Tips for Making Your Mark as a Freshman Coder

In today’s digital landscape, there’s a growing trend of people acquiring coding skills. With various offline and online resources offering coding courses, pursuing a career in software development has become more accessible. However, though one can pick up coding basics with ease, honing the art requires rigorous practice and persistence. Whether coding is a hobby or a gateway to explore new career trajectories, it’s crucial to have a definite plan and the perseverance to achieve one’s goals.

If you’re starting out in the coding field, the tips mentioned below could come in handy:

  1. Becoming proficient in coding demands perseverance and substantial time investment.

    At the outset, it’s natural to experience distress when grappling with complex problems. Even the most successful individuals have gone through similar emotions at the start of something new. The crucial aspect is to keep yearning for knowledge and asking questions. After diligent practice and gaining experience, the sensation of feeling overwhelmed will gradually dissipate. It’s essential to keep in mind that irrespective of one’s background, everyone has to start somewhere, and making mistakes while learning is part of the process.
  2. Take Action

    In the current technology-driven era, it’s highly advisable to acquaint oneself with Git, a version control tool. Git empowers software developers to keep track of diverse versions of their projects and switch between them when necessary, preventing any mishaps due to missing or misplaced code while striving to meet tight deadlines. By mastering Git, you can differentiate yourself from others and avoid needless hurdles. If you’re a newcomer to version control or Git, GitHub offers a comprehensive tutorial that can help you get started. Learning the fundamentals of Git can prove to be a wise investment in your future.
  3. Build (and Break)

    Building and breaking things are integral parts of becoming a skilled software engineer. To acquire this skillset, practice is essential. It’s crucial not to limit oneself to only reading tutorials or watching videos without attempting to solve problems and exercises. Making mistakes is a part of the learning process, and your code may not function correctly initially. It’s an effective way to learn. Aspire to gain proficiency in developing applications using the language(s) you’re studying. Begin by acquiring in-depth knowledge of one language and then progress to others.
  4. Get Proficient in the Agile Process

    If you’re interested in collaborating on user-oriented projects, it’s beneficial to acquaint yourself with the Agile software development process. At present, most software engineering teams leverage Agile for project management. Agile methodology involves iterative processes, commonly known as sprints, that are indispensable for successful software development. This approach relies on continuous communication and input from every team member during the project’s lifecycle. To gain an overview of Agile, we suggest watching this concise video.

    In addition to the technical skills necessary to enter the software engineering field, having strong soft skills such as empathy, teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and the ability to accept and apply constructive criticism can be an advantage. While technical competency is a must, those displaying aptitude for interpersonal skills are more likely to advance and succeed in their profession. Developing both interpersonal and technical skills is crucial to thrive in the software engineering domain.

    Lastly, I’d like to emphasize the importance of persevering in practice. Let’s conclude with a quote from Malcolm Gladwell:

Nobody has ever achieved excellence without practice. It’s your effort that distinguishes you.

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