Programming doesn’t come easy to many of us. It’s quite common. Perhaps, you might be among those who have had hard time learning it.
It seems hard, even when you try to spend hours reckoning and typing those lines. You give what it takes and put sincere efforts towards learning, but the situation doesn’t change much.
You still find yourself struggling and staring at the screen and wondering if you’re going to get any better and still trying to figure out what’s wrong.
Sometimes you might get frustrated, or think that you can’t program. If your insecurities get worse, you may even misconceive that you aren’t the right fit for programming and decide to quit.
What you must know
Here’s a truth – you’re aren’t alone.
Although you might think most people are impeccably good at programming, everyone falls short somewhere and finds programming difficult. Especially the beginners.
This isn’t because people aren’t capable of programming, but they find it difficult to learn due to some reasons. They just haven’t found what works for them yet.
Sometimes they can’t get a grip on their concepts or fail to grasp the underlying logic. Or they take time to get used to new syntax and working of different languages.
There are lots of problems – all different.
While you think that you aren’t cut out for coding, you should understand that it’s normal to feel like you know nothing yet. You might be judging yourself too soon. Sure you might be not good enough yet, but you can get better.
What you should do when you’re having problem programming
So what is it that you should exactly do to make learning programming easier for yourself and improve at it?
Although there are several ways to do that, we’ve listed down — practices you can follow to eventually improve your programming skills even when you’re facing some problems learning it.
1. Start with something small
That’s where everyone starts – by doing that “Hello World!” thing or creating those tiny programs printed in textbooks.
The purpose of doing this is simple – you’ll be able to set up a pace and learn to program in a gradual and organized manner instead of overwhelming yourself with what you don’t even understand yet.
Write small codes first, then get your hands on the milder ones, and raise the bar as you get better. It’ll make you a better programmer, eventually.
Also, one fair advantage of doing this is that it helps you build a ‘programming mindset’ by making you used to the usual problems which arise often, thereby diminishing your fear and leveraging your confidence which helps you stay consistent in the long run.
2. Familiarize yourself with what you do
Understand programming and it’ll suddenly seem easier.
However, as the problem usually turns out, some people don’t put time to know the basics of how it works – they want to do it without going into details, which gets them stuck at some stage and makes it longer for them to learn than usual.
Study the ins and outs of programming.
Learn concepts such as the implementation of loops, how the compiler works and also try to be agile towards learning the syntax and logic in your code.
Typing programs and getting rid of them is easy. However, if you’re willing to have a career related to coding, you should dive deeper and learn precisely.
3. Break down what you learn
A structured approach can help you learn faster.
Instead of trying to learn all the parts of programming at once, break down what you want to learn into some modules and milestones and then learn them bit by bit.
For example, while learning a certain language, try implementing various elements one at a time, say arrays, creating classes, using the conditional operator or something else.
Also, learn all the points individually if possible. Like, if you’re creating a program or app, then try to gather details about each step, learn it from somewhere or google it, and then proceed.
Not only you’ll be able to track your progress by doing this but also learn thoroughly, and hence remember what you study instead of forgetting it a few days later.
4. Carry out what you learn
Start creating whatever you can as per your current capabilities while you’re learning.
This might mean making a small program or creating a project that requires some basic skillfulness. Begin with what you’ve practiced and put it to some use.
This would be your attempt of creating something on your own. If you’re still uncomfortable then create little codes and then move onto the bigger ones as you learn.
Each time you create something on your own, you also solidify your base of knowledge and make it easy for you to remember – even if that means making some silly mistakes, spending hours finding solutions to the same problems repeatedly, analyzing the logic over and over, or making a complete mess.
Your efforts don’t get wasted. They teach you something each time you do something on your own. In programming, you learn better when you make mistakes.
5. Practice the standard programs
You know those programs you’re taught again and again each time you’re introduced to a new language.
Whether it be Fibonacci series, Armstrong numbers, Recursion, or something about creating those star patterns.
Those programs can be useful to build your understanding of how languages function since most of them cover various elements in a simplified way.
Once you master them, you can also play around with them further and use what you learn for creating your own programs.
6. Repeat it until you get it
Maybe you will still find programming hard in spite of following all the above steps – that’s because programming takes time. More importantly, practice.
It’s doesn’t happen instantly.
Yet, keep doing what suits you until you get used to it and develop a routine of programming consistently.
Slowly, as you’ll get better, you won’t shun programming but develop a constructive outlook. You’ll discover that you’ve actually gotten better than before. It happens to almost everyone.
7. Be patient
In the end, patience is something you need to treasure.
It’s your long-term superpower.
If you can be patient – you won’t quit too soon and take your time to learn. You’ll be able to maintain a constructive mindset and stick to learning in spite of some occasional despair.
What are some other ways computer science students can use to improve themselves when programming seems hard? We’d like to hear from you in the comments.