You may have heard about Jack Dorsey (Twitter), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Kevin Systrom (Instagram) and many others. Right, these are one of the top programmers and tech enthusiasts who are currently ruling the world. But, have you ever thought that what made them so accomplished and proficient in the world of programming? No, it is not any college degree or particular course or any certification but it is their decision of following the pathway of Self-Taught Programming along with a lot of hard work, motivation, and patience that led them to excellence!
Now, the question arises – Who is a Self-Taught Programmer? Okay, let’s make it clear here. Being a self-taught programmer doesn’t mean not to go any school or do not follow any instructor but what it simply means is that when you don’t wait for someone to take initiatives on behalf of yourself and get ready to excel the programming skills by any kind of means – whether it be training courses, books, videos, discussions, etc., then you are on the track of being a Self-Taught Programmer. The journey of being a Self-Taught Programmer is not of a few days or months, but it requires a lot of patience and dedication. However, this hard work and patience reward you with lots of benefits, some of these are listed below:
- Self-taught Programming helps you to become an expert in problem-solving as you deal with a lot of hurdles in this journey.
- It helps you to understand better how things work because you’ve figured it out on your own.
- In this process, you get to learn various algorithms and methodologies which you may not find from any school or course.
- Apart from coding, it helps you to develop other related skills as well such as testing, deployment of projects, etc.
As per research reports, around 70% of programmers considered themselves as a self-taught programmer (as of 2019). And, if we observe the trend, this number seems to be increasing rapidly. However, for being a well-versed self-taught programmer, you have to be very disciplined about the strategies or roadmaps you are following. A thorough roadmap that consists of all the approaches to be a self-taught programmer is as follows:
Explore, Explore and Explore!
Before starting your journey of being a Self-Taught Programmer, this is what you have to do first – Gather the information! You have to explore all the regions of programming from basics to professional like – what exactly is computer programming? or what are algorithms? or what skills a proficient programmer own? and many others. You can dedicate enough amount of time for this particular part as it will lay the foundation for your growth. Also, you are not bounded to do your research or gather the information from any particular resource as we live in a time where there are thousands of resources to help you in the process. You can opt for youtube videos or you can consult with some industry experts or you can read some recommended books or any other source you like.
And yes, along with the exploration of computer programming aspects, you have to analyze yourself also or you can say, you must be able to answer some questions like – why do you want to become a programmer? or will you be comfortable with the self-taught programming approach? etc. Do remember one thing, do not rush your learning in this initial stage as the more you clear your doubts here, the more beneficial it will be in your further journey.
Enter into the World of Programming!
Now, when you are done with the exploration of computer programming aspects, it is time to pick up the weapons and be ready for the battle! And, in this battle of entering into the programming world, the Programming Language will be your biggest weapon. You have to pick a programming language and start to learn the fundamentals of programming like data types, variables, loops, conditionals, strings, functions, etc. You can choose a suitable programming language based on various parameters such as trending in the industry, easier to learn for beginners, highly recommended, etc. I recommend you to start learning computer programming from Python as it has a very simple syntax which is quite feasible for beginners. Some of the major programming languages across the world are listed below:
You can start to learn a programming language from various platforms such as youtube videos, online courses, books, instructors, etc. Also, you must focus on one programming language and get genuinely good at it instead of switching over programming languages from one to another. Most of the beginner level programmers commit the same mistake by not sticking to a particular programming language and that’s why always remain a mediocre programmer instead of being a pro.
Learn by Doing
So after reading all those books, watching videos, attending lectures, etc., Can you consider yourself as a programmer? A big no! Even if you read thousands of books and watch countless tutorials and if you don’t implement it, you know nothing. So, what you have to do is implement all those programming concepts which you have studied. You can do the same by installing an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) such as PyCharm, Eclipse, Netbeans, etc. in your system as per your programming language. You can start it from creating basic programs like the swapping of numbers, factorial program, Fibonacci series, etc. and then move to the advance level.
The factor which plays a key role here is Consistency! Many people start very well but then experience a fall-off in their journey just because of not being consistent. You must revise all those programming concepts regularly and commit some time every day for coding.
Also, when you practice a lot you become familiar with the syntax of the programming language which is quite beneficial.
Build Logic and Be a Problem Solver!
In the end, Programming is all about solving a specific problem so after getting comfortable with the programming languages and writing codes, now you have to start thinking like a programmer. You have to train your brain to think logically for the problem-solving approach. You have to prepare yourself to tackle complex problems and provide an efficient solution for it. You should try to write your logic for each problem and if you find any error in your approach, try to find it and fix it. Apart from the existing problems, you must try to put together your ideas to develop something new and innovative.
When you start to build logic on your own then you understand more convincingly that how things work and why something does not work (And this is one of the best traits of being a Self-Taught Programmer!). To more enhance your problem-solving skills, you can also opt for competitive programming. There are many platforms where you can practice for competitive programming such as GeeksforGeeks, TopCoder, etc.
So after following the above approaches, you can now consider yourself in a state of developing any minor project (even major too!). Yes, you must know to implement all those functionalities and algorithms to solve real-time problems. Building a project is very crucial as it validates your knowledge & programming skills and boosts up your confidence. Also, it helps to land up you a programmer job in top software giants. You can start to build projects from some of the basic ones such as a Text Editor or a Calculator or Snake / Chess Game or any other.
Before starting to build a project, you must analyze it in detail such as the goal and objectives of the projects and other aspects. Analyze some existing projects of your domain also and identify if any loophole or something is missing in those projects. Then create a well to do plan about the project requirements such as technical skills, tools, modules to be created, etc. Finally, get started with the project and yes, try to break the whole project into smaller modules it will be very feasible.
After all the above discussion, one best thing you must have found about Self-Taught Programming is that you are not bounded by any barrier whether it be any time limit or any specific curriculum or any other. You are free to dive, the deeper you want in the world of programming as no one is there to stop you! Yes, in this journey of self-taught programming, you will fail many times and you have to put a lot of hard work and effort into the process. But, the destination of this journey is unbeaten! Remember one thing, whichever path you choose either it is Self-Taught Programming or any degree/course, success always depends upon hard work and if you will give your best, you will definitely succeed.
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