5 Tips to Help Your Coding Journey as a Beginner

Tega Oke


Firstly, it's important to acknowledge that software engineering is challenging (it's hard). However, like any other career path, your ability to solve problems is limited by knowledge.

In this article, we will discuss five valuable tips that can help make understanding any programming language you’re currently learning easier.

Learn for a Purpose

“To forget one’s purpose is the commonest form of stupidity”. — Friedrich Nietzsche

Learning programming requires an investment of time, dedication, and motivation. Without a purpose, it can be challenging to attain proficiency in coding. Many people start their coding journeys without any sense of direction. They often just watch tutorials and complete online courses without a specific objective.

A clear goal motivates you to continue learning and enhance your skills. It also enables you to apply your skills in real-world contexts rather than acquiring isolated knowledge of different concepts — a “jack of all trades, master of none” kind of vibe.

Finding a purpose for learning to code is crucial. It could be about the growth of a company or creating something groundbreaking that you’ve had in mind but never had the skill. Personally, I am driven by the desire to solve problems and develop solutions that enhance people’s lives daily. Seeing others benefit from the solutions I create and how they solve their problems is incredibly motivating.

Understand the Basics

It is crucial to grasp the concepts of any programming language you’re studying. This will allow you to develop a comprehension of programming principles and ideas, ultimately empowering you to solve complex problems down the road.

An understanding of the fundamentals also facilitates the transition to other programming languages. Foundational principles such as variables, data types, control flow (conditionals and loops), functions, and more are universally applicable in all programming languages. Despite the syntax differences among programming languages, these fundamental concepts remain unchanged.

Build Projects

Building projects while learning often involves overcoming challenges and solving problems. This would allow you to apply all the theoretical knowledge you have gained from tutorials and courses to real-world situations, making concepts more tangible and reinforcing your learning.

Moreover, when you complete these projects, you can add them to your portfolio. This portfolio can serve as a showcase of your skills to potential employers or clients.

Furthermore, as you work on projects, consider seeking feedback from your peers. Constructive feedback can help you identify areas to improve and refine your skills..

It's OK to Feel You Are Not Good Enough

Imposter syndrome is believing you are incompetent regardless of the amount of knowledge you have acquired. This feeling is not limited to beginners; even senior software engineers experience this from time to time. However, it’s important to not dwell on this feeling but instead focus on your growth and learning journey.

Here are some steps you can take to overcome this:

  • Acknowledge the feeling: You must acknowledge and recognize that many professionals have faced this at some point.
  • Open up: Share your feelings with trusted colleagues, friends, or mentors. Trusted individuals can provide the emotional support and encouragement you need to navigate through this feeling
  • Seek feedback: Constructive feedback can help you identify areas of improvement and also validate your learning
  • Accept you can’t know it all: Accept that no one, regardless of their experience, knows everything in software engineering. That’s why we have platforms like Stackoverflow to seek help and share knowledge
  • Practice self-empathy: Understand that you are on a journey and be kind to yourself. Treat yourself with the same compassion and understanding you would offer a colleague.

Get Mentorship

A mentor can significantly simplify your learning process. They can guide you on what to learn, how to structure your learning journey, and which resources to utilize. The abundance of learning resources can sometimes feel overwhelming, but mentors can help alleviate this by giving a clear direction.

Consider your academic journey. Imagine navigating university without the guidance of lecturers and structured curricula to help you break down complex concepts. It would have been an even more daunting task than it was. Having a mentor is akin to having an experienced guide who helps you navigate the complexity of your learning.

Your mentor could be someone you know or can connect with on social media platforms like Twitter (now X) or LinkedIn. If you come across someone you admire and would like to be your mentor, don’t hesitate to reach out; you can’t say, the person might also be looking for a mentee.

Wrapping Up

Learning how to code can be challenging, especially for those without computer science or related degrees. Therefore, it is essential to take your time and remember to take breaks when you feel overwhelmed. Don’t hesitate to ask for help when you encounter challenges (there is no such thing as a “stupid” question), and savour the joy of your progress after all the hard work and sacrifices you’ve made. Wishing you the best of luck on your coding journey!

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