7 Mistakes Students Should Avoid While Learning Programming

When you learn something, you unavoidably make many mistakes – it is only to be expected, and you should not be afraid of them. However, while learning from your own mistakes is a viable and legitimate way of acquiring skills and abilities, not all mistakes become valuable learning experiences. Some are better to be avoided altogether. Making them will not do you any good, and by staying away from them, you will save a lot of time. So what are these mistakes? Let us take a closer look.

Doubting Your Ability to Master Programming

We all heard stories about prodigies that learn programming all by themselves at a ridiculously early age and go on achieving incredible results seemingly with no effort. When we struggle to make any headway at all, we unavoidably start thinking, “Have I chosen the right path? Am I really cut out for programming? Perhaps I simply do not have the right kind of brain for this sort of thing, otherwise it wouldn’t have been so difficult”.

Here is the truth: if you really want to learn to program, you can do it. It is not empty motivational pep talk – all the research on the subject of talent shows that if natural predisposition has any effect on the success in this or that area, it is vanishingly small. The real determinant of success is the amount of time you are ready to dedicate to this or that activity. In other words, spend enough hours practicing your coding and studying works on the subject, and you will become a programmer.

Not Asking for Help When You Need It

Programming is often perceived to be a solitary activity, with a popular image of a coder as a loner clacking on a keyboard while staring into a monitor in an empty dark room. However, reality can hardly be more different, especially if you are going to work as a programmer in a business environment. Coders usually work in teams and constantly have to communicate with clients, colleagues, and bosses to solve problems. The world is rife with all kinds of coding communities whose participants share ideas, discuss problems and their solutions, ask and give advice. By cutting yourself from other people, both your peers and those with greater knowledge than you have, you greatly limit your possibilities and slow down your progress.

There is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it, at least when you are confident about the quality of this help. For example, our service can offer you assistance with all kinds of programming assignments, irrespectively of their difficulty, urgency, and programming language involved. You only have to describe what kind of help you need, and we will be right on that task.

Using Inconsistent Formatting

One of the most common signs of code written by an amateur is its inconsistent use of white space, indentations, new lines, and other elements of formatting. Many programming languages do not impose strict rules on code formatting, and many beginners understand it as an indication that formatting is not particularly important. It is a wrong impression. Formatting – especially indentation – is an easy way to show the inner logic of your code, making it more readable both for you and for others. While lack of proper formatting does not present much difficulty in a short program, when you deal with a program with thousands of lines, without indentations it turns into an incomprehensible mess.

Failing to Create Backups

There is hardly any more frustrating experience than losing hours upon hours of work due to computer malfunction, power outage, or other contingency. And, in this day and age, there is no need to ever go through it. There are plenty of tools for creating automatic backups of your work and version control, with many of them having free-to-use options. From cloud storage like Dropbox to online code repositories like GitHub and SVN, they are all at your service, and there is really no excuse for not using them.

Using Upper – and Lowercase Inconsistently

The conventions of case usage in programming can become a pure nightmare for a novice, but there is no way around them – if you want to code, you have to learn them. To make matters worse, there is no unanimity between different languages on how to use upper and lower case letters. Some languages are case-sensitive (e.g., “object” and “Object” are two different variables) while others are not. Conventions of one language are often completely different from another one. E.g., JavaScript uses camel case: in variable names, the first word uses lower case and all the subsequent ones use uppercase, like “newVariableName”, while other languages separate words with underscores (“new_variable_name”). If you study more than one languages in parallel, you have to be very attentive to keep all these rules in mind and avoid bringing the conventions of one language into another one.

Trying to Study Programming the Same Way You Prepare for a Test

Beginners often try to learn the new techniques through rote memorization instead of trying to understand what they are learning. However, programming is not about learning the right answers to questions. It is about getting a broader view, understanding complex ideas, and using your knowledge to work out your own solutions to problems. If you limit yourself to pre-made patterns, you may top your quizzes in college, but you will never amount to much in the IT world.

Relying on Comments Too Much

Detailed comments can be useful when you make your very first steps in coding. However, you should learn to stop relying on them as you make progress. Self-documenting code – i.e., the code where variable and class names themselves explain their meaning – is a much better and less messy solution.

Of course, programming students make many other types of mistakes, especially at the beginning of their way. However, paying attention to these will already help you avoid wasting your time on unproductive endeavors.

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