Learning a new language is no easy task, and for programming languages, it's no simpler.
There are many reasons people want to learn to code, with some doing it ultimately to start a new career and others because they enjoy it.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates
that the demand for software developers will increase by 24% from 2016 to 2026. With the rise of technology year after year, the demand for coding isn't going anywhere. Ultimately, your coding knowledge could land you a job as a developer if that's the route you're interested in.
With thousands of resources, boot camps, courses, and online tutorials, people can now learn to code on their own and at a comfortable pace. Whether you're new to coding or an experienced programmer wanting to learn a new language, here are three tips to help you get started.
1. Take Advantage Of Online Resources
The internet gives you an endless wealth of information at your fingertips, and you should take full advantage of it. Learning a new program won't happen overnight, but you can speed along the process with the right tools.
Based on a study conducted by Stanford University
, experienced programmers rely primarily on four things when searching for information to learn a new coding language:
- Google searches
- Example code
- Q&A sites
What you need to do is find the right resources and tools to start.
- Codecademy is an entirely free, interactive online software that teaches you coding in up to 12 programming languages.
- Coursera provides online courses on programming languages taught by real professors.
- freeCodeCamp is a coding class that lets you work at your own pace and with a real team of developers to build solutions.
The more you practice writing code, the quicker you'll succeed at learning it fluently.
- Git lets you take snapshots of your code as you practice creating it so that you can see the process in front of you. If you want to revert back to earlier code, you have the option to do so. It works well with both large and small projects.
- Stack Overflow is the largest online community of developers and programmers on the web. It partners with businesses to answer developers' questions and help them with any errors.
2. Use Second-Language Acquisition
Learning any new program is no easy task. If you want to learn a programming language faster, you have to treat it the same way you'd treat learning a spoken language. Start by using second-language acquisition (SLA).
SLA is the process and method of learning a second language as well as the scientific disciplines that come with it.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University conducted
a study about the effect of integrating SLA theories into learning a new programming language. The results showed that when students learned a new program with a cognitive framework, they were able to learn quicker and more effectively. In a cognitive framework, cognitions come before behavior and enhance a person's perception, ability to process information, thinking patterns, problem-solving skills and more.
To succeed in learning a new program, you need to have a clear mental model. The study describes this as â??how someone explains their thought process and how it operates in the real world through our experiences in life.â?? If you don't possess a clear mental model of your programs and how they operate as systems, you may still be able to understand certain elements, but it'll be difficult for you to grasp them in their entirety.
3. Don't Cram Information
According to a research study performed by UCLA, cramming information is associated with more learning problems and less sleep. Your ability to retain information while cramming decreases and your brain only remembers the beginning and end of your study sessions.
To overcome the urge to cram while learning a new programming language, set up a study schedule, and stick to it. It's more beneficial to study in 20- or 30-minute blocks rather than hours at a time so you don't experience fatigue, lethargy, and boredom. It's easier to stay motivated when you grant yourself breaks in between study periods for better focus and frame of mind.
If you're trying to eventually learn several coding languages, which is very possible with enough time and effort, take one language at a time.
Over To You
If you're thinking about learning a new programming language
, these tips will help you do it faster. There's no magic solution to suddenly understanding a new program, but patience and persistence will help you get there sooner. By applying methods of learning a second spoken language to learning a programming language, you'll be able to grasp the material faster.
There's also no better way to learn than to practice in real time. Take time every day to develop your own code, and test it for errors so you grasp the material quicker. Soon enough, you'll be able to say you understand a new programming language.