Oct 242012
 October 24, 2012  Posted by at 10:50 pm Not So Stupid Questions  Add comments

[To celebrate my first year of programming I will ask a ‘stupid’ questions daily on my blog for a year, to make sure I learn at least 365 new things during my second year as a developer]

What on piece of advice would you give newcomers?

What on piece of advice would you give newcomers?

Today I’m doing a session at a private university for java developers. I’m very excited about this! The students are on their first year, and many are like I was a year ago, completely new to the world of programming. I’ve been told some of them are a bit dishearten, as we all get from time to time, and some feel like they don’t understand anything and things feels miserable and hopeless. I sure hope I can give some energy and inspiration, and I am looking forward to learn things from them and I am very thankful they are having me. Before I go there today, I thought it would be great to ask the wonderful community out there, what one piece of advice would you give newcomers?

Write your position, and if you don’t mind your name being public, your name as well.

Here is my number one advice:

Don’t panic!

– Iris Classon, developer 15 months 🙂

  19 Responses to “Stupid Question 66: What one piece of advice would you give first year developers?”

  1. This sounds silly, but you should learn how to read documentation for the language you’re learning. Programmers are in a constant state of learning the latest and greatest updates to the technologies that they have to employ to perform the work they must do everyday. We spend more time reading code than writing code, as well as reading documentation for different libraries. Becoming familiar with language reference documentation will help you to find your way around a language and its API library. The sooner you become intimately familiar with the documentation and how to read it the easier it will be to learn new and different parts of your chosen language. But most of all, be patient in the process, it gets much easier with time and experience.

  2. Things often seem harder than they really are. I’ve been in this business for 15+ years now and still get intimidated from time to time by some new technologies. In nearly every case things always seemed harder than they really are though. After a little practice I almost always look back and wonder why I felt intimidated at all by a given technology.

  3. Making mistakes and not understanding means you are learning something new. Don’t be sad or ashamed of the fact that you are learning. If you share your mistakes that will probably help someone else avoid them, and probably help them help you see ways to solve it. I hope you are still making mistakes, and correcting them, in one, five and ten more years.

  4. If you think that after the first year in development you are not “new to the programming world” you have another thing coming .]

    My advice would be – don’t choose the easy way. Look for the right one.

  5. Not necessarily encouraging pieces of advice, but 2 things I wish I’d learned in school:

    Software engineering is much more than just programming.

    Software engineering is both easier and harder than you think it is. One of the hardest parts is recognizing the difference between the two.

  6. Take your time and understand the basics, it will pay off in the long run. Know the difference between common data structures and algorithms. Frameworks is a “flavor of the month”-kind of thing. Learn, unlearn and relearn, don’t be a zealot =D. If you really into programming, try learning a new language each year.

    Joakim “Kimmen” Rosendahl – Studied Computer Science, working as a .net consultant in Stockholm.

  7. Never be afraid to ask!

  8. The top advise I’ve been giving starting developers for the past 20 years: Learn how to type. The greatest crimes in programming are committed by those trying to save a couple keystrokes.

  9. Don’t get locked into thinking a single programming language is the answer to everything. Don’t become a zealot. Be open-minded and don’t listen to anyone who tells you that language X is better than language Y.

  10. If you don’t understand something, ask questions!
    There is always someone who knows the answer. Don’t see that as a failure, but as an opportunity. And keep in mind that all of them were also in your shoes once upon a time.

  11. My advice
    Don’t forget you will also be working with people: Learning from them, teaching them, working with them, working for them, taking instructions, communicating, working in teams, motivating others and being motivated by others, occasionally getting annoyed by some and also getting enthused by some.

    So, try to develop your people skills as well as the technical ones – they are just as important and maybe even more so.

  12. […] Stupid Question 66: What one piece of advice would you give first year developers? (Iris Classon) […]

  13. I’m new to developing but after university (all in Java). I’d say learn the fundamentals, not the syntax. Learn concepts meaning, and how they work, don’t worry about the language, once you have the concepts down, you can pick up most languages!

    And always to become proficient in a specific language you need to code in that language!

  14. Use StackOverflow! Don’t just ask questions on there, but take the time to research and answer questions. You learn a lot more that way. Plus you have built-in feedback!

  15. Remember that you’re not really coding for the computer. You’re coding for the next person who has to maintain the code. This could be you next month or someone else entirely next year. So code, just like human language, has to be comprehensible. As with spoken or written English, it’s easy to vomit reams of poorly organized thought. Simple, easily understood language takes hard work. But if you ever have to look at that code again, you’ll thank yourself later.

  16. It’s funny I just did a blog post on this very topic a few weeks ago. And the best part – you were referenced in it. 🙂


  17. […] Here is the summary of all the great answers I got within a 24 h I have sent the result to the students I did the session for, and I have to say,- they really needed this. They were so extremely happy to hear that there are so many devs out there that want them to do well,- the students were on their second month programming and feeling quite low. I could see how their spirits were raised as they realized how much all of you care. In a few years, and maybe even earlier, we will meet these devas at UG, conferences, at work, at a party- and we will so happy for the knowledge they can share with us and we will be happy that we encouraged them. I learned a lot just talking to the students, one day or two months or 20 years, there is always so much to learn. I never stop being amazed at how wonderful people are and how much there is to learn! #MakesMeHappy […]

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