Table of Contents Hide
- 10 Tips for the Best Way to Learn Programming
- 1) Pickup one programming language
- 2) Set a Schedule
- 3) Set Realistic Goals
- 4) Practice, Practice, Practice
- 5) Don’t try to do everything at once
- 6) Focus on One Language at a Time
- 7) Surround Yourself with supportive people.
- 8) Take Breaks
- 9) Plan Ahead
- 10) Work on Projects You’re Passionate About.
10 Tips for the Best Way to Learn Programming
Learning how to program computers can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are 10 tips you can learn how to program computers and get the most out of your experience so that you can really enjoy programming rather than feeling overwhelmed and bogged down by it. With these tips, you’ll learn how to program faster and smarter so that you can take your computer-based projects to the next level!
1) Pickup one programming language
This is like learning a foreign language – if you really want to learn it, you have to immerse yourself in it. Instead of taking a class or reading tutorials online, try picking up one programming language and using that as your gateway into all other languages. Learning one language will also help improve your problem-solving and logical thinking skills. You’ll get better at debugging, reading through code, and better understanding.
2) Set a Schedule
If you want to learn programming for free, it’s important that you make time and commit to a regular schedule. How much time do you have available? What do you think your learning process will be like? Do you think you might be held back from progressing as quickly because of family or work obligations? Do you know how much time you’ll have to spend coding every day? Maybe you can make an estimate or talk it over with someone else. You could, for example, set a goal to work on your coding project after dinner every night of every week.
3) Set Realistic Goals
If you want to learn coding but you’re doing it just because it seems cool, or because your friends are learning and you don’t want to be left out, it’s going to be a lot harder. If you find yourself sitting in front of a computer staring at code, thinking I have no idea what I am doing right now, and I have all day! take a break.
When learning new skills it’s important not to let your ego get involved—it will only end up hurting your progress in coding. Instead, start small and set realistic goals like writing Hello World! on your computer screen before moving on from there.
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4) Practice, Practice, Practice
Learning coding without putting it into practice is useless. It’s also counter-productive, since seeing your code actually work will help you understand and remember different commands better. So join a few CodeWars competitions or make some projects on CodeWars itself—it’s a great way to learn coding for free. You can even use it as an alternative to college courses if you want.
The site has tons of tutorials and sample problems that are great ways to learn programming from scratch. If you already have experience with other languages, CodeWars is also a good place to hone your skills by solving hard problems from experienced programmers around the world. If that sounds like too much work, though, don’t worry: there are plenty of other ways for beginners to learn how to program online for free!
5) Don’t try to do everything at once
Learning programming is a difficult and time-consuming process. Trying to learn everything at once can overwhelm you. Pick one or two areas of programming that interest you and spend a lot of time learning them; practice will help cement your knowledge.
You don’t have to be an expert in all areas, but having some practical knowledge will make you more valuable as an employee or entrepreneur. There are plenty of free resources available online—take advantage of them! If you learn best by reading books, look into The Pragmatic Programmer, Head First C, or Code Complete.
If watching videos works better for you, check out Learn Python The Hard Way, CS50, or Khan Academy. The bottom line: there are lots of ways to learn coding online—choose whatever method works best for you.
6) Focus on One Language at a Time
Because there are so many languages out there, it can be tempting to learn more than one at a time. But focusing on one language at a time is your best bet. It can be overwhelming trying to keep all of your lessons straight in your head, and it’s going to take some time before you get fluent in any language anyway. Pick one now and dive in headfirst.
7) Surround Yourself with supportive people.
When you’re learning how to code, it’s important to seek out a network of people who can cheer you on and provide support. Learning how to code can be overwhelming at times, and having supportive people around you will help make sure that you stay focused and motivated.
For example, developers often flock together in Slack channels or Facebook groups where they can talk shop, and learn from one another. It’s also a good idea to find a local meetup or coding club where you can regularly work with others who are trying to become developers.
8) Take Breaks
Learning to code can be stressful and tiring, especially if you’re brand new to programming. As a result, it’s important that you not only take time to rest your brain (if possible during a break), but that you actually let yourself relax as much as possible.
If possible, take breaks throughout your coding session so that you’re working on something fresh later on. And make sure that during these times, you do something unrelated or relaxing: read a book, go for a walk, or talk with friends about non-tech topics. This is your brain’s way of telling itself it doesn’t need to spend all of its resources focused on learning how to code. Take advantage of it!
9) Plan Ahead
Planning out your coding learning process can give you direction and purpose. Make a plan of attack on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. This will help you prioritize, manage your time better, and prevent distractions that might get in your way of becoming a pro coder.
For example, when learning how to code on Free Code Camp, we found it helpful to be aware of our bigger goal – landing a software development job after completing our 10k hours of practice! So instead of trying new things randomly or wasting time with content unrelated to our goals (think YouTube), we were able to decide what was important based on what would help us reach our final destination faster.
10) Work on Projects You’re Passionate About.
If you’re new to coding, you’ll likely see results faster if you’re working on a project that really interests you. If you’re passionate about what you’re building, it won’t feel like work; instead, your energy will be focused on getting your idea built and improving as a developer. And there are so many projects out there that need development help—it can be as simple as helping someone fix their website or creating a spreadsheet from scratch.
If you’re interested in becoming a programmer, now is the time to start. The time between when you first begin to the time when you have true programming skills is longer than you think. Becoming an expert in software engineering takes time, persistence, and dedication.
It’s also important to balance your work life with your home life. Take regular breaks from your computer and give yourself new challenges now and then. and lastly, find someone to confide in—sharing your struggles with a trusted partner is therapeutic and will make you feel better (plus, you may get some sympathy).
These are some of our best tips on learning to program, but what do you think? Have a tip you think would be a great addition? Let us know in the comments.