How To Learn To Code Without Losing Your Mind
Knowing how to program is one of the most valuable skills you can have in today’s world, regardless if you’re doing it for career purposes or for the sole reason of practicing your brain. Coding is just like any other language, so it can be troublesome for you if you’re just starting but once you get good at it – you’ll be able to write it without even thinking about it. Today, there are tons of books and resources that can teach you to code, but doing it without stress and negativity is the sole purpose of this guide. So if you’re looking to get positive about your coding skills, read on.
Choose Your Language
For starters, you should decide on one coding language you’ll invest your time into learning. A simple fact that you should be aware of is that there are no best coding languages, but there are languages that are friendlier for beginners. Once you’ve wrapped your mind around one language and learned it, it’ll be fairly easy to pick up another one and learn it much quicker than the first one. Your choice of language also might depend on what you want to do with it – whether it’s software development for which you might want to pick up Java, or iOS app coding for which you’ll need Swift.
Whichever you choose, don’t jump on another until you’re confident that you’ve mastered it.
Figure Out a Learning Method That Works Best For You
There is no one recipe for learning to code, so you need to know what works best for you. It’s always good to have a primary method and supplement it with secondary ones. So for example, if you’re a good listener and want to learn from Youtube videos, you might want to supplement your knowledge with a book about coding. Here are some of the methods you can use to learn to program.
- Online Coding Courses – some people just work best when they’re told what to do and checked upon regularly, so if you’re having problems with self-discipline signing up for a course like this might be a good idea, as you’ll get more motivated than by trying to go through it on your own.
There’s an abundance of these courses online, and some of them are even free. Just check the reviews before signing up, just to be sure.
- Youtube videos – Today, you can learn just about anything just from watching various videos from the people already skilled at the craft. It’s a good and free way to learn to code, just as long as you can sit, watch and repeat all day long.
- Books – even though it’s the old fashioned way, coding hasn’t changed much and all the books that cover it are still pretty much viable even today. They tend to cover the logic aspects of coding a bit better than watching the videos, so you might actually figure out why you’re doing something – which is extremely important. When it comes to coding, you want to avoid doing anything that you don’t understand, because once you are in front of the same problem again – you’ll just be stuck again.
- Figure It Out Yourself – many of the best programmers out there are self-taught. They were presented with a problem and tried to bypass it, after which they moved on to a bigger problem. You should always be learning while doing it anyway, but if you’re the kind of person who likes to do it their own way – you might want to try to just manage your way through.
It’s important that you listen to yourself when it comes to choosing a method because only you know what style suits your needs.
Record Your Results
You must be aware by now that learning to code will be a long process, which is why it’s important to record everything that you’ve done. People often find themselves losing motivation because they can’t feel their progress. This is why you need to remind yourself from time to time just how far you’ve come when it comes to programming – and looking at your first lines of code will do just that, tell you how awesome you are right now. You may think this is a minor thing, but it’s actually extremely important to keep you motivated throughout the process.
Motivation is the key to learning just about anything and it’s imperative to know for what reasons you’re learning it. If your reason is that you want to make a career out of it, maybe you should take a step back and set yourself some lower goals for the beginning. Sure, making a career out of it can be your final goal, but for starters, you should just take one step at a time and try to learn as much as possible. Best motivation comes out of successfully completing objectives and that’s the main reason why you’ll want to start thinking small. If you just started out and want to code an AAA video game, you’ll fail miserably and give up. Take smaller steps, improve your skills, and one day you might just be a part of something like that.
Set Strict Deadlines and Respect Them
When it comes to coding, many beginners will just try to do a bunch of projects and drop-out in the middle in favor of another project. Trying things out is fine, as long as you finish everything you started. Do one project at a time and set yourself some deadlines. Imagine if you were already employed, you’d have a deadline for each of the projects you work on. And while deadlines can be a pain when you’re employed, they are a great thing to teach you some self-discipline, a skill you’ll need plenty of when it comes to programming. Not to mention that if you don’t finish your projects, you might miss out on some valuable knowledge you’ll need for other projects as well.
Read Error Messages
While computer users quickly get away from error messages whenever they see them, programmers should actually read them because they contain valuable input that will help you fix the errors. A lot of times these messages will tell you exactly what’s wrong, so always take the time and read any new ones you run into. This is also a great practice for your problem-solving skills – you always need to know what the problem is before trying to fix it. Error messages aren’t your punishment, they are your friends and they are trying to help you do things the right way.
Socialize With Other Programmers
Having someone you can talk to about the code you’re trying to write can be invaluable. Just talking about programming can get you to think about it in a more positive light, so find a friend you can share your thoughts with. It will also help you to know that they’re struggling with certain problems as well, and if you’re able to help them – this will motivate you even further to keep at it. That’s why even companies like Webdel WordPress Developer Sydney encourage their employees to socialize with each other even outside of work.
The Right and the Wrong Approach
Beginners often try to copy parts of the code from another source while they’re trying to do random things in order to complete the project. This is bad, not because you’re copying the line of code, but because you won’t figure out what’s the purpose of it without doing it yourself. This will lead to gaps in your knowledge, and you’ll be likely to give up once you come to a problem that requires knowledge that you skipped on. Always take the time and analyze the problem at hand, and if you can’t come up with a solution – read about it and find out how and why. By doing this, you’ll make sure you understand everything that you’re doing, which in itself is invaluable when it comes to programming.
Play Games for Programmers
The fact is, no matter what you’re learning, there’s no better and quicker way to do it than through playing games. Same goes for coding, and you can use many of these games to practice your skills and get better at it.
- CodeMonkey – this one’s mostly used for kids, but if you’re a beginner you can actually learn some code by playing this game.
- Codewars – this isn’t really a game, more like collaborative challenge solving for programmers. It’s a great way to master the art and it supports many of the languages.
- Code Combat – A community-based platform, it’s all about learning how to code while playing through a real game.
There are many other games that you can use, it all depends on which ones suit you and your preferred language best. Playing these games will help you start thinking like a programmer and you’ll be able to practice your brain all while keeping yourself entertained.
Find a Mentor
Having a mentor is a great way to pick up on their way of thinking and replicate it, but only through understanding. Contrary to the popular belief, coding is almost always done by more than one person so you’ll want to learn to work with someone and share your methods and insights. Today, programming community is very open and willing to help out the beginners, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find someone who’d mentor you through the process. And once you’ve mastered the language, you should mentor someone else – because it’s a great way for retaining information.
Break Someone Else’s Code
This is one of the best techniques to learn to code, it’s basically reverse-engineering an existing code in order to better understand how it works. Like with coding games, the key here is to change one thing at a time and checking what actually changes when you do it. There’s plenty of open code on the web you can practice on and when you reach a point where you can improve it – you’ll know you’ve made it.
Some people will learn to code faster, some slower, but everyone can do it. Don’t get depressed if you’re in the latter group because it’s only natural and it won’t really matter once you reach a certain point. If you really want to learn to code, the time you’ve invested will definitely pay off if you just keep at it and push your own boundaries. It’s a long journey and you’ll have your doubts while you’re learning, but always keep in mind that there’s no right or wrong way to code – and the best way is your own way.