Programming jobs are in high demand, and corporates are employing ridiculous tactics to recruit. The demand for top-notch programmers is not likely to subside any time soon. Many companies continue to adopt technical knowledge, and this includes the ancient industries which are also hunting for talented programmers. You may not be a professional programmer, but it suffices to study the basics of programming. Any technology-related job that you come across in the future will require you to know how to code. Use this article to understand the basics of programming even if you are not in the technology field.
1. Stick to one task at a time
If you are trying to learn a new thing, or if you have a project where you need to figure out how to do several things, it is advisable to pick a particular task and follow it to the end. In programming, you will have a lot of content in your mind depending on what you need to do, and it is best if you focus on one thing and finish it. There are many ways of tackling a particular problem in programming, and this depends on the solution you choose. For instance, if you need to build a Content Management System (CMS) website that deploys content to various users, you could make a site that has a giant app where each user has a specific domain. You could also make it so every individual user is distinct from your app, and has configuration changes. Each approach has its pros and cons, and you need to make a wise judgement. This is why many people indicate that programming is an art, since you have to weigh two or more options and choose the best one.
2. Different people find various things easy
There are people who think operating systems programming is easier than web programming. Such people argue that they only need to write assembly code for a single computer, and it will function as they wish in all computers. Web developers on the other hand need to understand the markup language, style sheet language, and programming language before they send the application across their network. The application should run on a different computer that uses a different operating system, and this is not an easy thing. Since we all have various strengths and weaknesses, it is important to tell beginners that programming is possible regardless of the complexity involved.
3. Naming conventions matter
If you are starting to learn various web development languages, it is quite hard to understand all the naming conventions that are found in different languages. When developers do not agree on the best practices for naming conventions, this further complicates the matter. However, when you come across a method or variable with an underscore that precedes it, you are not seeing the magic. This is simply a naming convention that acts as a reminder to the developer that a given method/variable/property is under protection or private, and it is not possible to access it outside the class. Make a decision whether your code will have shortcuts or not. Many new programmers find it hard to write precise codes that are readable. Naming conventions should guide you to write readable codes fast.
4. Understand and follow coding standards for your company
Various companies have different coding standards, and it is important to know what standard your company follows. Coding becomes hard when you work in an abstract manner, without paying attention to the guidelines you have from your instructor or company. You ensure that no one can tell what changes you made to any existing code if you are working with it. In case you make any additions, no one should identify you, as per basic principles of coding.
5. You can never finish coding to perfection
One thing about engineering is that there is a difference between making a race car and a commuter vehicle. There are things you can put in a race car that cannot fit in a commuter vehicle and vice versa. It is important to know where to start in coding, and you will find that it is okay to do 80% of the code perfectly well. Leaving the other 20% does not insinuate that you are a lesser programmer. You are under obligation to get everything correct, focus on doing the best, and removing bugs in your code to ensure that it runs well.
6. Use Google
Many programmers have a special interest in Google. Do not underestimate the influence that Google has, even if you are a beginner. Googling will be part of your job as a programmer, and you will find that it is better to know how to search for something that relates to programming.
7. Learn more basics about many languages
If you need to become an all-round software developer, it is imperative to understand the basics of various programming languages. Fundamentals of programming include algorithms, data structures, and various paradigms of programming, such as functional programming, refactoring, clean coding, and object-oriented programming.
8. Collaborate with others
You can only learn how to do something well if you discuss with other people, and hear how they do it. If you learn how certain people solved a challenge in programming, you get confidence in your work. Explore other people’s work since two minds are better than one.
9. Ask for help
Programming is a social activity, and you should take it as that. No one would be a good programmer today if they had not involved people who are good at certain areas. Know who to ask in case you have a problem in a certain language, and be available for others as well.
10. Technology changes always
Technology is never constant, and you should refer to yourself as a programmer now, and as a language person later. All programming languages will cease to exist one day, and if you relied on a certain language to code, you would be irrelevant. Programming languages fall into a family tree, and you can learn a language that is similar to the one you are using. For instance, Ruby and Python are similar, so learning either of them is easy. However, you cannot switch from an object-oriented programming language such as Ruby, and move to a statically-typed programming language such as Haskell. This would be very challenging. If you need to learn a new language easily, it is better to have a project for each language. Explore as much as you can so that technological change does not catch up with you.
11. Limitless solutions
You will find there are many ways of solving a certain programming problem. Don’t let this deter you from creating anything. Stick to what you know in the beginning, and build on it later.
12. Programmers fail every time
If you start coding and you see red-colored code all over, it means you are doing something wrong. But do not stop coding. Imagine a world where every code was free from bugs. Programming would be boring! The fact that we have existing programmers means we have problematic software. Stick to coding even when you have many errors.
13. It is a problem-solving skill
You need to understand that programmers use computer programming to solve problems. If you solve a certain problem, you sharpen your skills. You are just expressing your thought process using a code.
14. Be curious about existing software and systems
Though you are a beginner, it is good to be curious about what is happening around you. As you advance, you will question various frameworks, code bases, and tools. This will help you appreciate what other programmers have done.
15. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t contribute in a forum
There are many forums where you can discuss programming tips or issues about a certain project you have. The more you contribute in such forums, the easier it gets for you to finish your project. However, don’t worry if you fail to contribute. By default, it is hard for beginners to contribute, since they like taking the back seat and waiting for existing members.
16. Make adjustments
Sometimes you may make a decision without hard facts at hand. Such a decision will only work for a short time. Keep in mind that although it was a valid decision at first, things change and you need to adjust as well.
17. Code does not self-document
Feel free to leave comments giving explanations why you made certain choices. This will help future learners, since not everyone will know why you wrote your code in a particular manner. Do not leave comments that explain obvious coding behavior, you might become irrelevant.
If programming is new to you, take it with an open mind since it is such an exciting adventure. Whatever seems overwhelming at the start will soon be easy and familiar. Though you will get some low moments and experience frustrations, rest assured that is not unique to you! Be determined, build your skills, and you will soon be the best programmer.
Let us know in the comments below which tip you found most useful in this article.