Although the concept of learning a programming language can seem daunting, it is much simpler than it seems. It’s important to stay committed throughout the process, as it can be tedious; however, having the knowledge of a new programming language can be an asset. Here, Ravi Bahethi, president of Terranet, Inc., shares the best strategies for learning a new programming language.
Go Back to Basics
There are three categories of any basic programming language: syntax, libraries, and built-in operators. The syntax consists of spelling, grammar, etc. that is understood by a computer and is expected by your computer’s software. This is considered the easiest part to learn. On the other hand, built-in operators and libraries for each language usually take more time to learn. However, with time, you’ll be able to understand the key components of each part.
Once you understand the fundamentals of a language, challenge yourself to start writing simple input and output code. Then, you can begin writing more complex code. Explore coding challenges online or make up your own project; soon, you’ll be competent and confident in the new language.
Learn More Complex Techniques
Every coding environment is different, and each one will have its own standards and procedures. Once you become competent with the basics of the programming language, there are nearly infinite elements to each language. Develop algorithms, learn how to debug your code, and explore memory usage for code in each language. Coding errors, although frustrating, are extremely common; as you become more experienced in the programming language of your choice, you will soon be able to fix your code quickly and develop it into a working program. This ability to problem-solve is a key component of becoming a successful developer.
It is important to keep your code organized, and Ravi Bahethi firmly believes that one of the most important practices is to comment on your code. The more comments, the better. Additionally, define all your variables in your comment at the beginning of your program, and make your variables understandable. For example, the variable “A” is usable but is hardly understandable; a better and clearer variable definition is “LocalTime.” Readability also means indenting your code to define the loops and snippets of logic and ensuring your subroutine functions as it should. Although it may be burdensome to write multiple similar subroutines, readability triumphs. Remember: readability leads to serviceability and all programs will need to be serviced.
Refine Your Skills and Keep Practicing
Just as it is important to write with correct grammar, it is critical to get into good habits when writing code in a new language. Improper formatting will make your code seem sloppy and make you seem inexperienced. When you are first learning the language, focus on writing visually appealing and clear code. This will set the tone for your future as a seasoned developer. Additionally, although you may feel like an expert, becoming truly knowledgeable in a language requires time, effort, and practice. There are resources available online to make practicing more engaging, but be patient.
Overall, although learning a new programming language may seem difficult, following these simple steps, detailed by Ravi Bahethi, will put you on the path to becoming a successful developer. Breaking down the process and taking things slowly will ease the learning process and help cement the new information acquired.