Totally new to programming? Three tips to get you started
A CodeMentee today asked about how to learn programming when you don't know where to start. You could spend a hundred years reading programming books and doing tutorials, but what's really important?
Here are my top three tips for people who are new to the game:
Have a project you want to get done. There's a lot of information out there, and it's a lot easier to figure out what you need to learn (and what you need to ignore) if you have a goal in mind. Do you have a friend who is starting a small business and needs a web site? Is there something repetitive you do that an app could help with? Even if your goal is a little out of reach of your skills, you will learn a lot on the way. And more importantly: you will learn things that are of practical importance to the kind of coding you're trying to pick up.
Google is your best friend. Most programmers won't admit how much time they spend searching. We often don't know the answer, so a big part of the job is just getting comfortable not knowing, and finding someone on a blog or a forum who has been through the same issue.
The most important thing is time! Even professional programmers have a hard time predicting how long it will take to get something working, so the most important thing is to learn how to stay calm, keep moving, and put your hours in.
And remember there are lots of people out there who are ready to help. We were all there once too.