Whenever we do something new we are likely to make mistakes. This article is inspired by mistakes that I made when I started coding and my aim is to help code newbies avoid making the same mistakes. I wish I was aware of most of the things in this article before I began my journey but well like David Mitchell said, “Travel far enough, you meet yourself”, this has helped me to share my story with you.
I started writing code when I started my degree and I had no other motives except passing my introduction to programming course. After writing several programs I realized how cool coding is and that is when I started messing things up. The notable mistakes that I made are:
- Trying to learn everything
- Not building my career
- Not utilizing the internet
- Lack of practice
- Not setting goals
- Not sharing my knowledge
Once you are fluent in one programming language or framework it becomes easy to learn a new one when you need to use it. Instead of trying to learn everything, you should use your skills to build something or solve a problem. The whole idea of programming is to develop software and solve problems not learning the basics of every programming language like what I tried to do. It is advisable to specialize in a few programming languages but make sure you can build a good project using every programming language or framework that you know.
When you are a code newbie research on techs that are being used by tech companies around you. Check the programming languages, frameworks, and tools that they use. Research on their recruitment techniques, what skills do they require? This is a mistake that I made, I remember learning Ruby and no tech companies in my area use Ruby. When you are building your career as a developer make use of source control. Do not back up your projects on google drive, I'm not saying it's bad but recruiters mostly check your knowledge in using source control tools like GitHub or BitBucket. You need to think like a developer and make use of good programming concepts from the beginning.
I remember using alphabetical letters as variables, not commenting on my code as well as not documenting my code. These things cannot only help you build your career but can also help you understand your code better. Software development is all about teamwork, you need to follow all the programming concepts like writing meaningful comments, documenting, and using meaningful variables the day you start programming so that when you are at work both you and your team can understand your code.
To me, the internet was a place to have fun watching funny youtube videos or posting nonsense on twitter. The biggest skill that you should have as a software developer is how to get valuable information from the internet (know how to GOOGLE). Before you ask people first search for information online. Be aware of platforms that can help you when you are stuck such as StackOverflow(this article can help you with that). Make use of social media to meet other developers like you. Don't hesitate to ask other people or search for an answer when you are stuck and make use of YouTube to watch programming tutorials.
I am a person who likes to learn from videos. One mistake that I made when I started learning to code was watching video tutorials without practicing. Avoid this by any means, make sure every time you are watching a video your IDE or text editor is open applying everything the video is teaching you. Programming is hard. When you are in your early days of coding you need to make programming your life by writing at least one program a day or learning a new programming concept a day.
You need to set your goals. Plan what you want to learn or achieve and work according to your plan. If your plan is to learn React, plan how you are going to learn it. Set your timelines and make sure you stick to your deadlines. This will help you to stay focused as well as avoiding learning everything like what I tried to do.
This is one of the mistakes that I made and you should avoid it. It is believed that we learn better when we are explaining the little knowledge we have to others. Writing this article is actually a way of correcting my mistake. As a newbie, you need to find other newbies or other people in your field who you can share your knowledge with. These people will help you find new fields that you need to explore as well as correcting you from making mistakes.