Learning to code can be very difficult, at least that’s how it seems to the beginner.
Truth is that it is not that easy, but then again it is not that difficult. If it were easy, we’d have coders running around, and this prestigious field of endeavour would become well, less prestigious and less financially rewarding.
Coding is not impossible to learn, it’s not just for the geniuses, anybody, at least with a secondary school degree you can learn to code. There are even coding courses for 9-year-olds.
The deeper you get into coding the more you realize that it’s not impossibly difficult, but it can be very challenging, especially when you’re learning your first language.
However, by the time you’re done learning your first language, you’ll begin to understand languages and the more you learn, the easier the next language is going to be.
It might almost never become a walk in the park when learning a new language, but I can promise that it will become easier. In a way, all the languages you’ve learnt in the past seem to prepare you for the new ones you are about to learn.
This could be the reason why lots of wannabe coders are advised to learn HTML before any other language. Technically though, HTML is not a programming language, is it actually a markup language (Hypertext Markup Language – HTML). It’s a bit easier to learn and with it, you can come to understand the structure of code.
So who’s an expert coder?
If you ask ten different experienced programmers, they’ll probably all give you different answers.
In my opinion, if you’re an expert coder, it means that you can write good code.
As per writing code, anyone can do it, but when it comes to writing good code, it means you actually have a clear grasp of what you’re doing. This is not very easy. This should be the desire of every coder.
Good code is neat, structured, easy to read and free-flowing. Code that is easy to maintain by both the writer and another person. Code that’s easy to understand, follow and debug.
With bad code, once one variable is out, the whole code structure might collapse.
So how does one learn to write good code?
Believe in Yourself
I know you weren’t expecting this, but this I think is actually the first step for whoever wants to learn virtually anything.
Programming is not just for those who learn computer science or for geniuses; it is for everyone who’s willing to put in the time and effort.
One of the reasons people don’t get to do much with their life is their self-limiting beliefs.
However, if you believe you can do this, you’ll, in the end, be able to. There are many ways to learn how to code, both online coding courses, textbooks and offline coding camps.
You can try many of them before then deciding which would work for you. You could try Coursera, MIT OpenCourseware, EDX, Freecodecamp, Udemy, Alison.com and many more.
Learning How to Learn
This I think is one of the most important skills of the 21st century. Remember what Alvin Toffler said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”.
So, friends you see, you have to be able to learn at an astounding rate, and then also be able to recall and apply that which you’ve learnt.
So how do you learn how to learn? Well, I once took a course by Coursera and that was actually the title.
The faster you’re able to learn, the easier it becomes for you to master any skill. Another great resource which has helped me in learning how to learn is Cal Newport’s book, titled “Deep Work”.
Learn By Writing
There’s a place for reading books, blogs and watching videos before one learns how to code. But don’t waste so much time on this, the earlier you jump into writing code the faster and easier you can learn.
Whatever it is that you learn, don’t assume you’ve gotten the hang of it, until you try it.
Freecode camp is one online resource that takes the hands-on approach very seriously.
After learning a new concept on this platform, you are given an exercise to help drive in the new concept. If you don’t try out a concept you’ll never be sure you know it, even if you understand it very well.
You could even do projects, even before you’ve fully learnt a language. As you get stumped you’d look for a solution, and then you’d continue. That way you’d be able to learn real-world applications of your coding.
Play With Other People’s Code
This is another beautiful way to become an expert coder fast.
After you think that you have a thorough grasp of a particular language, look at other people’s project or code and see what you can do with it.
Try to understand the code structure, play around with it and see what happens. If you can improve on it that would be nice if you have comments or questions go ahead and ask.
GitHub is one of those places where you’d be able to download code files and play with them as you like. If you’re able to improve on the code, upload on a developer forum and see what people will say.
This is one very fast way to learn.
Join Developer Forums
Man is not an island, and coding doesn’t have to be done in isolation. With programming, everyone is building on the foundations and buildings raised by others, everyone is improving on some else’s idea.
When it comes to knowledge, developers are open-handed, they’ll share as much as they can. On dev forums, you meet learners like yourself, people who have had the same challenges you are having.
Basically, it’s a community of people who have the same interests and sometimes the same goals. You could even meet mentors and investors too.
Some great forums are Coderanch, programmers Heaven, Slack overflow and many more. If you need inspiration, you’d find them there, you need a challenge, you’d find them there or you could even just find friends there. The choice is yours.
Becoming an expert coder is not very easy, but it can be very rewarding. Here are some of the steps to take if you want.
It will be challenging, but still to it and in no time you’d become good and well sought after.