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There are many tips that can help you learn to code. Some work better some worse. In this article, you will learn about the best and tested tips to learn to code, how to choose the right programming language and how to stay on the track. Use these tips to make learning to code easier for you.
How to Learn to Code Part 1.
Start with one language
When you decide to learn to code it is usually better to start with only one language. Something different is when you are already experienced programmer who knows at least one programming language very well. In that case, it will be easier for you to grasp new syntax and the inner working of that new language.
There is another thing that makes learning another programming language easier. You already know most of the basic concepts of programming and how programs work. Then, when you decide to learn new programming language, you spend the majority of your time learning new syntax, not all the fundamental topics.
You don’t have to re-learn things such as data types, variables, operators, control structures, data structures, oop, etc. This is not true if you don’t know any programming language, you just decided to learn to code. In this situation, you have to start from the very bottom, including the fundamentals and basics of programming.
More languages is not better
Trying to learn and understand all this material is harder when you also try to learn multiple programming languages at the same time. So, if you want to learn to code, choose only one programming language. Not two or three. Only one. Trying to learn more programming languages will not help you learn to code faster and in more languages.
Trying to learning more programming languages will most likely slow down your learning process. You will learn about fundamentals of programming and, aside to that, you will also learn two or more different syntax. It is like trying to learn to speak for the first time while learning two languages.
This doesn’t work. The only thing you will achieve is chaos. You may learn about programming. You may gain decent experience in both languages. However, that’s about it. You will not really understand any of them, not mention master any of them. When you get a task, you will not be able to use any of those languages to get that task done.
Choose the right language
Making the decision to learn to code is easy. Choosing what programming language to learn is not. There are many programming languages. Some of them are more popular and some less. Some languages are supported only on some platforms and some are supported everywhere. Also, some languages are better for specific jobs than others.
This reason there is no one best programming language. There are only best programming languages for specific situations, or tasks. Knowing this can help you make your choice of programming language to learn much easier. Now, the most important thing to do is to ask yourself, what do you want to do, what do you want to use your coding skills for?
For example, if you want to make mobile apps the most relevant options will be Swift for iOS or Java or Kotlin for android. Another option useful for both platforms might be React Native. React Native will be even more interesting if you are also interested in web development. It is a small step from React Native to React and building web apps.
So if you want to learn to code, this is the best way to choose the right programming language. Forget chasing latest trends and buzzwords. Instead, get crystal clear about what you want to do with your coding skills, what do you want to code. Then, look for the most popular and used programming language(s) for that specific area and pick one.
Start with the basics and have patience
If you are serious about that decision to learn to code, take it slowly. This is not a race. There is no scoreboard, nobody is measuring the time. So, don’t rush it. And, most importantly, don’t skip anything, especially those more difficult parts. It is often true that the harder something is the more important, and useful, it is.
So, whatever the language you want to learn, always start with the very basics, the fundamentals. These are general topics that usually apply to almost all programming languages, if not all of them. So, it doesn’t matter what language will you choose, you will always find a way to apply this general knowledge, maybe with a little bit different syntax.
Don’t skip the hard parts
When you decide learn to code there will be times when you will not understand something. One temporarily “solution” is to skip it. Don’t Don’t skip it. Don’t move on. Never try to skip parts that seem hard to grasp at the moment. Quick shortcuts like these almost always backfire. It may take some time, but will backfire.
So, if there is anything you can’t wrap your head around don’t give up. Don’t ignore it “for the moment”. Don’t skip it “temporarily”. Instead, stick with it. When there is some topic you find difficult, do more research. Find more resources about that topic. Look for articles, tutorials, videos, books, join forums about programming reach out to other programmers.
You have to try anything that can help you understand that concept. This may seem like a lot of work. It is. The important thing is that this hard work will pay off. What you need to understand is that those basics will be the foundation for anything you will learn in the future. Think about it this way.
What happens when you build a house on weak foundation, you use bad bricks? Sooner or later, it will fall. The same with your knowledge of programming. In programming, almost everything is connected. One thing is related to another, in one way or another. So, when you skip something because it is hard chances are there is something connected to this topic.
It is likely there is something you can fully understand if you don’t understand the thing you are struggling with right now. If you are still not sure about this, think about this. Would you skip multiplication or division in Mathematics, because it is hard, and move to algebraic equations? Probably not.
You know that would not work very well. Sooner or later, you would get stuck. Your lack of knowledge would start to backfire. The same applies also in programming. You can’t understand one thing if you don’t understand the previous one. So, don’t skip anything. Stick with it until you understand it. Remember, patience and hard work will pay off.
Find a study group
There is a lot to learn when you decide to learn to code. A lot of these things are also quite hard to wrap one’s head around them, especially for beginners. As a result, it can take a long time until you get really good at programming. When this happens, when you don’t see any significant progress it is easy to lose motivation.
Finding a study group is one way to get around this. Other people who want to learn to code like you can help you stay motivated. They can also help you make it easier and learn faster. They can give you feedback on your curriculum, learning materials, your progress, your current knowledge and pinpoint your blind spots.
Also, when you don’t understand something you don’t have to guess anything or spend hours searching for the answer on the web. You can ask someone else in the group. People in the group can also test your knowledge. This can help you learn faster and retain more information. Being part of a study group can also make learning to code more enjoyable.
While some people like to learn in solitude others learn better when they are surrounded with other students. No matter how you struggle other people can help you get through it. They can help you sustain motivation, optimism and commitment to learning. Lastly, being a part of a study group is also good for holding you accountable.
It is easy to decide to do something, like to learn to code, try it and drop it after sometime. When you do something alone, you have to rely on yourself, your discipline, commitment and willpower. For many people, this doesn’t work. Sooner or later, they lose their enthusiasm and motivation and decide to stop.
