Some things to ponder on — Intro to programming 101

Lots of people are getting into programming these days because they love computers, like programming challenges and want to make a career in the IT industry. A career in the tech industry is diversified and rewarding and being a good programmer will be definitely help one to move up the corporate ladder. This post is going to be really helpful for anyone who wants to learn how to code and have an accelerated growth. I have carefully analysed and explained briefly some factors a novice programmer must think about:

  1. Adapt to your style

How to learn a new language?Should I read the documentation? Should I join a bootcamp? Should I watch video lectures? Should I ..??

These are the most common questions beginners face and different people give different answers. You might ask “What should I do?” or “Whom should I listen to?”, I have got just one answer, try different ways of learning and choose the one that suits your style and stick to it. The way you learn might or might not vary from language to language but irrespective of that, it will be your unique way of learning. This will give you accelerated growth in the long run.

2. Learn by doing!

Reading books, watching video tutorials and not writing a single line of code can be the worst way to learn a new language. Well, cramming can be even worse!

There are various resources online which follow the “learn by doing” concept. You can also learn by solving programming challenges in online judges or, you can try to build an app or website from scratch and learn the language on the fly!

3. Write neat code!

Most of the beginners, especially those who are self learnt generally tend to write messy code, that is, there is no proper formatting and commenting. There is no future sight and a designed plan or algorithm in mind. After getting comfortable with at least one language, while working on a project one should first design the algorithm properly before starting the implementation and make sure that the language is utilised to its maximum efficiency.

Most beginners tend to ignore the naming conventions, which is a very serious problem.

It is important to give proper names to functions, it not only makes your code understandable for other programmers but also helps a lot during debugging and testing phases. Also many a times, the functions written become very huge even though one might have no intention which complicates the code drastically and giving good and sensible function names will help a lot!

4. Languages, frameworks and platforms

When starting to learn web programming, you hear lots of new terms. You might hear people talk about platforms and frameworks. The answer to which framework you choose would depend on the answer to the questions like “Which platform should I use?PHP?JAVA?.NET?”

A platform is an underlying thing, a service provider. Framework is set of predefined functions and classes which developer uses for faster development. According to wikipedia,

“A web framework (WF) or web application framework (WAF) is a software framework that is designed to support the development of web applications including web services,web resources and web APIs. Web frameworks aim to alleviate the overhead associated with common activities performed in web development. “

It is very important to understand the need and use of many general purpose frameworks. For example, to Django and Ruby on Rails are popular frameworks for the server side whereas AngularJS is widely used in the client-side. Apart from these, there are different types of language, HTML is a Markup language and CSS is a styling language. Javascript is used widely for frontend development. “Is Javascript the same as Java?” is a very common question as well, it’s like comparing oranges to apples, they are very different. So before going into web development it would be better to understand these concepts in detail for the long run.

5. Learn to debug!

I am not biased about code editors(nah,Sublime Text is the best!). Developers often tend to stare at their code for hours trying to find errors in logic or syntax but good developers usually get the desired code quickly by using debuggers properly. Not using a debugging can be as bad as choosing a bad text editor or IDE for your project. When you use a debugger you get additional information on what might have gone wrong other than your basic thought process. It’s like thinking out of the box!

6. Use your search engine!

It doesn’t matter whether you use Google, Yahoo or Bing as your search engine but whatever it is, try searching your doubts as much as possible. It is very easy to debug errors, just copy the error text and there is a 9/10 chance that someone might have asked the same question in stackoverflow. There is nothing wrong in searching the web for language syntax, developers all over the world refer to the code documentation often, in fact it is a very good practise as you will always be up to date!

Wrapping up

Never forget that everyone’s different. Choose the languages you like and work on projects that excite you. Do not write messy code and learn by coding. The more you code the better coder you will become. Understand concepts thoroughly before jumping into detail. Make the best use of IDE’s, debugging tools and your search engine.

Remember: while( ! ( succeed = try() ));

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