Whether you’re currently pursuing a degree in computer science, a veteran using the GI Bill to choose their mext mission, an aspiring self-taught developer, or a coding boot camp student, mastering the craft of programming is a perpetual struggle. To assist in your learning – courtesy of the Coding Dojo instructors – here are seven tips on how to learn programming faster.
1. Learn by doing. Always play with the code while learning
With every new subject, the sooner you start playing with the code, the faster you will learn the given concepts. Even if you blaze through an entire chapter of reading and a topic like for loops seems straightforward – so
Hint: Build a project as you go through the material. A personal project is often the best starting point.
2. Grasp the fundamentals for long-term benefits
As elementary as they may appear at first, programming fundamentals always need to come first: the better you understand them, the easier it is to learn more advanced concepts. From our experience at Coding Dojo, students who rush through the beginning of our courses – where we focus most on web development fundamentals – are often the first to get stuck as we transition into more advanced material, such as back-end programming. So before you ditch the first class of computer science 101, or skip chapter one of an online tutorial, keep in mind that you are overlooking the most important step in your learning.
Hint: Read this great article about the 5 Basic Concepts of Any Programming Language
3. Code by hand. It sharpens proficiency and you’ll need it to get a job
Computer monitors become thinner, hard drives lighter, and programming languages more powerful, but coding-by-hand still remains one of the most effective methods to learn how to program. Be it on a whiteboard or notebook, coding-by-hand requires further caution, precision, and intent behind every line of code. Because unlike on a computer, you can’t run hand-written code midway through the sheet to check if the work is correct. Although more time consuming, this restriction will mold you into a more fundamentally sound developer, both in the classroom and the job market. For college exams and technical interviews – a critical component of the job interview process – you will have to code-by-hand, because not only is this good for learning, but it’s universally known to be the ultimate test for a programmer’s proficiency. So start early and get used to this old-school practice.
4. Ask for help. You’ll need it
As awesome as it would be to become the next Steve Jobs on your own, the reality is that people learn faster with mentors and peer feedback. What may seem like an immovable bug or an
Word of Warning: At Coding Dojo we suggest using the 20 minute rule. Take at least 20 minutes to figure something out on your own before asking for help. There’s a good chance that the answer is already in front of you, and besides, struggling makes you a better programmer overall.
5. Seek out more online resources. There’s a wealth of content
If a particular concept doesn’t make sense, be it on
Hint: Don’t underestimate the power of
6. Don’t just read the sample code. Tinker with it!
Reading sample code is not enough to understand how it works. To develop a true understanding, you need to actually run the code and tinker with it. With the additions of comments and instructions, sample code is packaged to be easily
7. Take breaks when debugging
When debugging, it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole for hours, and there’s no guarantee that you will fix the problem. To avoid this, it’s best to step away from the
Conclusion: Keep Calm and Keep On Coding
Despite these 7 tips, the most important ingredient to learn programming faster is to remain confident. To do so, you should expect to fail repeatedly and be patient with your progress; because becoming an expert at anything requires hard work and time. And if a single doubt ever clouds your mind, remember that every programmer