5 mistakes that beginner software developers make when learning to code.

There has never been a better time to jump on the bandwagon and learn how to write some code. Businesses have never needed websites more than they do now. Most of the businesses that faced the economical challenges of the Covid virus did so by embracing the technological advancements of the 21st century and moving much of their infrastructure online.

Therefore, software engineering as a career has become a ludicrous and rich in opportunities which has inspired a lot of individuals to take up programming and enter this dynamic and exciting industry. Although anyone can become a software developer, learning the skills required takes a tremendous amount of determination and sheer hard work. Then there are these certain small mistakes that many beginner developers (including myself) perform that make their journey a lot harder.

1. Putting syntax ahead of core principles and logic.

A lot of newbie developers tend to focus much of their efforts learning the syntax and keywords of a particular language that they neglect to pick up the key ideas behind using particular functions and methods that are universal to most programming languages. Learning to program is much more about learning to approach problems, breaking down those problems and working on an effective strategy to solve those problems. Therefore, it is much more important to learn about the functionality and the logic behind programming principles to be effective at solving problems.

2. Lamenting over language choices.

Although the sheer quantity of languages and frameworks available means that there's a lot of options to suit different requirements for different people and different projects, it also makes choosing a language to start out with quite an ordeal for newcomers. Therefore we find that a lot of beginners spend time regretting the tools they chose to learn and work with rather than focusing on gaining mastery over one or the other. Remember, the grass is always greener on the other side. So choose a path forward, grit your teeth and stick with it. You will find that once you master a particular language, learning another is a much simpler job as it becomes much more about reading over the syntax rather than learning how to program.

3. Not reaching out for help.

Developers are a proud and active community. Newbie developers feel tend to feel quite overwhelmed by all the hustle that sometimes they feel ashamed to reach out and ask for help regarding matters that they think are not advanced enough to do so about. Resources such as stackoverflow exist solely to for developers to help one another when problems arise. Remember, all developers were beginners once and they are all ready and willing to help you out on your journey. Asking questions is the best way to get direct answers and improve your knowledge.

4. Not practicing what you learn.

Even some of the most avid learners tend to go overboard and learn one fact after another without taking time to practice what you learned by doing pet projects. Search the internet for ideas and try to build small small things with what you learn. Get involved in open source projects test out what you learned in a real world context. You will discover that there is a big difference between learning concepts and learning to use those concepts.

5. Giving up at the first sign of trouble.

You have this idea for this cool new project and you try it out in your code editor and … it doesn't work! You try to fix a few things which breaks a few other things. This is a common pattern for all developers and not something that ever really goes away no matter how good you get. Newbie developers who are not quite used to this dynamic tend to start doubting themselves and it eventually leads to them giving up. Beginners don't realize that the biggest part of coding is actually the process of debugging and it is something that never really goes away. You simply learn to just do it and do it some and get better at it in the process. Hard work and perseverance does really go a long way to becoming a better programmer.

This article has listed a few things that most programmers go through during their early days of learning the craft. You may also be facing these mistakes right now. But remember, there is no one correct way to program or learn how to program. Its simply process of spit and grit and a whole lot of mashed keys. The most important thing to remember is to chose a path forward and stick with it. The light at the end of the tunnel is worth the whole trek.

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Methal Abeywickrama

Methal Abeywickrama

Hi, I am an avid learner based off of Colombo, Sri Lanka.