How to Improve Programming Skills For Beginners
If you are a beginner and you want to improve your programming skills or coding skills than this post is for you. If your target is to code better than learn to code with this post. One thing is for sure that you will have to practice a lot to become a better programmer but there are certain other things which will make programming fun and easy as you cruise through the beginner to intermediate phase. So lets Start.
Ways to Improve Programming Skills, Practice for Beginners, Learn to Code
We will look at some of the pointers which will help you improve your programming skills. Beginners can easily apply these in their day to day life along with their job. Please read on if you wish to learn to code.
1. Choose your Weapon, Pick the Programming Language You would like to learn:
Well this question that how you choose a programming language as a beginner may seem very straightforward but it can be the one with very complex answer. You may end up finding this as the biggest hurdle before starting.
Before we even start discussing this important point you may wish to read our full post on this specific subject. After reading this post you will have a broader view on all programming languages in market.
Once you have gone through the above post you will have answers to a lot of questions. Like what are the programming languages and skills of utter importance in coming future. It is also important that you choose a programming language which has a huge community so that you can get answers to your doubts or questions immediately. The bigger the community the sooner you will find answers to your problems.
This doesn’t mean that languages with relatively smaller communities are not important. They are equally important but as a beginner you must always choose a direction where you can get more help. Once you have a good command on one programming language you will be able to switch between languages very easily.
2. Read About Basics and Core Concepts:
Its very important to read the basics of any programming languages while you learn to code. The core concepts although you don’t see them visually while looking at code but they are present in each and every line. And that makes it very important that your programming skills have understanding of core concepts as the first skill.
Some of the most common and basic core concepts of any programming language are:
Variables as their name suggests can have a varying value. They are basically symbols used to point a storage location. These storage locations can have different values and they can be assigned by using variable symbolic notation. Please check wiki definition of a variable below:
b. Control Structures
According to Wikipedia control structures in programming have below definition.
So basically all conditional structures in a programming can be called as Control Structure. Examples are If/Else conditionals, Try/Catch blocks, While/For loops, Switch Case blocks, etc.
c. Data Structures
The Wikipedia definition of a a data structure in computer programming is shown below:
As the definition suggests data structures are basically a more organized way to store essentially same type of data. For example a list of cars in your inventory can be stored in an array or ArrayList instead of having separate variables for each car which would be highly unmanageable.
After you have data in your data structures you can basically apply all type of operations on this data. For example sorting, searching, etc.
See below the definition of syntax in computer programming from Wikipedia:
In general English we have a lot of rules defined by grammar, same is the case of programming languages. You must write your lines of program which are defined by some rules and those rules are known as syntax. As you speak wrong English the person listening to you will not understand what you are saying. Similarly if you write syntactically wrong programs the computer software/hardware is not going to understand what you want to achieve. Instead the system throws errors.
Using a good IDE for programming will save you from a lot of syntax errors as they will be highlighted while you type.
Just like we have hardware tools to get a job done easily and in a better way programming languages also have various tools to make programming easier and accurate. When you use these tools a lot of boring part called boilerplate code is already taken care of by the tools. So you can focus more on the behavioral aspects of your program.
These tools can be any additional packages, frameworks, connectors etc. For example using a database connector will save you from handling all the database connection related parts like opening ports, closing ports, sending data etc.
Similarly using a framework which is one of the most important tool of a programming language will save you from writing a lot of boilerplate code. You will start with a well written set of code which then you will extend.
3. Read, Write and Run:
Try to create small programs or applications while reading so that you gain practical info as well and the reading won’t seem boring. It will also help you test your skills immediately, learn to code and you can correct yourself at the same time.
While this technique makes learning more fun it also helps you learn the syntax of your programming language more easily.
4. Try to Solve Mathematical Problems/Quizzes with Programming:
This is very straightforward. You cannot just keep on creating random applications without the vision of arriving somewhere. Its better to solve a particular problem and during that you learn skills. Also you learn to code while the activity being fun and competitive.
In programming solving a problem is not enough. Your solution must be highly optimized as well. The time and space complexity comes in picture when you move to a broader level. They may not seem a hurdle in the beginning but any piece of code which is assumed to have high load is expected to be highly optimized.
When you try to solve a particular quiz or mathematical problem with your programming you end up with a solution. But to have the best solution you must optimize your program. It must execute faster, use less memory and still be accurate.
