First steps are never easy, and the beginnings in IT can sometimes be really demotivating. Finding reliable advice is oftentimes nearly impossible. That is why we have prepared 8 experience-based tips that will help you to deal with issues at the beginning of your long but exciting and rewarding journey to become a developer.
1. Don't get discouraged by the amount of the material
The amount of the learning material at the beginning can be really overwhelming and it's great if you want to absorb as much as possible, but we'll be honest with you - you'll never master all of it, no matter how hard you try. This is unfeasible for two reasons. First, your brain is able to absorb only a certain amount of information, and second, IT is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Technologies are changing all the time, some are replacing others... An experienced programmer is aware of this and has a strategic approach towards learning - not only do they learn specific technologies, but also how to develop their knowledge of them in order to get to know them as quickly and accurately as possible.
2. Accept failure and keep trying
When you learned to swim, ride a bike or write, did you give up when you were not succeeding? Neither did we! Otherwise we wouldn't have had triathlonists in our team and you wouldn't be reading this post now. The same goes for learning to program. You have to make a (large) number of mistakes to learn from them. Eventually this number will start to decrease, and eventually your code will be completely clean. And believe us... It is worth living for such moments. 😉
3. Learn to ask for help
Accept that you don't know many things yet. Those who now have many years of experience had to face it at the beginning as well! Then think about how many people there are at the same stage of the journey. All you have to do is look through forums and other programming oriented internet environments and see what things people are asking about. And finally: open yourself up to asking others things you don't know yet. Being a fledgling programmer is a privilege and it's better to ask at the beginning of your career than when you are already a few years in this industry.
4. Learn one language at a time
5. It's normal to look for an error for several hours
When you already manage to write your first program, prepare yourself for the fact that something won't work in it. We have already said that this is a standard in programmer's work, but we haven't yet said that searching for errors can be veeery time consuming, but this is important part of your job to find and eliminate them. Be patient and perceptive. And remember that a semicolon is the hide-and-seek champion!
6. Avoid spaghetti code at all costs
Try to write legibly at all times and, if possible, in English, choose variable names wisely, but above all, write the shortest possible code. Do not forget that not only you, but also other programmers will have an insight into it and believe us that deciphering unnecessarily convoluted code is a drudgery for them. And it will be similar with you when you look at it again after a month of break. Therefore, for your own and others' comfort, always try to serve lasagna or ravioli! 😊
7. Try to use Git from the very beginning
Git is a version-control system. It will allow you to track changes in the source code and save its versions. Thanks to Git your code won't get lost and you will be able to monitor the change history and see who modified it. You will also be able to withdraw changes if you feel that the new version doesn't suit you. Git can really save the day if anything goes wrong at some point.
8. Finish the courses you already started
... and then look for new ones. Of course, we understand that the offer of learning resources is huge and each tool is attractive in its own way, but just like with learning programming languages - one thing at a time. First try to finish what you have already started, because otherwise you will not get to the more advanced parts of the course, where things start to get interesting. If you "bounce" between learning materials, you may not get to the end of any of them, which will simply be a waste of your time and money.