Computer coding isn’t rocket science, but it definitely takes time master. No one has ever learned how to get better at coding overnight. Considering all the different kinds of code languages and software to do it with, it’s just not possible!
You need plenty of hands-on experience and some patience to get a good grip on coding. However, there are a few tips you can utilize along the way to make the process easier.
Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when learning how to write code.
1. Go Back to Basics
If at first you don’t succeed, start over. There’s no shame in brushing up on your coding basics if you’re having trouble learning the more complex stuff. More so, if you’re just beginning your coding journey, give the fundamentals of coding the attention they deserve.
It may take you more time now, but you’ll be glad you put in the effort later. It’s easy to get lost in overcomplicating things and trying to find dynamic solutions when a lot of the time the answer is right in front of you. You’ll be more aware of simple solutions when you give the basics the time they deserve.
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2. Leave Comments
Another tip that’s valuable for your very first coding file and for every single one that follows is to leave comments. However, write only what you need.
Some coders fall into the trap of over-using comments. In the end, their files contain more information for the person reading the screen than for the computer the code is being put into.
On the other hand, files without any comments can look more confusing than they actually are. The key to finding a balance is to walk away.
Leave your file as-is for a little while, then come back to it and try to understand it without comments. From there, write the comments you actually need. These should explain the overall goal of the file you’ve written or maybe point out one of the key elements of the file.
When in doubt, though, remember that less is more. Keep your comments short and simple in order to make them as effective as possible. The last thing you want is to have to figure out a file’s comment before you even get into the code.
3. Work on Creating Legible Code
Legibility is to coding what presentation is to cooking – it doesn’t matter how good your final product is if it doesn’t look right. Legible coding turns even the most complex of files into simple to understand pieces. It allows you to jump right back into a project and it also does wonders for the future coders who are going to use what you’ve created.
As nice as it is to have simple, legible code, though, it’s not the easiest skill to obtain. You have to work on making each line mean something and learn how to identify the “fluff” in your code.
If there’s ever a chance to write a shorter piece of code or make a line more easy to read, do it. This benefits all parties involved, even the computer!
4. Take on Interesting Projects
Here’s something to consider: don’t do any coding projects that don’t interest you. That would be like trying to read a book you don’t like or finishing a boring movie.
People do your best work when they’re genuinely interested in the matter at hand. This goes for learning to code, doing well in school, anything. If you’re not entirely sold on a project, put it down.
Instead, seek out the things that interest you. Find coding clubs and organizations that you can bounce ideas off or ask coding professors to point you in the right direction.
You should never have to settle for things that feel too simple for your skills or that just don’t speak to you. Instead, decide right now that you will only work on the projects you can be proud to stand behind. This simple trick is enough to skyrocket your coding abilities because it gives you the right mindset behind the work you’re doing.
5. Ask Questions
The last tip is one you should always have in the back of your mind no matter how much of an advanced coder you become. Sometimes, you’re going to need help figuring things out.
There’s no shame in asking questions when you’re stuck with a project you’re creating or unsure what someone else’s code was supposed to be. If anything, it makes you smarter for recognizing you need help rather than wasting time trying to pretend like you know what you’re doing.
Not to mention, asking questions creates opportunities for collaboration. It gives you a chance to connect with other beginner coders and to learn from those who are more experienced. It’s a win-win!
The next time you’re not sure of something, give it another try. If it’s still not working for you, speak up. The more questions you ask, the more you will learn – and you will likely do so in a quicker amount of time than doing things on your own.
How to Get Better at Coding: Practice!
At the end of the day, there’s only so much you can read about how to get better at coding. While it’s good to do your research and reach out to others, the best learning comes by doing.
Make an effort to practice your skills on a regular basis. This will help you better understand different coding languages and best practices and start to get a feel for your preferred tools and tactics.
From there, the sky is the limit. You just have to get started and keep at it!
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