5 Top Tips to Learn Programming Fast

Our advice for any aspiring developer intent on learning how to code.

Written by Nology Team - 17.01.20

At _nology, we know the hardest part of learning to code is knowing where to begin. From our experience coaching student's in their coding journey, we've distilled our knowledge into 5 top tips to help you pick up the skills you need quickly.

1.Get the basics nailed. You’ll reap the rewards long term.

Programming is essentially learning to use the language of software development correctly, to build working code. As with any language, the basics such as tenses and sentence structure must be understood to become proficient in that language. In software development, the basics include the building blocks such as data types, syntax and variables. Choose a programming language – we recommend learning to code with JavaScript – and spending plenty of time on the fundamentals of coding will inevitably create strong foundations of knowledge upon which to build your career in technology.

2. Practice Practice Practice. The more practical application you tackle, the quicker you’ll understand concepts

Reading about concepts and grasping the theoretical knowledge will not make you a great coder. It’s like reading a book about carpentry, and never picking up a piece of wood and some tools to actually make anything. The best way to learn programming fast is to break down your learning into small chunks and follow this cycle. Learn a concept, write the code, and apply it. Write the sample code over and over again until you know it without reference. Change it, see what results you get. Once you’ve applied that concept successfully several times, move onto a new one.
There are numerous resources online to help you grow your confidence, such as coding challenges and games, or ideas to start building your own project. Applying your coding knowledge will help you master it much quicker. Plus, projects offer demonstrable experience when it comes to securing your first job as a Junior Developer.

3. Don’t be discouraged. Learning to code isn’t the hard bit, it’s adopting the right attitude.

When you learn to code, you will be introduced to many new concepts and programming languages which upon first encounter, won’t make any sense to you. Being open-minded, patient and willing to experiment without fear of going wrong is the best way to approach programming. Equally, getting stuck into a seemingly inescapable hole is all part of the journey to becoming a great software developer. Don’t be shy of making mistakes. Don’t quit when you don’t understand something, watch a youtube tutorial or find other materials to help you grasp the concept you’re trying to learn 
By getting to grips with new concepts, and putting them into practice both unsuccessfully and successfully will give you the confidence and resourceful attitude you’ll need to become a good coder.

4. Code by hand. Your career might depend on it

Being able to handwrite code sounds ridiculous considering you can’t run handwritten code or check it for bugs, but the simple fact is, many interviews will require your to demonstrate your technical proficiency through writing code by hand. While it may seem old school, code by hand also helps you gain a deeper understanding and will aid your learning long term if done regularly.

5. Get a mentor

Software development takes determination and dedication, especially if you’re learning on your own. Finding a mentor, coach or community of people will make your coding journey more productive, more efficient and ultimately more enjoyable too.
Mentor’s will help guide you out of tricky concepts, and support you when you get stuck. Which you will: many, many times. This is all part of becoming a great programmer. Similarly, if you’re in a class, take every opportunity to talk through your code with fellow students, especially if you’ve coded yourself into confusion. Talking through your reasoning will often reveal when you took a wrong turn much quicker. If you’re on your own, places like Reddit and Github have accumulated a vast community of learners and now experienced coders. Find the courage to put your code out there and seek help from others, and you will make real progress. 

These five tips summarise the best way to learn to code quickly and efficiently. Not sure which path to take to secure a career in technology? Learn more about our 12-week Software Developer course, or read more about your options in our comparison between Online Learning vs Coding Course.

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