If you could travel back to when you started learning programming... what advice would you give yourself?

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Time travel is not possible, yet, but it's always a fun thought exercise to think about these types of situations.

What nugget of wisdom have you gained over the years that you'd give your younger self? Share it with the community, that way others who're just starting out can benefit as well!

I'll start: if I could, I'd tell myself to never give up game development, and as an added bonus, to start questioning the status quo way earlier. What about you?

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markdown guide

Learn JavaScript
Attend user groups
Start blogging
Go speak at user groups
Get the big picture of everything
Learn a framework
Learn the programming language on the fly while developing an app
Treat your software dev career as a business
Find a mentor
Learn to market yourself

Summary of everything is on this book (The Complete Software Developer's Career Guide of John Sonmez)


Not one advice, but a few ones.

  • Stick to one language (initially). When I started, I started with C++ and C# as a self-taught programmer. When I studied I had to learn JS and PHP. I found out what Unity was so I took C# again. Then Java. And I tried Angular, Ionic, Node.js, Python...

I could code in half those languages? No.

I dabbled here and there because I was scared when I saw job requirements for Junior developers, asking us to almost be Full-stack.

Instead, now I would tell me to learn one language very well. To solve almost anything with that language. Then start learning other languages/frameworks

  • Having a passion project. You learn a lot by tutorials following along!

But nothing beats having a passion project about something you care. Maybe you want to create a social network for dog owners in your country, maybe a martial arts website, or a mobile app doing something with Google Maps.

Have a passion project on your own.

And of course, to avoid "Tutorial Hell".

This was very short but I asked myself this and wrote a more detailed version with more examples, in 5 things I wish I knew when I started programming


Very detailed! Thanks for sharing, I can definitely relate to some of those!


Plan before execute.
When designing and coding my game. I didn't have a clear plan of the game.

After developing my game for about 2 months, I've changed the rules of the game => lots of coding stuff to do.

If I planned it in the first beginning, I wouldn't have wasted so much time.

Also be careful for too much plan. You need to start, don't wait for the plan to be perfect, because it won't


To create muscle memory of writing comments in code.


Actually this is level 1. Level 2 is to write the code in a way that most comments are un-needed. There are specific techniques for that. See the book "clean code".


Level 3. Get the gun license to kill the junior college. Who messed with your code. Pray that he didn't remove your comments. :)


I've been postponing my learning for years. I'm 23yo and I'm always thinking I'll regret not doing it since now.. still haven't found the "time" to do it


There is no time like the present! Although one of the biggest cliches in history, a very accurate phrase as well. You literally have the compendium of human knowledge at your fingertips, what do you want to learn?


All the basics for web dev for now.. like html, css and javascript. I have some basic knowledge but not enough to make a website myself. I'm also super interested in python

Classic DEV Post from Jul 5

What's one thing you wish you knew before you started programming?

Fernando Doglio profile image
Technical blogger, book author and maker of software things. In other words, I love writing specially about software.

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