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Discussion on: How do you practice programming?

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My first inclination is to just say "find a project, and code!". However, it seems several responses have covered that, or something similar. I'll offer an alternative bit of advice, read.

We'd all like to be amazing programmers by simply putting our heads down and hacking away at new projects. But programming effectively, at least to me, also requires a pretty large database of knowledge and know-how you might not get without seeking it out. On some days you might otherwise be slapping a fresh 200+ lines down on some project, sit down with a book or good blog about a topic. Topics may include: Data science, AI, software architecture, database design, the list goes on with a ton of interesting topics. Also, you mentioned algorithms books. I'd strongly recommend something like this. If you find the challenge books stressful, find some that simply cover the topic in a broad scope.

Don't be afraid to code during study, it can certainty help understand some concepts. But, don't let the code become the focus. Make the topic, and reaching a thorough understanding of it, be the focus.