Nowadays, practically anyone with good access to a computer and the internet can become fairly-skilled programmer or coder in months. Majority of coders in the world are self-learned, and the number is definitely bound to continue to rise. While this in itself is an exciting thing, it only leaves room for many fledgling programmers to stumble about a particular trend before finally making a significant breakthrough.
Learning is a curve that is unique to every learner. A very minute set pick up coding skills quite fast, and theirs is an exponential sail. For a larger sample, the learning becomes stunted or saturated after a while. This brief guide is meant to help you highlight key areas where you might be making mistakes as a newbie programmer and help you make corrections as fast as possible.
Here are the top 5 mistakes you should look to avoid as a coming-of-age coder.
1. Jack of All Trades
There goes the popular catch-saying: “a jack of all trades is a master of none.” Well, while not particularly hundred percent accurate in this context (there are pretty size-able amounts of coders in most countries with excellent command of four or more programming languages), it nevertheless holds some truth.
The vast number of resources present on the internet can be a deterrent just as well as it can be a blessing. A lot of new programmers find themselves jumping from one programming language to another within the space of months, only to find out after a few years they are not exactly good in any of them. If you want to be taken seriously, you are better just as seriously good in one in the first place. The best way to do this would be to take up projects—pet projects or otherwise. Once you are proficient enough, it is then imperative and okay to go on learning other languages.
2. Flouter of Discipline
There are conventions and common practices for a reason. The PEP-8 standard in Python does not exist just because it sounds nice; it makes your code a lot nicer and more professional too. Newbie programmers tend to cultivate bad habits over a long time that might take even longer to correct. This is why it is important to inculcate professional coding habits early on as a programmer.
Ensure you have a consistent coding style. ‘CamelCase’ your variables with consistency when there is a need to, and don’t choose overly long or irrelevant variable names. Comment your codes wherever is necessary. However, do not embroider your code with excessive comments and unnecessary explanations.
3. The Genius Heroine
A lot of beginning or un-practicing programmers tend to over-complicate simple tasks with complex codes that shouldn't be as complex as they write it to be (It's no strange thing. We want to feel good about ourselves. I do too). This is one of the worst practices that new programmers should unlearn as much as possible.
Writing complex functions to execute tasks doesn't help in any scenarios. Simplicity should be the aim of every programmer. This is because simple codes are easier to debug and maintain than flowery or complex ones.
4. Invincible Codes
Well, maybe not invincible. One's code might just be ridden with bugs that one is either too lazy or too proud to check. Beginning programmers run into a common problem when they finally write codes that should be production-ready. Writing codes that are supposed to be deployed for production is of higher priority than our egos or self-believed proficiency. We are humans and are all prone to mistakes.
A good coding practice is to debug your codes with the best tools available to you when writing codes for production and be humble enough to know when to seek.
5. The Comparison Game
A few hours spent on HackerRank or Kaggle might discourage the best-hearted of beginning programmers. It is never a good habit to compare ourselves with other coders, especially in manners that are not healthy.
While we can be fired up to learn and practice more, it is never good to be hinged on the comparison. Someone will always be better. Even the best have areas where they are most definitely weak too; your job is to polish your game to be your own best.
You are a new programmer and not sure of which programming language to choose? Check out the list of Top 5 Most In-Demand Programming Languages to Learn in 2019.