It is much harder to stop doing something when there are other people involved. When there are other people who hold you accountable you are usually more likely follow through. Is finding a study group necessary? No. It is perfectly fine to decide to learn to code and do it all on your own, if you have the discipline, commitment and willpower.
On the other hand, if you know it is hard for you to stick with something, I recommend finding a study group. Or, at least one study partner. Learning to code can be difficult on its own. Don’t make it even harder by trying to do it alone, if you know being disciplined is not exactly your strength.
Sometimes, asking someone for help is the best thing you can do, as it can make a lot of things easier. What’s more, it can be a good opportunity to meet new people with similar interests. So, give it a try. What do you have to lose? In the worst case, you will learn to code on your own.
Try a Bootcamp
Aside to self-study and study groups, Bootcamp is another option for people who want to learn to code. This is a very popular option. There are many people who learned programming only thanks to attending a Bootcamp. What’s more, some companies even encourage their employees to attend them, they even pay the Bootcamps for their employees.
Even of someone decides to attend a Bootcamp on his own he can still use it to improve his career. Most of Bootcamps give some kind of an official certificate when you finish it. So, when you finish the Bootcamp you have something you can show to your employer. Or, something you can add to your resume if you are looking for a job.
This is probably one reason why some programmers and developers prefer Bootcamps over other, self-directed, ways of learning. Finishing a Bootcamp gives you something tangible, something you can show to prove your expertise. Being self-thought can’t. One potential downside of Bootcamp is that it can be expensive way to learn to code.
Price for attending a Bootcamp can vary, a lot. However, it can still be quite high number. That said, this can also be a good thing. When you pay for something, you are more likely to follow through and finish it. Lack of discipline or motivation is a smaller issue if you have to pay a few grands for something.
Higher price, but money well spent
This, often high, price is usually justified. Bootcamps are usually organized and led by experts. These people have experience from real life. They either worked or are still working for big companies, on real products. They are not those so-called experts you see all over the web who never actually worked on anything.
Also, when you don’t understand something, these people can help you understand it. They have the knowledge and experience you can learn. Imagine how long would it take you to learn all that experience on your own. Now, you can skip years of training on the job and learn everything in the matter of months, not years.
Another benefit of Bootcamp is a well-designed curriculum. There is no second-guessing what should you learn and in what order should you learn it. The curriculum has been tested on hundreds even thousands of students. It is also designed to teach you specific programming skills and language(s), not something vague you will never use.
Lastly, attending, and finishing, Bootcamp can open new career opportunities. New skills you can learn in a Bootcamp can help you earn more money on your current job or it can help you find new better paying. Whatever the case is, the money you spend on the Bootcamp will be an investment with potentially very good ROI.
Bootcamp as a way to learn to code faster
There is one more reason many people prefer Bootcamps. It helps them learn to code faster. When you attend a Bootcamp, you can’t go there only when you feel like it. Or, when you want to. There is a specific curriculum and strict schedule you have to follow. There are also exams and deadlines you have to meet.
If you fail to follow the schedule, or if you don’t pass the exams, or if you don’t meet the deadlines, it is over for you. You are out. You can register for the next Bootcamp and try again, but not this time. Hopefully, you will do better the next time. This may sound too harsh for some people. It might be.
That said, these high stakes are also one thing that makes Bootcamps very effective way to learn to code. You know there are deadlines to meet and exams to pass. You also know that if you fail, you may have to wait until the start of the next Bootcamp. And, you have to pay another few grands. This pushes you to work harder, whether you like it or not.
Find a mentor
When it comes to finding the most effective way to learn to code mentor ranks very high. Having a mentor is one of the best ways to learn just anything. Mentor can help you learn a lot faster. He can share with you his knowledge and experience. He can also help you find the best learning materials.
The biggest benefit of having a mentor is that he can give you a feedback. Feedback is critical part of learning process. Feedback from your mentor can help you find your blind spots. Then, your mentor can help you correct those blind spots. Your mentor can also assess your level of skills and experience and your progress.
This can help you find things that need your attention the most. Otherwise, you could waste a lot of time re-learning things you already know. Now, you can focus on things you actually don’t know, or you don’t know that well. This is also why many psychologists believe feedback is critical for becoming expert in a specific area.
Whether you want to become an expert programmer or not, mentor can also help you by holding you accountable. You will be more likely to follow through, and learn to code, when there is someone helping you with it. This will also make it easier to get through the tough times when you encounter some obstacle.
So, give it a try. Find someone with experience in programming who might be willing to help you learn to code. Remember, you have nothing to lose. The worst thing that can happen is that you will hear no. The best one? You will have someone to help you learn to code. Who knows, he or she may become your new very good friend.
Epilogue: How to Learn to Code
Now you know the rest of tips that will help you learn to code faster. What are the next steps you can take right now? First, commit to learning just one programming language. Remember that more is not always better. This is also true for coding. There is already a lot to learn. Adding multiple languages will only make everything harder.
Next, choose the language that suits your needs the best. Remember that there is no one best programming language. There are only best programming languages for specific tasks. So, decide what do you want to use your coding skills for and then use this to choose the best programming language for you.
Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to learn to code alone. You can find a study group or a mentor. Or, you can attend a Bootcamp. This can be especially beneficial for your career. All these options have their pros and cons. They also work differently for different people. So, try them and see which one, if any, works for you. Then, stick with it.
Lastly, learning to code takes time. You will not learn it in the matter of days or weeks. It takes months to get really good at it. Expert level? Years. So, have patience. Give yourself enough time and space to learn everything. If you don’t understand something, don’t skip it. Put in more work. Stick with it until you understand it.
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