What Every Beginner Should Know

Every day thousands of young graduates decide to start an IT career. They find out that they know almost nothing when they start, even though they had excellent marks in college. They tend to make many mistakes just because they don’t have the needed experience to make the right ones. There are some basic tips that should be given to every coder and developer at the beginning of their journey into the IT world.

Following the next few tips won’t guarantee you a faster career promotion or higher salary, but they will protect you from making lots of unnecessary mistakes.

1. Write a Clean Code

It’s really important to write a properly formatted, well-organized, consistent, and reusable code using the best practices. This is extremely important if you are starting to work on some big project. Imagine that you have hundreds of lines of code and you don’t have a clue which one of them has a little bug. Even worse if you write some type of unreadable code – after some period of time you won’t know how a particular part of one or another part of the code works.

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Plan before you write a code. Just sit down and write-out on paper exactly how you would approach a project. What language and frameworks do you plan to use, do you plan to use any automated task runners or build systems? Answer these questions and prepare a clear plan of writing the code. Without such a plan, you will spend more time debugging than writing your new code.

2. First – Language, Second – Framework

Junior developers often first focus on some framework, and then they pay attention to the coding language.

But for example, the popularity of Django can be measured as a benefit of Python. So it’s really important first to learn Python, and only after this continue to Django. The simple reason for this approach is that if you know the coding language you can better understand the framework functions. If you don’t know the basics of a coding language, then you won’t be able to understand why something is working in a certain way within the framework.

3. Learn JavaScript, not jQuery

JavaScript is one of the world’s most popular and approachable programming languages. Any browser can run a JavaScript application. A common mistake made by most junior developers is to learn first jQuery. It’s really popular among people who have no idea about the basic principles and possibilities of JavaScript. jQuery is just a set of supporting functions written in JavaScript. The only reason why it’s so popular for beginners is that it requires writing less code.

4. Don’t Only Learn Coding. Try it

Lots of young developers read tutorials, documentation, and even entire books without any practice. But without practice this knowledge can be lost even faster than you can imagine.

If you’re learning Ruby on Rails, then try to write a small application while reading the tutorials or documentation. If you want to try MEAN stack, then run it on your computer and explore its functions. This will be the best way of learning.

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5. Amateur, Not a Specialist

A big mistake that is made by many beginners is trying to learn as many new technologies as possible without being a specialist in any of them. It’s great if you choose to learn new technologies, but it’s better to keep learning one technology until you have reached the level of specialist in it and not just learn but to use this technology as a solution to the most complicated tasks.

After learning one technology for everyday tasks, you can start learning a new coding language. You can also change your preferences later, but it would be smart to learn one language at a time before moving on to another one.

6. Try Version Control Software

Nowadays, working on a project alone is a rarity. For better communication inside of a team, you have to study and try some version control software.

When using version control software, the main code is represented in one main central repository and distributed over many repositories. Everyone working in the team has a local copy that could be in one file, some files and directories, or the whole repository and any team member can review the code anytime it’s needed. The version control software helps in the management of this code. So it’s a good idea to learn at least the basic commands and functions of version control software.

7. Learn from Others

Self-education is a great idea, but sometimes better results can be gained just by looking at someone else’s code. Whether it’s your colleagues or tutorials in the Web – try to find the best approaches for solving certain problems.

Developers should understand that it’s impossible to know everything, but everything can be found on the Internet. If you’re a beginner and find yourself stuck on a problem, it is most likely that someone has already been faced with the same problem that you are having. So all you need to do is find out how they solved the problem, but be smart and don’t just find how they solved it, understand how they solved it.

8. Audit the Code

Code audits always improve programming skills. Ask colleagues or friends to look over your code and give suggestions and then decide whether to implement these suggestions. Such suggestions can help you to find the weak areas in your approach to code development and help you find bugs in your code, as well as helping you to analyze your mistakes.

These are the basic tips that can be applied by most developers during the start of their IT career. Have you some tips that can be added to that list? If so, then you’re welcome to share them in the comments.

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