5 December 2023

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Coding

By Ronald Smith

Learning to code is no walk in the park. You might come across countless websites promising that coding is an effortless skill to conquer. But let me tell you, mastering coding is no piece of cake. It’s more like a wild and thrilling adventure that you get to navigate.

If you’re just getting started, you’re probably wondering what lies ahead on this coding journey. What’s it really like to go from beginner to intermediate? Well, everyone’s coding experience is unique, and you have complete freedom to chart your own course.

Here are 10 essential things I wish I had known before embarking on my coding journey. Take these points to heart, and they’ll give you a head start on what to expect and how to approach coding.

10 Sites That Will Help You Solve All Your Programming Questions

When you’re learning to code or develop software, websites, or apps, it’s common to encounter problems that leave you feeling stuck. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!

1. Master the Basics

When you start your coding journey, it’s essential to lay a solid foundation by mastering the fundamentals. Consider it the first step towards becoming a coding wizard.

To get the basics right, you don’t need to sweat it. Just like any other profession, you need to build a strong understanding of the core principles of computer science. Fortunately, the internet is here to hold your hand every step of the way, with countless online courses designed specifically for beginners. You’ll find a goldmine of information catering directly to beginners – it’s like a beginner’s paradise!

So here’s the deal: You just need to look through these options and find one that works best for you. You can start with any of the online platforms we mentioned below.

If you really want to get a leg up on learning to code, it’s crucial to have a solid foundation. Understanding the basics is key.

Luckily, there are plenty of online courses that can help you get started, such as

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Coding

2. Build patience

The most important thing you need to be a successful programmer is to be patient. Patience lets you take hits and still get back up, just like a ninja! It helps you handle disappointments.

Plus, being patient can make you a better problem-solver and improve your understanding of computers.

Computer stuff can be really tough to figure out. I know it seems like you have to know everything right from the start, but that’s not true. Being too hopeful can actually be a bad thing.

A lot of beginners quit because they think they should be able to do everything right away. But that’s not how it works. You have to be patient and remember what you’re working towards.

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Coding

Step 3: Choose a target and work towards it!

Setting goals can be a powerful boost to keep you motivated on your coding journey. If you’re planning to learn PHP, why not set a goal to complete a simple project by the end of the week? Once you achieve that goal, set another one and keep the cycle going. It’s as easy as that!

Remember, the world of programming is boundless, with endless opportunities for learning and growth. To stay on track, it’s important to keep setting goals and never lose sight of your main objective.

So, what kind of goals can you aim for as a learner? Let’s take a look at some examples:

  • Build your own calculator using CSS and JavaScript
  • Create a responsive website using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

Hey there! How about we build a cool website together? I’ll show you how to create one that’s super dynamic using some awesome programming languages like PHP, Ruby, or Python. It’s gonna be so much fun!

If websites aren’t your thing, don’t worry! We can also make a 2D breakout game using just JavaScript. How cool is that?

But wait, there’s more! You can even choose to work on any project you like. We all have our own unique tastes, right? I know you’ve got something special in mind!

Now, here’s the important thing: we want to set achievable goals. Let’s not try to build the next Facebook or a super complex game just yet. We’ll start by taking it slow and gradually work our way up to bigger and more complex projects as we learn and grow.

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Coding

4. Let’s Take on More Projects

When you embark on more projects, not only do you learn more about your own capabilities, but you also enhance your abilities to analyze and solve problems. You see, coding isn’t just about grasping syntax; it’s about mastering problem-solving with the tools available to you.

Coding is a field that demands a creative mindset and the ambition to create things with significance. For beginners, finding project ideas can be quite a challenge.

One helpful resource is GitHub, a platform where you can store and access your code conveniently. Examining public repositories for the programming language you’re studying can be a great way to stumble upon exciting project concepts.

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Coding

5. Join a coding community

When it comes to learning how to code, you don’t have to go at it alone. If you think you can build the next big app without any assistance, you might be mistaken.

Coding is a collaborative endeavor, and if you want to succeed, it’s crucial to seek support from social platforms specifically designed for programmers like you.

