10 Rules for Anyone Learning to Program

May 20, 2020, Update: this blog was originally written in 2015 after I finished a crash-course in the very basics programming. I recently came across it, and I’m very happy to discover that even after 5 years, these rules seem to still hold true. New title, same content.

Enjoy your journey.

10 Rules for that person you want to be. You know, the one that’s learning to program. The one that’s developing a technical skill: writing code. Keyword? WRITING. DOING. SOLVING PROBLEMS. Here are 10 rules for THAT person:

It’s ok to be frustrated. In fact, it probably means you are about to have a breakthrough. Bask in the frustration like it’s early summer sunshine. Ah, frustration.

You don’t know what you don’t know. So don’t get cocky. You are never done learning. NEVER. Learning to program is like signing up for a lifetime of chronic education.

Repeat, repeat, repeat. Repeat everything until it’s automatic. Memorization is an encouraging element of learning. It’ll get you easy and quick wins and boost personal morale.

Talk it out. Not only will verbalizing your issues help you solve them — you could literally talk out loud to yourself and it’d be effective— but the person who’s listening can help too!

Teach. No better way to master material than by teaching it to someone else. Try combining “Talk it out” and “Teach” to teach yourself out loud. You think I’m joking… I’m not.

Stay positive. It’s hard to learn with a bad attitude.

Make Mistakes. Mistakes are filled with nuggets of learning. “Fail Fast” and Google the shit out of it.

If you are comfortable, move on! Being comfortable is a sign that you aren’t maximizing your learning potential. Nothing good ever came from a comfort zone.

If you can write, you can program. As much as I’d love programming to be this elite language of computer-speak that only the super-smart can grasp, now that I know a little, it’s not. It’s pretty damn easy to pick up, and the pay off can be enormous.

And finally…

Find time for motivation and inspiration. Every now and again, take a step back and remember why you are learning to program in the first place. The “why” is your source of fuel. Don’t lose it.

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Documentation and tutorials on Python, Programming, and Data Analysis. FPL Addict. Occasionally writing about biohacking, PMing, and food.

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