Coding has become a skill that is desirable across multiple industries. Knowing a programming language is attractive in your cover letter, and may increase your attractiveness to many employers looking for more automated solutions to everyday business problems. In this article, Daniel Calugar, a versatile and experienced investor with a background in computer science, discusses five tips on how to learn a programming language.
Learn Through Doing
One of the best ways to get up to speed on learning a programming language is through practice. The best way to understand how a line of code will work is to write it, run it, and then re-write it to see if you can change the functionality.
As with any other skill, practice will help you progress to any level of proficiency you desire. Unlike other disciplines, programming is unique in that everybody will write code a little bit differently. That being said, just because something works doesn’t mean that it has been written in the best possible way. Picking a project will help you define your style and understand what works best for you. It will also challenge you to think like a programmer, which is one of the biggest hurdles of beginning to write code.
Start at the Beginning
While it can be tempting to jump in and try to pick up a complex task, it is crucial to set realistic expectations, so you don’t burn yourself out. Just like a kid shouldn’t ride a dirt bike before taking the training wheels off a bicycle, learning to code should start with the basic concepts. Starting with basic concepts such as a variable assignment, or even a building block language such as HTML will help you prepare for more complex material down the road. Find a book or online tutorial for your level of experience and go from there.
Be Flexible Across Languages
Many programming languages have symbols unique to that language, just like how each dialect can have its own attributes across cultures. Rather than trying to force certain idioms of one language onto another, you will find more success by going with the flow for each new language learned. Learning the code’s logic and then following certain rhythms within that language will help make your code legible and usable.
Use Meaningful Examples
People can often lose interest if they don’t find meaning or excitement throughout the learning process. Just because a tutorial suggests building a certain project or game doesn’t mean that you must follow the same example. Selecting a meaningful or exciting project to you can help keep you focused and dedicated to your learning journey. Programming something that you enjoy will help you overcome challenges, better understand what questions to ask, and motivates you to spend the time necessary to accomplish the task.
About Daniel Calugar
Daniel Calugar is an investor and tech enthusiast with an academic background in computer science, business, and law. He developed a passion for investing while working as a pension lawyer and leveraged his technical capabilities to write computer programs that helped him identify more profitable investment strategies. When Dan Calugar is not working, he enjoys spending time working out and being with friends and family and volunteering with Angel Flight.