Programming is a complex subject full of challenges that coders have to find solutions for.
When you are first starting, you may not be fully equipped to handle problems you will face. This can lead to frustration and may even have you ready to throw in the towel.
Coding is a vital skill and will set you up for success in today’s technological world. We want to tell you why you should persevere through the challenges, how to stay motivated and the most common problems you may face, and how to fix them before you are ready to give up entirely.
Every programmer has reached a breaking point, and that is even experienced coders. It is tough, but you are tougher, and we know you can find a solution and stick it out.
Here are two myths that every programmer ever has thought or even said:
Myth 1: “If I do not love programming, it must not be for me.”
Every programmer ever has thought this. It is entirely normal not to love programming all the time. It is the best feeling when you fix a problem perfectly; your code is neat, testable; but this is not always the case. A lot of programming is boring work, but you have to keep the end result in mind. Just the fact that you are still trying and are wanting to overcome your challenges proves you will.
Myth 2: “There is so much I do not know, and there is no way I am going to learn everything.”
This subject is broad, and you will see quickly that the more you learn, the more you do not know. That is a pretty overwhelming thought, but just realize it is normal. The good news is that you do not need to know everything, just know enough of the basics to complete whatever you are working on.
The best thing you can do is when you are first starting, make good learning habits. Watch lots of tutorials, follow the guidelines, and use documentation. These three things go hand in hand. It will be tempting to cram everything in at once, but learning slowly will benefit you by making it more fun, less dependent on tutorials, and utilizes gamification.
Not understanding the user and the solution. To be a good software developer, you have to give the people what they want. The users will have an opinion about how it should work and the functions it should have. This can be challenging for new programmers because they do not know what the users want without being able to talk to them directly. To solve this problem, talk with experience experts or designers to get insight. The next step is to test your product; release a beta version to get feedback and work out any kinks.
Debugging. So, you launch your new program only to be contacted by quality assurance with a list of things that are not working correctly. This can be highly frustrating for anybody, but especially new programmers, because some problems may be more complicated than others to fix. The good news is they can be fixed. To fully understand how the problem occurred, reproduce it. That may sound backward, but it will give you a better understanding of what is happening and how to fix it. If you are still unable to figure it out, get help. There will always be someone who knows more than you, and more than likely, they have run into this problem before, so dip into their knowledge.
Keeping up with technology. Programs are continually being updated as they grow and expand with user needs, so you have to keep up. This is frustrating for even experienced programmers because you have to come up with an update fast. Expect for software to need to be updated one to four times per month, it is a lot, and many newcomers cannot handle it. The best solution is to keep up with the trends and take time to learn the new systems. You could easily spend twenty to thirty minutes brushing up on new software and practicing new coding techniques. If you keep up with it every week, it won’t be so overwhelming.
Communication. Being the newcomer on a programming team, you may not know your coworkers well or understand the importance of collaborating with them, but it is essential. Be proactive, and get to know them, ask them for help, see what strategies they use.
Time estimation. Deadlines will always be part of your life, and they can come faster than you anticipated, especially if you feel stuck. To help prevent this from happening, break your workload down into small achievable parts. Then time yourself appropriately, including a little extra for interruptions or issues.
Sitting for hours. Programming requires long hours sitting behind a computer screen, and it is hard on your body. Neck and back pain is expected, but research also shows sitting for a long can also lead to cardiovascular disease and obesity. Try standing up while you work; standing desks are increasing in popularity. Also, be sure to get plenty of exercise when you are not working. This will improve your physical and mental wellbeing.
Security threats. As a new programmer, you will be more focused on error-free code than security loopholes, and hackers will take advantage of this. To help prevent this headache, use parameterized queries in your software. If you are working from an office or a computer that is not your own, always make sure to log off so that no one can come behind you and steal or modify your data.
Working with another person’s code. You may find yourself working on a code written by another developer trying to understand their thought processes, and this can be very challenging. Quickly taking ownership of the code from theirs to yours will help your mindset going into the task. Spend time reading the code and trying to understand their thought process. Going forward, you will have a much clearer picture of how to work with it.
Not planning your code. It is tempting to get to work and think you will figure it out as you go along, but this may come back to bite you. Have a clear idea of what you want to design, map out each step and any problem you might encounter, and then find solutions.
It is okay to be new, not to know everything, and to ask for help.
We hope this helps you as you move forward in your journey to proficient coding and an encouragement not to quit. It is okay to get frustrated and even feel like quitting.
Remember to be patient with yourself, take breaks, be disciplined, and to never give up. You will be so happy you didn’t when you are able to create more complicated webpages and play a vital role on your design team.