It is easy to learn something like tying your shoelaces. You can acquire the skill, implement it and see the result immediately. On the other hand, what makes coding difficult to learn is the fact that the real results are visible much later. You have to learn a variety of concepts, which you will use much later on in combination with a variety of different technologies to code. If you have not learnt the right concepts at the right time, you are going to be lost.
We understand this struggle very well. That is why we have 6 tips that will make it easier for you to learn how to code.
1. Don’t just read code
Coding is not a theoretical exercise. There is no point in simply reading different codes and thinking that you have understood all of it. If you want to actually learn new concepts and become an expert in them, you need to start writing code for yourself. For instance, even if you read all the “for-loops” and think that they are very straightforward, you’ll still be stuck when you are tasked with writing your own loops without a reference code to guide you.
2. Focus on grasping the fundamental concepts
As simple as they may seem, you should make sure that you have a solid understanding of basic coding concepts. The better you understand the fundamental concepts, the easier it is to learn more advanced concepts. A lot of people who rush through the beginning lessons are often the first to get stuck when they transition to more advanced levels. That is why you should focus on understanding the basic concepts thoroughly before moving on.
3. Tinker with code, play with it
If you want to learn how a piece of code works, just reading the sample code will never be enough. For getting an insight into how it functions, you need to actually run the code and tinker with it. The sample code that you will find in online tutorials will have comments and instructions, but you need to run it yourself, tweak it, experiment with it and see what is happening. This practice fills up more gaps in your understanding. 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.
4. Take breaks when you are debugging your code
Debugging is the process of identifying and removing errors in a software code that can cause it to behave unexpectedly or crash. It is easy to spend long hours trying to find where your code is going wrong and there is no guarantee that you will fix the problem. It is very easy to get frustrated with this. That is why you should take breaks while debugging, clear your mind and return with a fresh perspective.
5. Look for more online resources
If you don’t understand a particular concept, look for alternate online resources to get a hang of it. Just because one source is not able to explain the concept to you, doesn’t mean that you need to keep racking your brains trying to understand it from there. There will be tons of other sources that will help you learn the same concept in a better way. All you need to do is to research a bit more to find other tutorials, blog explanations, and videos that will make the concept crystal clear.
6. Work on practical projects
We recommend that you build a project as you go through the study material. A personal project is the best starting point. You will get to write code on your own from scratch. As you progress along your learning path, you will keep refining your project. Having your own pet project will also motivate you to learn new things to make it better.
7. Have a Mentor
As amazing as it would be to become the next big thing on your own, the harsh reality is that you will learn faster if you have a dedicated mentor and peer feedback. What might appear to be an immovable bug or difficult topic could be quickly sorted out by an expert Mentor.
Whether you’re just beginning to learn to programme or you’ve been working as a developer for years, having a mentor is one of the best ways to continue improving and ensure you’re constantly expanding your skillset. If Google gives you the knowledge, mentors give you wisdom.
Limitations of Self-Study
It is very difficult to learn something without proper feedback. Getting feedback is a fundamental requirement of the learning process. Imagine trying to improve your batting technique without knowing if you hit the ball properly. It would be impossible.
There are two main ways to receive feedback:
- You can give feedback to yourself through self-study
- Someone else can provide it
The self-study method is mostly used in the programming world. Usually, when coders get stuck they visit websites like Stack Overflow or GitHub. They put up their work, ask for opinions, ask questions and hope that someone will help them solve their doubts.
Self-study will always remain a part of a software developer’s job because they are constantly facing new problems that need innovative solutions. A good developer is not a person who has a great memory but rather is someone who can understand a problem, get to the root of it and solve it through coding solutions.
Self-study is important, but there are three major problems.
First, searching for solutions online information is difficult for someone who does not know where to look and what to look for.
Second, relying on self-study a lot makes it hard for you to take a step back and understand bigger concepts. You will find yourself trying to solve individual problems without having a good understanding of how it fits into everything else.
Third, you might not be clear if you are following the right learning path. In the starting, it’s hard to know where to begin. The path you choose might not be the best one for you. You might not even correct your learning path until much later. This will waste your time in learning something that does not align with your long term goals.
To avoid all this, you need en expert mentor for yourself.
Benefits of having a mentor
They assist you in getting a strong understanding of concepts. They have the expertise to help you learn hard concepts and will be able to point you in the right direction when you hit a roadblock.
Mentors also have their own network of friends and developers they can introduce you to. This opens up a lot of opportunities for you to expand your own network. This will give you new and interesting insights into a developers life and help you find a job when the time comes.
Despite these 6 tips, the most essential ingredient to learn to code faster is your dedication. You need to stay dedicated and persistent while learning to code.