How to Learn Programming
Whether you’re currently pursuing a degree in computer science, an aspiring self-taught developer, or a coding boot camp student, mastering the craft of programming is a perpetual struggle.
With every new subject, the sooner you start playing with the code, the faster you will learn the given concepts. Even if you blaze through an entire chapter of reading and a topic like for loops seems straightforward – so straightforward even 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?” As the saying goes, you need to “use it or lose it”, because despite the evolution of technology, this ole’ proverb holds true when learning to code.
Hint: Build a project as you go through the material. A personal project is often the best starting point.
As elementary as they may appear at first, programming fundamentals always need to come first: the better you understand them, the easier it is to learn more advanced concepts. From our experience at Coding Dojo, students who rush through the beginning of our software bootcamp – where our course focuses most on web development fundamentals – are often the first to get stuck as we transition into more advanced material, such as back-end programming. So before you ditch the first class of computer science 101, or skip chapter one of an online tutorial, keep in mind that you are overlooking the most important step in your learning.
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. Although more time consuming, this restriction will mold you into a more fundamentally sound developer, both in the classroom and the job market. For college exams and technical interviews – a critical component of the job interview process – you will have to code-by-hand, because not only is this good for learning, but it’s universally known to be the ultimate test for a programmer’s proficiency. So start early and get used to this old-school practice.