As someone who began learning to code a little over two years ago, it wasn’t until recently that I no longer felt that I was stuck in that beginner phase I’m sure everyone knows of.
I’m going to go through my experience learning to code and why I felt stuck in that beginner phase. Hopefully, you might learn a thing or two and progress faster as a programmer.
Two years ago, I bought a beginner Python book Learn Python The Hard Way and worked through it during the school holiday. After finishing the book, I never felt that I was getting any better at programming until recently.
You might be able to tell where I went wrong.
Where I went wrong
Learning everything under the sun
I dabbled in many different areas, which unfortunately meant I was mediocre with every language and skillset I picked up. I believe that’s where most people go wrong when learning to code.
Learning more languages does not necessarily make you a better programmer.
Most concepts can be transferred between languages, meaning that for the most part, you are familiarising yourself with the syntax when you pick up a new language.
No one desires a jack of all trades programmer
Of course, there are some exceptions (certain startups), but companies tend to prefer having teams of specialists over programmers that are knowledgeable in many fields. It’s for the same reason why specialists are better paid than general practitioners.
Pick a language/field and stick to it
Seriously, stop learning a new language every few months. Pick one language and get really good at it. Programming languages are only distinctly different when you dig deeper into the lower-level advanced stuff.
Okay, maybe I was exaggerating when I told you to learn only one language (chances are you need more than one), but my point still stands: being excellent in one or two languages is better than being mediocre in plenty.
Similarly, do not jump between different fields of programming. Learning both mobile and web development will only derail you from both. It’s better to specialize in one area.
What about libraries and frameworks?
The same thing. You don’t need to learn both React and Angular. In fact, I would advise against that. Just pick one and you’re good to go.
Not Trusting the Process
One factor that prevented me from progressing as a programmer was uncertainty. Will I continue to struggle with this thing like I am right now? What if this framework gets phased out by the time I become decent at it?
Unfortunately, you can’t predict many things with certainty. You just have to make reasonable and informed decisions – and commit to them. It’s better to get started ASAP than having analysis paralysis set in and never getting any work done due to lack of confidence and self-doubt.
Hopefully, this can help you advance as a programming and get out of that beginner phase. Share with other beginner programmers you know if you think this might help them.