4 steps I use to learn a new programming language.

Kent Fenwick
The Startup
Published in
5 min readMay 25, 2020

--

Step 1. Buy a physical book of a language or framework you want to learn.

Step 2. Set a timer and make sure that you read for at least 10mins a day.

Step 3. Read with a purpose.

Step 4. Write out all code in the book by hand and make sure it runs.

Sitting outside the Eaton Center on cool August day I tore through the first few chapters of The Pragmatic Programmer. I was in 2nd year University and wanted to be a doctor. I had taken bio-medical computing at Queen’s University to differentiate myself from the crowd and somewhere in all the Java and C, I had started falling in love in programming, but I hadn’t found my muse, until that day.

Something about Dave and Andy’s writing made sense. Software was a skill and with deliberate practice, good principles, tested patterns and the right mindset, I could be become a master. I was hooked. Not sure if it was in the book itself, or an interview, but somewhere I remember them saying to write out the code samples when reading a book about programming. No copy and pasting.

Simple instructions are hard to follow. But back then, I was a journeyman, eager to learn and followed instructions well. It was a pain in the ass but I copied and pasted all lines from the original depot application in…

--

--

Kent Fenwick
The Startup

VP of Growth @clearbanc. I help companies grow. At the intersection of marketing, software development and product.