Head over to GitHub, or any other coding community, and find a group that suits your needs.

Each community mentioned above offers its own unique benefits that can help you enhance your skills. Take GitHub, for instance, where you can explore public project repositories and gain inspiration.

An additional resource worth checking out is Livecoding. It allows you to observe fellow programmers coding their projects live, providing insight into the challenges they face along the way.

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Coding

6. Achieving Balance in Your Learning Journey

As a developer, there’s always room for improvement, and feeling a bit lost at times is simply part of the journey. The ever-changing landscape of technology ensures that developers must continuously upgrade their skills to keep up with the latest market demands. Whether you’re just starting out or have some experience under your belt, it’s essential to remain open to learning new things.

The vast array of possibilities can be overwhelming. Even experienced developers can feel uncertain about their skills due to the constant influx of new tools, technologies, and standards to keep track of. However, rather than becoming overwhelmed by this reality, it is crucial to find a balance.

So, here’s the thing: it’s totally fine not to know everything that’s out there. Whatever you do know, that’s great. As long as you keep learning new things, you’ll always be on the right track.

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Coding

Alright, what comes next?

So, you’ve started learning and now you’ve made it through the beginners’ tunnel. Now you may be wondering, “What comes next?” Is this the end? Or is there more you can accomplish?

Like we mentioned before, learning programming is an endless journey. But don’t worry, I’ve got four tips for you to continue your learning adventure.

1. Dive into algorithms

Now that you have some experience working on projects, it’s time to take a deep dive into algorithms. Algorithms are at the heart of computer science. Whether you’re into web development or game development, algorithms are what help you achieve your goals.

When you become better at Algorithms, you can reach new heights in your skills. Thinking like an algorithm can also assist you in landing your first job, since most job interviews focus on algorithms and problem-solving. Make it a goal to solve at least one algorithm problem every day to keep your problem-solving skills sharp.

So, how do you begin learning algorithms? You have a few options – you can start taking online courses for algorithms or use platforms like HackerRank.

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Coding

2. Make the most of code documentation

Code documentation is your secret weapon for mastering a programming language, framework, or library. It’s packed with valuable information that can accelerate your learning process!

Why Documentation Matters for Web Developers

Whether you’re developing mobile, web, or desktop apps, or working with JavaScript libraries, documentation is crucial. Find out more.

Don’t let documentation intimidate you, especially as a beginner. It’s actually your best friend when it comes to learning. Start with baby steps and discover the art of reading code documentation. Sometimes it might feel overwhelming, but remember that you always have Google as your lifesaver.

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Coding

3. Embrace the Power of Tools

Just like any other craft, tools are essential for streamlining your work and accomplishing tasks more efficiently than ever before. It doesn’t matter which programming language or framework you’re learning; the key is to make the most of the available toolset.

Tools can also help automate manual labor, freeing you up to focus on the heart of the matter. Take Git, Slack, code editors, Chrome DevTools, and both frontend and backend programming frameworks, for example. Getting familiar with these valuable tools will boost your productivity and enable you to tackle the more significant challenges head-on.

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Coding

4. Find someone to guide you

Learning programming on your own can take a lot of time and effort. That’s why having a mentor is so valuable. A mentor brings their own experiences to the table and can offer you valuable insights that will save you time and make your journey as a programmer more rewarding.

When you’re starting out, finding a mentor is a great way to speed up your learning process. There are different options available to you. You can look for a mentor in your local community or explore online mentorship programs. Both options have their benefits, so choose what works best for you.

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Coding

A Final Message

Congratulations on making the best choice in your life—I’m proud of you for deciding to learn programming! To succeed, one of the most important things to do is to find a community, a group of people just like you, who share your interests.

Once you feel confident in your skills, you might also want to make some money. There are plenty of online platforms, like Upwork and Fiverr, where you can find freelance work specifically for programmers like you.

Working on a real project not only helps you learn new things, but it also gives you the opportunity to apply your skills. Another option is to look for job openings within your network of peers and lend them a helping hand on their projects!

If you’ve already started your programming journey, why not share your experience with beginners? By offering guidance and support, you can help others take on the exciting world of coding as well!