If you want to learn how to code, taking your first steps into this huge universe might be a bit daunting and very overwhelming at first. Apart from that anywhere you look there are a lot of free resources to help you learn to code. But at the same time there’s availability of so much information you would want to consume as much as you can but at the end of the day, you feel like you’re not getting closer to become a programmer. Or maybe you came in with the mindset of making lots of money as a programmer, one month, two months you realize no money is coming in, in fact, you are spending more on data, and so on.

Why do you want to Learn Programming?

I am not saying there is no money in programming. There is but you must struggle, strive, be patient, and persevere. Takes years of practice and focus to earn your stripe. So take a few minutes (or a day) to think about the reasons like the real reasons why you want to learn a programming language. And I am emphasizing the fact that you have to be very HONEST with yourself.

Are you trying to learn the barest minimum to score a promotion? Are you looking to make a big career change? Do you want to create the next greatest app? Thrill your roommates by programming your various smart devices to do something awesome?

This is important because your answer can help determine which programming language(s) you should master, as well as what sort of commitment (in time and money) your goal may require. I do not want to get too much into this, you may take a moment to read my article on:

  1. A Career in Software Development.
  2. Which Programming Language should I learn first?

Why I am Here?

So if I am not trying to help you find a programming language to focus on, then what is this article about? you may ask. Well hopefully, you have decided on a programming language you want to learn and have figured out your WHY? In this article, I want to share with you 5 to 6 tips on the best way to learn and master an online programming course. 

1. Do Not Code Along

As you watch a course from one lesson to another, some of us tend to watch and try to type the code along as they watch pausing the video from time to time to catch up, which is called CODE ALONG. Despite the fact that it is an intuitive way of learning but the best way to do it is instead of watching the video and frantically trying to type along with the instructor. Why not just watch the particular video first and try to understand what is going on, and also understand the purpose of the code?

Once you understand what the codes are about, and what the tutorial itself is trying to teach you. Then you go to your own computer and peacefully type out the code replicating what you not only learned but understood well.  This tip may look like a complete waste of time but will really help you a lot. 

We are learning to program not learning how to type fast. Copying code from the tutorial as fast as you can really won’t help you learn to code. So take your time instead of just copying the code this tip will teach and force you to understand the code. And also absorb the content, helping you test yourself when you come to try it. 

2. Take Notes

While you listen to the video trying to understand what is going on. I’ll recommend you start taking few notes you can easily come back to in the future. This will also help you a lot when you are trying to remember what to type and the theory behind the code. So write lots of hints, reminders, and important keywords.

3. Don’t Skip a Lesson

If you find the video super fast, you can take your time to lower the speed. If you are re-watching or it is a concept you already know,  you can still watch and double the speed. But the goal is never to skip a lesson because the tutorial/course usually build on the previous and once you skip you lose balance and find it difficult to understand the next lesson or future lesson.

4. Review

If you find any point where the tutorial/course begins to get harder for you. And they are surely going to get harder. Do not panic just bookmark that lesson. Try to watch over and over again to digest and understand. If you still don’t get it then you might want to read around that topic and come back to it after days and hopefully, it will get easier. 

5. Practice

Keep it up and continue to put in hours of practice. You are not in a race or in a competition with anyone, just take your time. Our problem is we want to get done very quickly and we end up overwhelmed. You can learn something Superficial by just watching the video practicing it for some hours and come back days later to realize you can’t remember anything. So in other to master any skill it requires a lot of focus, patience, and perseverance. And it is important to practice a lot.

6. You will get Stuck

You will and you must get stuck because everybody at some point in programming got stuck. In fact, even experts spend most of their time trying to figure out what went wrong and why is it really not working? So don’t panic if you get stuck because it is a universal problem in programming. I would advise you not to get frustrated just embrace it, love it, and enjoy it.

So when you get stuck just go to Google or stack Overflow try to see how others solved it because 99% of the time you are not the first to encounter the problem.  And once you figure out and fix it you improve a level-up the skill. No one has it all figured out.

I hope you find this beneficial and I wish you the very best in your programming journey. Thank you!