Do you want to become a software developer and learn programming quicker?
Here is a useful list of tips that help you reach your goals faster. These tips can be applied whether you are a complete beginner or a seasoned coder.
- Know your goals.
- Ask for help when stuck.
- Utilize online communities.
- Be a problem solver, not a programmer.
- Join to a programming course or bootcamp.
- Build your own projects.
- Take enough breaks.
- Repeat what you see on tutorials.
- Get out of your comfort zone.
- Read others’ code.
- Follow best practices.
- Apply for a job early.
- Figure out your best working hours.
- Stay healthy.
In this article, we are going through these 14 steps in detail to turn you into a professional coder and software developer quicker.
Remember, programming/software development are skills that take a lot of time and practice. There are no shortcuts. However, there are lots of useful tips that can boost your progress significantly.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through one of my links, at no additional cost to you.
1. Know Your Goals
Learning how to write code is a time-consuming task. What makes it more difficult is that there are so many areas in programming that you can focus on, such as:
- Game development
- Mobile development
- Web development
- API development
- Data science
- Cloud computing
And the list goes on.
As you can see, the sheer amount of options for different types of software development is overwhelming. If you spent one working day a week on each area of interest, it would take forever to become an expert at any one of those.
However, once you have a clearly defined goal, you can solely focus on that without being distracted.
For example, if you want to become a professional game developer as quickly as possible, focus on game development only.
How Does Knowing Goals Make Me Learn Programming Faster?
Focusing on one thing at a time keeps you away from distractions and maximizes the learning speed and quality.
2. Ask for Help
No matter how experienced a developer you are, you are going to get stuck often. Even if you are someone who likes to solve all problems on your own, you should optimize your time by asking for help when being stuck.
- If you are a part of a programming course, ask help from the ones who run the course.
- If you are already working at a software development company, ask help from a more experienced teammate.
- If you have none of the above, ask an online community (more on that in the tip number 3).
When you are a new learner, it is impossible to avoid getting stuck from time to time. Even some very basic errors/bugs/problems can hinder your progress for hours.
This makes your learning process slow.
Instead of banging your head against the wall for hours, ask for someone to help you get past the problem and explain what went wrong. Make sure you understand the problem so you do not need to ask for help on the same problem again. This is part of the learning process.
When I started as a developer in a software company, I was told to ask for help if I get stuck for more than 2 minutes!
How Does Asking for Help Make Me Learn Programming Faster?
You can quickly overcome obstacles that slow down your progress.
3. Use Online Communities and Google
There are a lot of helpful online communities when it comes to programming and software development.
If you have ever Googled up something related to errors in your code, chances are you have already stumbled across StackOverflow. This is the best-known programming forum where millions of developers post questions and answers.
Think about probabilities. If you encounter an error in your code, what are the chances someone else has encountered the very same problem?
Almost 100%, especially as a beginner.
So chances are someone else has also asked for help in an online community in the same situation where you got stuck. And more importantly, they have received an answer to their question that is now visible for everyone on the internet.
Due to the high reputation of StackOverflow forums, Google tends to show the questions and answers high in the search results.
How Do Online Forums and Communities Help Learn Programming Faster?
You can quickly find answers to your questions that help you overcome obstacles.
Most of the time you do not even need to ask a question because someone else has already done it.
4. Be a Problem Solver, Not a Programmer
Programming is a useful skill, but only knowing how to write code does not get you far.
You need to know how to solve problems with code.
A successful business focuses on solving customers’ problems.
Working for a software company means you write code that solves problems for the customers. This means before writing a single line of code, you should understand what you are building and how it makes life easier for your customers.
As a matter of fact, no company hires only programmers. Instead, they are looking for software developers that know how to solve customers’ problems. Coding is just one part of that process.
How Does Being a Problem Solver Help Learn Programming Faster?
When you focus on solving problems that matter, you are able to avoid writing irrelevant code that does not serve a useful purpose. Applying this mindset makes you a software developer quicker.
