Keep Calm and Code On: Simple Tricks for Learning a New Programming Language

Posted on October 19, 2018  in  [ Engineering & Technology ]

Professional computer programmers are expected to know how to use multiple programming languages. Some of the most in-demand languages are Java, JavaScript, Python, PHP, C/C++, SQL and Ruby. If you want to land a job at a specific company like Google or Facebook, you should check out which languages they expect their programmers to know. It can be tough to learn multiple languages, but here are some quick tips for getting started.

Focus on the Fundamentals

Never underestimate the importance of the fundamentals in any language. If you rush through the beginner material to get to the more complex concepts, you will miss out on developing a solid base of knowledge. People who rush through the fundamentals often tend to struggle later on.

Learn by Doing

The best way to learn is to actually use what you are learning while you are studying it. For each new programming language that you learn, you can create a personal project to work on incrementally throughout your studies. After each block of reading you do, take a break to play with the code you have just learned and build on your personal project. Putting concepts into practice will reinforce all that you have learned.

Write Code by Hand

Coding by hand seems outdated, but it is still widely considered to be the gold standard test of a programmer’s proficiency. It is why programmers are expected to demonstrate coding by hand during job interviews and why they are often instructed to do it during college exams. Since coding by hand does not lend itself to running a digital check partway through the assignment, each line must be carefully planned and flawlessly executed. By practicing coding by hand, you will master a new language faster.

Run the Sample Code

When a lesson gives you sample code, do not just read it. Write it out and run it, and then make modifications to it. This turns a straightforward reading assignment into an interactive lesson that will enhance your understanding of the material.

Teach Others What You’re Learning

It is often thought that one must be an expert in any particular subject before teaching it to others. But actually, teaching is one of the best ways to learn and develop a mastery of the material. Enlist a younger sibling, classmate or roommate to be your pupil. It is more effective if the person you are teaching has no background knowledge in the language. If your pupil can demonstrate that he or she grasps the lesson, then you will know that you have truly mastered it as well. If you cannot find anyone who is willing to sit for a lesson with you, start a blog. You are studying to be a computer programmer, after all. You can create your own blog so you can share what you have learned. This also serves as a nice addition to your resume.

As a computer programming student at Grand Canyon University, you will enhance your knowledge of software development using languages like Java. You will also explore current topics in STEM fields, such as cloud computing and cybersecurity. Click the Request More Information button or visit our website to find out about our tech degrees available from the College of Science, Engineering and Technology.

About College of Science, Engineering and Technology

The College of Science, Engineering and Technology offers degree programs that prepare students for high-demand professions in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. With an emphasis on Grand Canyon University’s Christian worldview, our college believes in instilling social awareness, responsibility, ethical character and compassion. Our blog, Brain STEM, focuses on topics related to science, engineering and technology, with engaging contributions from students, staff and faculty. 


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