framework of your application will make you much more efficient at troubleshooting it when issues arise.
5. Know That You Don’t Know Everything – and That’s OK
It’s OK that you don’t know and understand everything there is when it comes to programming – and more importantly, it’s vital that you recognize this.
Know your limitations and ask for help when you need it. Any good manager will rather be pestered with questions than have you wasting your time bashing your head against a wall or making more costly mistakes.
Be sure to actually listen when the answers are given though, and take notes if you need to. Asking questions can become frustrating for others if you’re always asking them the same question.
Our final piece of career advice – check out our guide to starting a programming blog. The sooner the start, the faster you’ll reap the benefits of becoming an expert in your space.
That wraps up our 5 tips for beginner programmers! We’d suggest you take a look at our list of the top ultrabooks for programming if you’re in the market for some new hardware.