J. R. Swab

Top 10 Keys To Being A Superior Programmer

Categories: [Technology]

Over the years of making content online in one form or another I've come across many questions by people that are just starting out on their coding journey.

Here is a list of the ten things I wish I knew from day one.

Don't learn a language

In the start of your programming journey it is good to pick a language and stick with it for consistency but it's not the end goal. Make it your goal to understand the core ideas and concepts that will allow you to pick up any programming language quickly.

Learn the terminology

Take time in the beginning to learn what words mean to programmers. Things like variable, loop, statement, and parameter will give you the best base. Once you know what everything is called it will be much easier to find the answer to the problem you are attempting to solve.

Think like a problem solver

Programmers are problem solvers; so it's best to start thinking like one. There are many books and videos on the subject of problem solving so start exercising that mental muscle as soon as possible.

Never stop learning

Learn to love learning. I understand that phrase sounds silly. If you hate learning how will you learn to love it? That's entirely up to you because only you can figure out what the best way to learn is for yourself.

Be ok with failure

You will fail and fail often. It's just a part of writing code. As you start your journey to becoming a programmer keep in mind that failing is a part of the process and even the best programmers face failures on a daily basis.

Algorithms are not important

At least right now. Don't spend your time trying to memorize algorithms when starting out. Focus on the terminology, the concepts, and ideas that will help launch you out of the beginner stages into the mid-level.

Understand Data Structures

Once you have the understanding of a for loop, variables, constants and other introductory concepts well understood take time to learn what different types of data structures exist. There is no need to memorize how they are implemented at this point but it will be helpful to know what they are. (Most modern languages make using data structures much less painful)

Be a team player

As a programmer you will be working with other programmers on a daily basis. It will be beneficial in the long run to be a great team player from the start. That way, once you land your first programming job you will fit in well and limit confrontation.

Read code daily

Go to Github and start reading code in whatever language you chose to be your first. The best way to learn how things are done is to read what others do in the code that already exists.

Be able to take criticism

When working on a team of programmers you will have to go through code review. Your code will be questioned and sometimes picked apart. Learn to take this criticism to become a better programmer and learn from your past mistakes.

By the way, did you know these I go deeper on these 10 keys in an eBook which will help you understand them and get you an the right track to becoming a professional programmer?

Yup, it's true. Go here for more information.