This article provides a solid fundamental knowledge for anyone who has decided to start learning about computer programming. There are obviously more things that beginners should know but these are the 5 tips for computer programming that stood out the most.
It doesn’t matter what computer programming language and doesn’t matter what type of project the reader has decided to take on since these tips are very general and could apply to any of your situations that you are currently in.
In order to make the information clear and easy to understand, it has been divided into 5 parts. I hope this article challenges you and makes you understand the concept of programming more profoundly.
If you don’t love computer programming then don’t get into it
The first tip might sound rather harsh but it needs to be said. This also goes beyond the scope of programming and relates to life in general, however as mentioned it needs to be said.
IF you don’t LOVE programming THEN choose a different profession. It is as simple as that. Computer programming requires hours if not days of sitting in front of your machine and figuring, debugging and rewriting codes until it is working – but even when it is working you would still need to improve upon it.
The world of programming or the world of technology in general is constantly growing and changing so you will always need to be educating yourself with the latest updates.
All of this requires passion, enthusiasm and motivation and all of those arise from your love for this subject of study. If your motivation is money because you have heard somewhere that being a computer engineer brings in easy money then please refrain from getting into it. You will waste your money and most of all your time.
Programming requires love, just like anything else in this life.
Let us move on to the rest of the tips. Shall we?
Computer programming is a tool for problem solving and commands/instructions are the way of doing it
Don’t look at computer programming as a set of commands and instructions. Instead look at it as a tool for solving problems.
That is what computer programming really is – it is a problem solving tool and nothing else. The functions and commands are all details, which come into play after you have decided how to solve the problem.
This is a major point to be understood because most beginner programmers have a tendency to just jump into details without even thinking about the problem. Some of them don’t even know what the problem is all about and they are already deciding what loop they are going to be using. That is not a good habit, which leads me into my second tip…
Understand the problem you are trying to solve before actually solving it
Before programming anything you should understand the problem you are trying to solve. If it sounds simple then you are absolutely right, it does, but as stated above most beginner programmers don’t follow it thoroughly.
I know that there is a great joy in writing a program that can solve a particular problem. This great feeling could almost become addictive to the point where you just want to solve the problem without understanding it. If you can resonate with that then you need to start working on that habit.
Problems need to be understood clearly. You need to understand the requirements, you need to understand certain exceptions about the problem, you need to come up with a couple of plans on how to solve the problem and then choose the most elegant, shortest and most efficient solutions out of all.
I know it sounds tedious, but this is what will separate you from bad and clumsy programmers. Remember – being successful is not easy but it sure as hell worth it in the end.
Keep your code clean and organized
Spaghetti code is a sin. Don’t over complicate what can be done just in a few simple steps.
Beginner computer programmers have a tendency to over complicate simple problems because they love the feeling of writing more code. This is good because that means they are passionate about computer programming; however that passion needs to be controlled.
Of course this will only come with experience, but it is also good to be working on it as soon as you start programming so it doesn’t develop into a nasty habit.
Try keeping your code clean.
You should be able to see your code without scrolling to the right all the time. It should be nice and short – unless the function names themselves are very long and you can do nothing about it.
Keep your blocks organized.
Most of the code editors these days will do this for you, but it is always good to stay aware of the fact on how organized your code is.
In order to do this properly follow the single responsibility principle which will allow you to separate concerns in their own little blocks making your code more modular and easy to understand and maintain.
Stick with one language as a beginner before moving on to others
My last tip for the beginner computer programmers would be to start from ONLY one language and don’t mix anything else during the process.
If you start from C then go ahead and learn it as fully as possible. Dedicate at least 2 years for learning it fully and absolutely.
After you have learned one language, moving on to other languages will not be at all difficult. I have started learning PHP after Java and started programming with it in less than a month.
The secret is the fact that most programming languages have MANY similarities. Of course some syntax will differ here and there, and some functions will have different names – but what stays the same is the CONCEPT of programming which is what matters the most. Once you have learned the concept of programming learning the language will not be a problem at all.