Tips for Making Your Mark as a Freshman Coder

As the digital industry continues to expand, more and more people are taking advantage of the opportunity to learn to code. With an increasing number of options available, both online and offline, it is becoming increasingly accessible for those interested in software development. However, while it is possible to gain a basic understanding of coding with minimal effort, mastering the skill requires dedication and practice. Whether you’re looking to learn coding as a hobby or as a way to open up new career paths, it is essential to have a plan in place and the determination to reach your goals.

The following advice could be useful if you are just beginning your coding career:

  1. Getting good at coding takes time and dedication.

    As a beginner, it is not unusual to feel overwhelmed when presented with a problem that seems insurmountable. Many successful individuals have experienced the same sense of intimidation when starting something new. The key to overcoming this feeling is to keep learning and questioning. With practice and experience, you will find that the sensation of being overwhelmed will occur less often. Therefore, it is important to remember that regardless of your background, everyone must start somewhere and it is OK to make mistakes along the way.
  2. Just Do It

    In today’s tech-driven world, it is highly recommended to familiarise yourself with the version control tool Git. Git is a powerful tool that helps software developers keep track of different versions of their projects and allows switching between them when needed. This can help prevent any unnecessary problems resulting from missing or lost code due to tight deadlines. By learning to use Git proficiently, you will be able to stand out from others and save yourself from unnecessary difficulties. If you are not familiar with version control or Git, GitHub provides a comprehensive tutorial on the subject. Taking the time to learn the basics of Git can be a wise investment in your future.
  3. Construct (and Destroy)

    Constructing and dismantling are essential components of becoming a proficient software engineer, which is a trade that is best acquired through practice. It is important to not merely read tutorials and watch videos without attempting to solve the given problems and exercises. Mistakes are expected and your code may not run correctly at first. This is an effective way to gain knowledge. It is important to make it a goal to become proficient in developing applications with the language(s) you are studying. Start by gaining a thorough understanding of one language, and then move onto others.
  4. Acquire Expertise in the Agile Process

    Familiarising yourself with the Agile software development process can be a great asset if you are looking to collaborate on user-oriented projects. Nowadays, most software engineering teams use Agile for project management. The Agile methodology involves iterative processes, commonly referred to as sprints, that are necessary for successful software development. The iterative approach relies on continuous communication and feedback from all team members throughout the project’s lifecycle. To better understand Agile, we recommend watching this short video, which provides a great overview.

    In addition to the technical skills required to break into the field of software engineering, candidates with strong soft skills such as empathy, teamwork, communication, problem solving and the ability to receive and apply constructive criticism will have a distinct advantage. While technical competence is an essential requirement, those who demonstrate an aptitude for interpersonal skills will be more likely to progress and succeed in their career. Developing both technical and interpersonal skills is essential for success in the software engineering field.

    Lastly, I want to stress how essential it is that you persist in your practice. Here’s a thought from Malcolm Gladwell to end on:

No one ever became excellent by without practicing. It’s your work that sets you apart.

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