First Steps in Coding
A guest post by Michael of LiveCoding.tv, an online coding education program designed to support future professionals.
You have tried to learn programming from scratch. But every time you think you are making a substantial improvement, you find yourself back at the starting point. It is not your fault. Learning to code is a complicated path on which it is easy to get lost.
With unlimited resources to learn coding, it is easy to find yourself lost. But, you can utilize the initial struggle in many ways and transform it to grand success. When it comes to programming, there is no sure shot path. So, what does a beginner do?
A beginner can follow proven ways to learn programming for free. It doesn’t matter which aspect of programming you are interested in; the proven techniques will always help you improve your skill. So, without much delay, let’s get started.
How to learn programming: Discover 6 proven and free tools
1. Broadcast your learning process
With Internet and technology moving at a rapid pace, it is not surprising to see people broadcasting their product development on Livecoding. For example, Inkblotty is a junior software developer from Denver Colorado who is polishing and improving her skills by broadcasting her coding live.
As a beginner, you can also take advantage of the website and share your learning process with the whole world. Livecoding boasts a community from 194 countries worldwide. Furthermore, you can get feedback from experienced, professional engineers working at Google, Facebook, SAP, etc.
2. Practice, practice, and practice
Learning to program is not an easy task.The number one proven way to learn programming is to practice a lot. Programming requires patience, resilience, and a ton of practice to become good. Initially, you will find yourself struggling to do the simple problems. But with time, you will come to solve problems on your own. Eventually, you will be able to think of the solutions by yourself—without any help from Google—and this is where you will start transitioning into the intermediate level. This is where you can finally move to the next stage of programming.
3. Do tons of projects
When you start online, you will find small problems to solve. They will surface at that particular moment, but you need to shift your focus to projects. It doesn’t depend on which type of project you are working. It can be simple, complex, small, big—it will help you garner your skills.
Always try to find projects that interests you. For example, you can use a project discovery tool to find projects based on different technologies. Fiddling with the projects will help you build something that has real value. It is also vital to find a motive in your learning. Always look out for real-world problems that you can solve through your programming skills.
4. Get on the collaboration train
Developing a project is not a one-man job. it requires collaboration on multiple levels, including design, development, testing, and documentation. When you start to learn programming, you would probably handle one project yourself. But, with time, you need to find team members to help you manage the different aspects of the project.
Also, it is vital to get feedback from other beginners or peers who are more experienced than you. It doesn’t matter which stage of learning you currently are; you can always find people with whom to collaborate on your project, and even learn a thing, or two, from them. Inversely, you can teach them something new. Livecoding, a social hub for engineers, allows you do just that. You can watch other broadcasters, and also start your own broadcasting. It is also a good chance to meet other beginners who are learning in collaboration with others. For example, Kreskow from Poland, is building an iOS mobile apps with Santi from San Francisco, and Karmarr from Germany.
5. Open source contribution
Open source contribution adds tremendous value to your programming skills. To get started with open source, you need to get familiar with GIT, and then choose an open source project on which to work. Most of the open source projects come with a guide on how to get started. If you are not familiar with open source contributions and the approach to get started, read through this amazing Quora post to get an idea.
6. Competitive programming
Competitive programming is an excellent way to explore your love for programming. Competitive programming platforms such as HackerRank, HackerEarth, TopCoder, etc., lets you try out problems for free, and also gives you the opportunity to engage with world class programmers. With competitive programming, you can improve your algorithmic and problem-solving skills.
Anyone can become a master programmer with the help of the Internet. The resources are free for everyone, but it is up to the individual to take advantage of it. The six ways above will surely help you to master programming and become a professional software developer. If you think there are other ways to learn programming for free, then don’t forget to share it through the comments section below. We are listening!