If you’re learning programming & coding, Congratulations 🎉️! In our beautiful, tech-filled world, digital skills in programming are a valuable asset for your future.
I’ve put together 12 simple pieces of advice for learning to code faster to help you make the most of this awesome experience.
1. Learning Basic Computer Science
This topic is something I’m particularly passionate about. That’s also why it’s the first one of my tips for learning to code.
When you first start learning how to code, you need to understand what computers can do for you. That’s what Computer Science is all about, while coding is about making computers do those awesome things.
To make things easier for you, here are a couple of courses I can recommend for learning computer science basics:
- CS101 Bootcamp is a fantastic course on Udemy. With no specific prerequisites for taking the course, it’s perfect for beginners.
- Computer Science 101 is another great course on Udemy. This one is a bit more thorough and comprehensive than the course above.
2. Take your Time
As with learning in general, learning coding isn’t going to happen overnight.
People often ask me what I think is important for succeeding in learning programming and web development. My answer is always the same: “being patient”.
Your brain simply needs time to process everything you learn.
It’s important not to let your mind take too long breaks. Therefore, remember to practice every day, even on the days when you’d rather let it slide.
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Make Mistakes
The modern world is so focused on striving for efficiency, perfection, and success, that most people are unconsciously terribly afraid of making mistakes.
I tend to say that a person who isn’t making mistakes isn’t making any progress either. Simply keep your mind focused and track your progress.
4. Ask for help. You’ll need it
As awesome as it would be to become the next Steve Jobs on your own, the reality is that people learn faster with mentors and peer feedback.
Hence, stay curious, keep asking questions, and head out to those discussion forums for support and help when you need it.
Hint: Stackoverlfow and Google are gold mines for online programming assistance.
5. Don’t just read the code. Tinker with it!
Reading code is not enough to understand how it works. To develop a true understanding, you need to actually run the code and tinker with it.
Reading is not the same as understanding, and actually trying to write the code yourself, or at least running it, will facilitate the learning process much more.
6. Don’t Try To Learn Everything
When you start learning to code, all the technicalities and terminology might easily seem overwhelming. I can fully assure you that this is only temporary.
In the beginning, everything you read and learn is new. Be easy on yourself and allow yourself to take your time.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s perfectly fine to just understand the basics first. Take care of the rest when you’re ready.
If you get too tangled up in all the technical terms and let them get the best of you, you are only wasting your time.
7. Practice Every Day
Repetition, focus, consistency – this is what success is made of!
The key to learning to code and mastering the art of programming requires a consistent, daily dose of training.
Your coding session doesn’t have to be at the same time every day. Simply give your brain something to process on a daily basis. This will ensure a smooth transition from your short-term memory to the long-term storage units in the back of your mind.
8. Track Your Learning
When you start learning how to code, it’s often difficult to tell whether you’re making progress and actually learning.
Tracking your learning will help you focus and stay motivated. You will be more mindful of what you’re doing and the new skills you’re acquiring.
Moreover, keeping track of your progress is really easy and doesn’t require much time or effort. Get a journal from your bookstore or try a web app like Penzu. Or even better: code your own learning journal!
9. Code By Hand
Computer monitors become thinner, hard drives lighter, and programming languages more powerful, but coding-by-hand still remains one of the most effective methods to learn how to program.
Be it on a whiteboard or notebook, coding-by-hand requires further caution, precision, and intent behind every line of code. Because unlike on a computer, you can’t run hand-written code midway through the sheet to check if the work is correct.
Note: It sharpens proficiency and you’ll need it to get a job.
10. Seek Out Online Resources
If a particular concept doesn’t make sense, be it in a textbook, or during a class lecture, maintain your confidence and look for alternate online resources to learn the same content.
Everyone learns differently, and just because one source doesn’t make sense, doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. It means that you’re not clicking with the delivery of the material.
11. Keep Calm and Keep on Coding
Despite these above tips, the most important ingredient to learning to program faster is to remain confident.
To do so, you should expect to fail repeatedly and be patient with your progress; because becoming an expert at anything requires hard work and time.
12. Learn By Doing
With every new subject, the sooner you start playing with the code, the faster you will learn the given concepts.
Always Play with the code while learning
Even if you blaze through an entire chapter of reading and a topic like for loops seems straightforward – so a monkey could do it – you’ll still be scratching your head when tasked to implement the code for the first time. You’ll think, “wait, what was that one piece of syntax again?”
Hint: Build a project as you go through the material. A personal project is often the best starting point.
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