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The pitfalls of learning to program

Are you learning programming? Beware of pitfalls that will decrease your effectiveness. You have to approach everything with care because time for learning is usually limited. Don't waste it. Use your resources effectively because they are also very limited.

In this article you will find some common pitfalls that you can fall into while learning new skills. You will also learn what to do to avoid them.

I don't know what to learn

"I want to learn programming but I don't know where to start". The moment we make a choice to learn a new skill we always face this eternal problem.

At the very beginning, you need a very good plan. You definitely have to know what you want to learn. What language? What direction do you want to go in? What technologies are you interested in? If you can answer these questions then you already have one serious problem off your mind.

When learning the basics you must have a plan. With any programming language, you definitely need to master the key concepts. Things like variables, functions, control statements, etc. These are the foundations and without them you can't move on. That's why learning based on some structure is so important. Learning according to some blueprint.

Programming cannot be mastered by typing random words in an editor. It is a domain based on strict instructions and commands. On diagrams and structures. You need to master them first to make the next steps. The plan of action is the key to success.

Too many tutorials, too many guides, too much news

You have unlimited knowledge at your fingertips. You are seconds away from finding information on any topic. This is a great thing but also a serious problem.

Information overload often leads you down the wrong path. Instead of sticking to a consistent plan you start jumping from topic to topic. This is a normal phenomenon and we are all vulnerable to it.

Sometimes, of course, you have to look at something. Learn something new. And then easy access to knowledge is an invaluable help. But be very careful about a few things.

Copying code from ready-made solutions works in the short run. If you want to really learn something then there is no way out - you have to solve as many problems as possible by yourself.

Another problem is the constant pursuit of the news. At every step we are literally bombarded with news about new libraries, frameworks and tools that solve any problem. Everyone promises that their solution is much better than the previous one. If you are going to abandon what you are currently working on, think twice first. Fascination with new things passes quickly and fundamental skills remain forever.

I don't do my own projects

Programming is a very practical area. Theory alone is not enough here. You can have a perfect grasp of the language basics. But if you can't convert them into real, working applications you won't make a step forward. You will not become a professional.

You gain the most real skills while working on projects. Such assignments force you to solve problems. They force you to combine bits of information into a whole. They are also a great opportunity to force yourself to learn new programming techniques.

It doesn't have to be a complicated app, full of functionality. It can be something very simple, especially if you are just starting out. It is important that you try to make as many such projects as possible. Because only then you will gain real competences.

Get started right away. Are you learning HTML and CSS? Then build a simple website. Learning Python? Build a script that converts currencies or units of measurement. Learning JavaScript? Then write a script that validates form data. Anything you want. The most important thing is to get started.

I don't practice regularly

Every new skill requires practice. Without practice you quickly get out of touch and then have to learn many things over again. Programming is not like riding a bike, which you don't forget for the rest of your life.

The basic skills are regularity and being systematic. That's why what we just wrote is so important. That you should work on projects as often as possible. Not only to gain new skills. Also, to practice and refresh your previous knowledge.

Try to find the area that is causing you problems. Honestly ask yourself what you need to learn. And just practice.

Don't fall into the trap

Learning programming is no different than learning any other skill. If you have a good plan and follow it systematically then you are on the right track.

Watch out for the usual traps. Introduce some regularity and consistency. Avoid jumping from topic to topic. Try to get as much practice as possible. Practice the skills that cause you problems.

All this will allow you to use your time and energy effectively. That is, what is most valuable.