5. Improve Programming skills by facing Online Challenges and coding Questions:
This one is a fun activity while you learn to code. Participate in online challenges and coding quizzes. This will help you gain more knowledge and insights from what is happening around you. You will meet competitors and also friends who can help you learn better. It is always better to participate in a race with competitors instead of running all alone.
6. Participate in Various Online Coding Communities:
This point is again a major requirement if you are trying to improve your programming skills. Beginners will find these communities a bit ahead of them but believe us, you will soon catch up with their flow. You will gain quality knowledge on these platforms.
Also, beginners are always posting their newly developed tools and programs on these communities to receive feedback from real humans. You can even discuss whats in your mind and may be something better is already present. So instead of starting from 0 you start from 80% and than take it up from there. You will always be more than welcome on such communities and you will really have a good time while you learn to code.
Some of the top picks from us are listed below. But again you can always google and find more options.
Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/programming/ (programming subreddit of the huge reddit platform)
Github: https://github.com/ (Its a repository platform but you will find a lot of cool stuff shared by other programmers here)
Geeks For Geeks: http://www.geeksforgeeks.org/
Project Euler: https://projecteuler.net/
CodeMonk: https://www.hackerearth.com/practice/codemonk/ (from HackerEarth)
7. Share Your Problems:
Whenever you face a particular problem or you solve a particular problem in a better way always Share. You can share with your friends on social media like Facebook, twitter, etc. Or you can even share them on dedicated communities for such things.
This will help you get answers to your problems quickly without wasting a lot of your time and effort. A lot of times while learning new features you will find yourself stuck with some problem or issue. May be someone else has already faced the same problem as yours and they were able to find solution. And now when you ask on community these experienced people will come to your rescue.
This will help you come out of your problem loophole so that you keep moving forward. Also, you can check problems posted by other fellow programmers and help them solve those problems. This will increase your reputation on such platforms and eventually will lead to improve your programming skills and you can help other learn to code.
Some of these communities are listed below which are our top picks:
StackOverflow: https://stackoverflow.com/ (biggest community for asking programming or computer science related questions)
Quora: https://www.quora.com/ (ask any type of questions here)
Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/ (Again you can ask questions related to various topics on various sub-reddits)
Google Groups: http://groups.google.com/
8. Keep Learning One New Concept Everyday:
Ideally you must learn a new programming concept everyday so that you can keep filling your programming skills bucket. This will enable you to increase your reach and prepare you for future so that you can use your skill-set to solve problems.
Some concepts which you learn right away are listed below:
a. Boolean Operators
b. Comparison Operators
c. Tree or Graph data structures.
d. Number systems like binary, hexadecimal, octal, etc.
d. Hashing Functions
When you learn a new concept try to implement it in your programming activities. See how you can fit it in what you are developing at that time. Not only this will make a new concept stick to your memory for a longer period but it will also help you to check how well you have learned this concept. When you learn to code a new concept everyday you gradually increase your hold on that programming language.
As discussed in the topics above you can use various online mediums to achieve this goal. Give yourself small tasks on the new concepts you uncover.
9. Move on to advanced programming gradually:
Do not go to advanced programming immediately or you will find yourself in the middle of a lot of unknown stuff. Slide into advanced programming with ease. Get your basics solid and then learn 1 new advanced technique each day.
Some advanced programming skills are listed below. These are only to point you in a direction on advanced programming. There are a lot more advanced skills out there which you need to continuously improve on.
a. Program designing Principles.
b. Code Commenting and Maintaining Guides.
c. Throttling and Rate Limiting.
d. Load handling, etc.
Read more as you continue advancing to the higher concepts. Try to think from an architecture point of view the necessity of this advanced technique which you are learning and prove it back to yourself by implementing it in your next solution.
You will surprised that before you know you will be an advanced programmer instead of a beginner.
There are many books written on different programming languages which explain the advanced programming skills. These books will help you understand the advanced concepts and eventually you will learn to code in a much better way.
10. Join an Online Course:
If it all sounds confusing to you then you can always join online courses. The online courses will help you gain knowledge quickly and improve in a more professional way. Choose the online course which fits your budget as almost all the good course providers are paid services. There will be many courses and depending on your expertise you can choose from beginners in order to improve towards advanced levels.
So these were some of the tips for you to become a better programmer and improve your programming skills as a beginner.