5. Join a Programming Course or Bootcamp
Joining a programming course or bootcamp can be beneficial. These courses are taught by experts in the field that know how to set the pace for you.
If you want to become a self-taught programmer and software developer, chances are you are not setting the right pace.
I recommend you check Udemy’s website. They have a ton of high-quality software development/programming courses and you can get started for free!
When I started, I used to code 5-10 hours a week for fun. This pace got me nowhere. When I first enrolled in a programming course, I was pushed to work 5 x harder and way more efficiently.
How Do Courses or Bootcamps Make Me Learn Programming Faster?
Programming courses set the pace to optimize your growth as a programmer and a software developer.
The software development bootcamps and courses make you push hard outside your natural comfort zone. This can turn you into a job-ready software developer in no time. Also, when you are a part of a course, professional-level help is available all the time.
6. Build Own Projects and Solve Your Own Problems
Start working on your own software projects as soon as possible.
The most efficient way to learn to code is by solving a problem of your own. This gives you a completely new aspect of software development.
On the programming courses/tutorials, you deal with somewhat generic problems and you get to see the fully worked-out solutions.
When you start your own project, you are all on your own. Of course, the online communities still help with errors and bugs, but if you are trying to solve a really specific problem, it is up to you how you get it done.
A cool byproduct with your own projects is you get to showcase them to your recruiters.
The recruiters want to see you are passionate about solving problems with code. There is no better way to express this passion than showing a bunch of your own projects.
And this does not mean you need to write thousands of lines of complex algorithms. You can start with something really simple.
My first programming project was to figure out all the words in the grid of the word hunt game by connecting the tiles. My problem was I was really bad at the game but wanted to appear on the high scores list.
How Do Own Projects Help Me Learn Programming Faster?
Programming your own projects forces you to think outside the box. Solving a problem that matters to you makes you productive and creative at the same time. This in turn helps you become a proficient software developer quicker.
7. Take Breaks Often
Taking a break refreshes your brain.
This aspect usually gets overlooked by software developers. One can easily write code 6 hours straight without ever standing up from their chair.
This is not beneficial, nor is it healthy.
Anyway, not taking breaks decreases your productivity and slows you down even though you might not notice it. Thus you get fewer things done.
Researches show that the 52/17 split is the best for productivity, creativity, and motivation. In short, this means working 52 minutes then taking a 17-minute break.
To learn programming faster, you need to give time for your brain to reset often.
How Does Taking More Breaks Help Me Learn Programming Faster?
Taking multiple breaks throughout your day increases motivation, productivity, and creativity. This helps you learn coding quicker even if it sounds counterintuitive.
8. Always Repeat What You See in a Tutorial
This one is super important.
As a beginner, you might purchase a book or watch an online tutorial and think that is enough to make you learn programming. The truth is there is no way for you to learn coding without actually writing code.
If you follow a tutorial or read a book, make sure to write, understand, and experiment with every line of code you see.
How Does Writing Code Seen in Tutorials Help Me Learn Programming Faster?
The only way to learn programming at all is by writing code.
9. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
To become good at something, you need to spend time outside your comfort zone.
It can be tempting to watch perhaps a 30-minute coding tutorial and spend 30 minutes writing code every day. While this is a great starting point, you need to work way harder than that if you want to become a competent developer quickly.
And remember, it is not just about time. Even if you spend 8 hours a day solving easy problems, you are not going to progress fast. You should constantly work on problems that seem impossible or really hard.
To become a programmer quickly, you need to be patient and work hard every day.
How Does Going Outside of Comfort Zone Help Learn Programming Faster?
Pushing yourself to the limit forces you to progress faster.
10. Read Others’ Code
Reading other developers’ code is inevitable.
When you are working on a software development team, you are going to read your teammates’ code a lot.
- When there is a bug, you need to read and understand other developers’ code to potentially resolve the issue.
- When someone wants to make a change to the codebase, someone has to review the changes. If it is you, it is important you read and understand the code.
Most importantly, reading others’ code is good because you learn different approaches to solving problems. It is a great learning opportunity.
