It’s a fact of life that once you’ve been working at something for a while, you realize it could have been much easier if only you’d had some secret insights when you started.
Nowhere is this more true in a coding career. The world of programming and code is so varied and fascinating, and there are so many beliefs, misunderstandings, and fears that surround the coding profession.
At Ubiqum, we want to decode the world of code and put some of questions you might have into perspective. So read on to see our top five things coders would have liked to know before starting out.
Your first programming language is not all that important
When choosing a first programming language, it can feel like your entire career will depend on it, like some kind of blue pill that will shut off all other languages and opportunities to you. You may also find scary articles saying a language is DEAD and no professional coder would ever consider using it.
But as with most things, the value of coding languages isn’t that black and white.
Each language has its own purpose, so while Java isn’t the best for data analysis, R is pretty low down on the list for web development.
The key thing to remember is that you’re just beginning, so don’t be too hard on yourself. When you’re just starting to learn code, choose something user friendly with a great community, and one that allows you to create things as soon as possible.
Learning by doing is usually the best way to learn
There’s a lot to learn to have a long and healthy coding career, and it can seem pretty daunting when you begin. But don’t worry, you don’t need to learn it all at once.
Of course, when starting to learn code, tutorials are great educational content to get started.
However, beware the so called tutorial purgatory, which is a state where tutorials and learning material are so good, so varied, and so available; that you could end up spending every day completing tutorials.
Completing tutorials is important, at least when they’re good. But make sure that you are not only following tutorials, and that you’re putting what you learn into practice. Even making clones will help, as long as you’re creating something.
Also, when learning through tutorials, do not copy and paste code. Write it down yourself, and even rename some of the variables so that they are meaningful for you. Add comments when needed, change things here and there, break the code, and make sure you understand what it does. You’ll learn so much more.
Completing projects and having a coding career portfolio get jobs
This goes hand-in-hand with learning by doing. Completing projects, which will eventually go into your coding portfolio, is something that really gets you jobs because it is interactive proof of your skills.
However, you should be careful not to confuse completing programming projects with undertaking something too complex for your current level of experience with programming. Pick something, even a clone, because you’ll probably end up adding your own style, and do it.
Don’t worry if your projects seem too basic. Everybody needs to start with the basics, and as you complete one task, projects will increase in complexity, and you’ll learn to better deal with them too.
Algorithms and data structures are important, of course. However, don’t rush to learn them all for the tech interview. Make sure to be able to use the technologies, and these concepts will be easier to learn.
Asking for help, googling, and using Stack Overflow are fundamental
There’s a big untold secret among programmers: they’re not always fluent in their languages.
For some people this might be surprising, especially because of the stereotype of the lonely genius programmer. However, programmers fill in their knowledge gaps with the internet, search engines, and of course, Stack Overflow.
One thing is getting help, and other is actually understanding the code. Getting help is an unavoidable part of everybody’s career, and there’s nothing wrong with it. However, understanding the code is often overlooked, but it’s hugely important. It doesn’t mean you have to perfectly understand every line of code you find on the internet, but do strive to understand at least the basics of why the code was written the way it was, and why it works.
With a coding career you will always be learning something
Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you can kiss free time goodbye. It simply means there are an endless list of extra tools you can add to your toolbox. As the sector is constantly growing and evolving, your learning will never stop.
You won’t often be graded on this learning though, and there won’t be much pressure. However, to keep ahead of the curve and accelerate your career, we’d recommend keeping an eye open for new territories to explore.
This ever-learning nature might be very surprising for many of those who are working to become developers. However, it can be done little by little, and not having to sacrifice your free time at all. Determine how important it is to learn something, and get started.
Are you ready to get started?
If you’re ready to move into a coding career, these five point will help you get ahead of the game. In reality, anybody can learn to code, as long as they have motivation and patience. Soon you’ll find yourself in the swing of things and enjoying your programming superpower.
If you want more info on how to start your career, get in touch with our team below!