August 14, 2020

10 Tips on How to Learn to Code Without a Bootcamp

Bootcamps provide ambitious people with a set of skills by intensive, short-termed hands-on training to get started in the programming career at a premium cost. The same skillset can be obtained by learning to code by yourself. 

Tips to learn code yourself

Yes, it can be hard to learn at first but if you’re determined and follow these 10 tips you can learn how to code in no time.

Tips to learn code yourself

Tips to learn code yourself

Plan out your learning strategy

It is always a good practice to develop a strategy beforehand that way you will know what to do next after you have achieved a milestone. You can plan by deciding which programming language are you going to learn, what resources are to be utilized, and how much time are you willing to commit. After you have decided on these thing you can choose an end goal for yourself and you can start working for it. On the plus side, you get a sense of achievement after completing a milestone that you have defined for yourself.

Understand the fundamental concepts 

It is better to learn how to walk properly before you start running, same is the case with coding. What may seem very basic and fundamental can prove to be very useful in the long run. It is often seen that students who rush by fundamental tend to get stuck when they progress to advanced stuff. Having a firm grip on fundamental concepts can also help you in your interviews as most interviewers tend to check the applicant’s basic concepts.

Go through the available material

Once you have taken the initiative of learning by yourself you should definitely keep some reference material with you. You can use the reference material to clarify your concepts regarding certain topics that you find difficult to understand in class or online. The reference material can also act as a guide for you, such that you will have an outline defined in the book (if you are following a book) suggesting you on what to learn next.

Learning by doing it yourself

Learning online has its pros and cons, the major benefit is that you have access to an infinite repository of knowledge and you can go through it at your own pace. The downside of this is that people tend to overwhelm themselves and never try what they have learned. After you have read something (even if it is just basic syntax) it is a general practice to implement the code by yourself. What this will do is that you will remember the code that you wrote by yourself and if you don’t you might forget it.

Ask for help from a mentor

Being a part of a community can come in handy someday, the coding community is very helpful in the way that can help you when you get stuck at a certain point. The same is achieved with the help of a mentor, a mentor will help you with your problems by guiding you towards a fix or can point you to a text which might prove useful for you. You can find a mentor and communities on sites like Stack Overflow and Reddit. You can post your questions there and people will help you get around the problem that you are facing (pro tip: never post your complete code when you get stuck, ask questions and post certain portion of your code).

Ask Google for when you get stuck

Google is your best friend when you are learning something new and you should not be afraid to look things up which seems difficult to you. Most people tend to undermine their abilities if they think they have to Google, which is completely false. Looking for something online does not make you a bad programmer, instead, it makes you a programmer who is willing to learn from his/her mistakes and improve themselves for the future.

Ask Google for when you get stuck

Ask Google for when you get stuck

Play with sample code

Reading the sample code is just not enough, you should play with it, make minor changes, and see what effects does it have on the code. What this does is that it gives you a better understanding of how the code and its components work, sample code is quite hard to replicate hence it is advised to make small changes in the sample code.

Work on small scale personal projects

Certificates do add an impact on your CV but they do not weigh as much as personal projects do. Personal projects are the best way to showcase your skills and also act as a proof of your coding skills. Your project can be a small project which you can develop using your current skill set but it does not have to a small project in the future as well, you should think big and add certain modules as your coding skills are enhanced over time.

Don’t stress out on errors

Getting errors in your code is okay, they are not something to stress out on. You can get help from your mentors, from communities like Stack Overflow or just Google the error messages that pop up on the screen, and you will surely find a fix for your error. The main takeaway from this is that sometimes you should take a little break from debugging and come back with a fresh perspective, it is not like that the error is going anywhere.

Keep the coding streak going

So you have started learning coding by yourself and you are going great but then you take a break and it feels like you are seeing the language for the first time. Getting back to coding after a break feels quite hard, especially when you are in the learning phase. To avoid this, it is advised to keep the streak going, code for an hour if you can, or just for a few minutes if you do not feel like it, this will push you towards your goal and keep you motivated till the end. 

The things to take away from here is to be determined, not to hesitate to ask for help and not to be afraid to do everything by yourself. I hope this guide helps you to become a better programmer on your own.

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