Keep in mind there is never a 100% correct solution to a problem. Instead, there are countless solutions, some of which are better and some of which are worse.
Do not bash yourself if your solution looks different than someone else’s. Instead, try to learn what can you take home from their approach and whether your approach is actually worse than theirs.
Here are 3 ways to solve a simple problem in Python. You do not have to understand the code as it merely shows there can be many solutions to the same simple problem.
# How would you count the numbers in this list in as few lines of code as possible? numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] # 1. Charlie sums the numbers up using a for loop: total = 0 for number in numbers: total += number # 2. Bob sums the numbers up using the reduce function: from functools import reduce total = reduce(lambda x, y: x + y, numbers) # 3. Alice sums up the numbers with the sum function: total = sum(numbers)
You can find other developers’ code on GitHub. It is a cloud-based version control system for software projects. There you can view others’ projects and later even write your code for them.
This also gives you a nice introduction to Git, which is a version control system that every developer has to learn at some point.
How Does Reading Others’ Code Help Me Learn Programming Faster?
You see a different side to solving a problem. This is a great learning opportunity that can lead to aha moments that lead you to do things better next time.
11. Follow the Best Practices
To become an efficient developer, you need to adhere to best practices.
When it comes to programming, the best practices are guidelines to make the code as high quality as possible. This makes your code easier to read, understand, and feasible to manage overall.
In Python programming language, there is even a poem for the best practices called The Zen of Python:
How Does Knowing the Best Practices Make Me Learn Programming Faster?
The code that follows best practices is easy to manage. When you develop your own projects, following the best practices saves you a lot of time in the future. This means you have more time to evolve as a developer.
12. Find Suitable Working Hours
Are you an early bird? Do you like to stay up all night writing code?
Each individual has their own working hours when they are most productive. Someone likes to wake up at 6:00 AM and call it a day at 2:00 PM, while someone else may just be getting started at that time.
Nevertheless, experiment with yourself to figure out the time of the day you feel the most productive. Working at the non-productive hours of the day can hurt your learning process as a programmer.
Most software companies give their employees the freedom to pick working hours suitable for them. This is not a coincidence. When a developer chooses the most productive working hours, the performance is maximized.
How Do Right Working Hours Help Me Learn Programming Faster?
You learn fastest when you feel the most energetic, motivated, and productive.
13. Apply for a Job Early
Programming is a skill that always requires practice. Do not hesitate to apply for a job when you are still learning. As a matter of fact, you will never stop learning no matter how experienced a software developer you are.
When you have a couple of months of intense programming training under the belt, you should apply for a job or an internship. You are “job-ready” faster than you think or feel like.
Getting the first job is the most valuable learning experience. Developing software for a company is a completely different thing than learning to code on a programming course.
How Does Applying for a Job Help Me Learn Programming Faster?
When you work in a software company, you are forced to learn more programming and software development rapidly to level up with the others.
14. Stay Healthy
Needless to mention, for your brain to function properly and to keep learning quickly you need to stay healthy.
- Take breaks
- Eat healthy
- Drink fluids
- Sleep enough
- Take care of the ergonomy
This is not a health blog so we are going to keep it short. But it is really important to keep your body at its full potential to maximize productivity and motivation.
How Does Staying Healthy Help Learn Programming Faster?
Keeping yourself healthy increases motivation, productivity, and creativity. This makes learning programming fun and efficient.
Bonus Tip: Optimize Your Computer
Working on a poorly performing computer is not ideal, to say the least.
Various issues, such as a poor battery on mac or different laptop model, dust inside, malware, drive clutter, etc. cause issues to your computer.
Coding requires a smooth experience, and you do not want to get disrupted or have your progress slowed down because your computer is not cooperating with you.
How Does Computer Optimization Help Me Code?
When you code on a computer that operates quickly, you get less frustrated and less stressed. Thus you can focus on tasks that really matter.
There you have it. A comprehensive list of general tips for learning programming and software development quicker.
I hope you find it useful! Thanks for reading.