5 Proven Coding Tips For Beginners

5 Proven Coding Tips For Beginners

I transitioned from relying on WordPress theme authors for minor code modifications to being able to create custom WordPress themes from scratch and code the entire WordPress frontend using different technologies such as React and Next.js. If you are new to coding, I would like to share some proven tips that can help you succeed in your coding journey.

Below are 5 coding tips that have worked for many beginners including myself:

1. You can do it

Venturing into the world of coding can send a host of electric shocks to your nerves, bringing up frequent feelings of self-doubt, confusion, or even intimidation. Why wouldn't it? Especially when you're making your first appeal to the locked doors of an alien language, priding itself on various mysterious names like Java, Python, PHP, HTML, and C++. Hey, but wait! Do remember, everybody grapples with these beginner's jitters, and with some guts, grit, and gumption, learning a programming language is certainly attainable.

Our mind often sets up envisioning a boundary the moment we encounter something novel or seemingly complex - such as coding. The delightfully challenging books, intriguing video tutorials web-crawling with alien phrases, and an array of syntaxes twirling around cryptic conundrums, take no time to jump into overwhelming us. These initial stages often see us brimming with questions – 'Is coding meant for me?', or 'Did I “byte” off more than I can chew?'. It's a maze of doubts that we have all endured.

Despite the struggles and confounding doubts you encounter in your apprenticeship with programming language, is there an underlying tingling of heart-racing excitement? If so, you are on the right track! When you face the rising tide of confusion, remember one thing - patience.

When you seem to be entangled in the complex webs of syntax and logic, patience is your cloud silver lining. Every great coder started from scratch, battled the overload of information just like you're confronting right now. It is patience under repeated stumbles and countless lines of backspaced code, that saw them through.

As you step further away from the starting edge, into a span of roughly six weeks, you'll notice a shift. Your fingers would dance more confidently on the keyboard, there'd be less pausing and mulling. And voila! You realize that you're not merely deciphering the alien language of codes, but you're conversing with it and playing with it.

2. Find suitable learning resources for coding

There are numerous resources available to learn coding, including PDFs, books, e-books, and video tutorials. Select the learning materials that resonate with your learning style or combine different types of resources. If you prefer video tutorials, platforms like Udemy.com offer a wide variety of high-quality video tutorials created by experts in their fields.

3. Practise as you Learn

When you start to learn coding, it parallels learning how to swim in many ways. Imagine watching someone beautifully execute a flawless breaststroke, perhaps in a tutorial, training video, or maybe during the Olympics. Without any prior swimming experience, you might find it really easy and feel the urge to dive right in and mimic what you've just seen. However, unsurprisingly, when you try it for yourself, it hits you how tough it is and how much understanding, practice, and coordinated effort it requires. This deceptive ease-of-learning is an inherent characteristic that applies to learning how to code as well.

Unfortunately, just sitting on a chair, sipping a coffee and just watching coding tutorials will not make you a proficient coder. The videos and text might make it appear relatively simple from a distance, but coding is about thinking, originality, reasoning and synthesizing complex thought processes. Not getting actively involved in coding, not getting your hands dirty so to say, leaves gaps in your knowledge and understanding.

Interestingly, most coding tutors understanding this learning curve, often provide their students with independent coding challenges integrated into their tutorials. They essentially drive you to test the waters, roll your sleeves up, and apply what you’ve learned. Those coding challenges set before you are absolutely essential puzzles for you to solve. They aren't walls set up to deter you from progressing, but rather stepping stones.

Please note, as a coding novice, a beginner in this vast digital landscape, it's not strictly mandatory that you crack every problem. The focus of your effort here lies not in perfection, but in an active engagement with the process. There's a plethora or valuable insight to gain just from active problem-solving attempts and repeated failure.

Ultimately, you learn not only through triumph, but also through the mistakes you make. Your innovations and attempts to conquer coding challenges will significantly drive your learning experience forward, making you a better coder step by step.

4. Focus on one coding topic at a time

Learning a new programming language or any new skill can be an overwhelming experience because of the availability of an avalanche of available learning resources. You may often be tempted to jump from one tutorial to the next. The allure can be especially strong when you come across a new intriguing concept or slightly advanced topic.

For instance, let's say you're learning how to code a to-do app with Python. Then, somewhere along the way you stumble on a new exciting tutorial about constructing a store app. The temptation might be high to immediately switch to this fresh, new challenge, but it's crucial to stay focused.

Switching from tutorial to tutorial can negatively impact your learning process. It could lead to an unfocused learning approach and make it hard to grasp the underlying concepts in a comprehensive manner. This way, you could end up learning various disparate aspects without having a strong foundational understanding of any one subject.

Remember, true mastery isn't just about breadth but depth. It's crucial to commit to one coding topic at a time. Stick to the tutorial on creating a to-do app with Python, master its input, follow it until the end, and thoroughly explore all the relevant topics. Such an approach will lead to a strong grasp of concepts, a more fulfilling learning experience, and a greater retention rate.

When you spread your attention thin over multiple topics, it might even subject you to what is known as 'tutorial hell'. This refers to a situation where you're caught in an endless loop of tutorials with seemingly no improvement or development. It's a common predicament with many novices in the world of coding.

To conclude, dedication and concentration towards one topic is a proven approach for an effective learning process. Once you master one topic, you can then move on to the next one. It might be a slower process, but the solid foundation and skills you build in a topic will be worth it.

5. Undertake a personal app project and add features

Develop a personal project that you consistently work on. This will give you real hands-on experience, strengthen your coding skills and help you in understanding how to apply the knowledge practically.

By working on your own app project consistently, you will have valuable opportunities to practice coding and enhance your programming skills. As mentioned earlier, practice plays a crucial role in learning to code. Use your personal project as a sandbox to experiment and develop your skills further.

To sum up: Believe in yourself, prioritize practice, avoid distractions, and never give up. As you embark on this journey, remember that patience is key, practice makes perfect, and ultimately, your consistent effort will yield rewarding results. Best of luck on your endeavours.

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Geoffrey Nevine — IT Services and IT Consulting

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