06 September 2011

Tips: Ways To Improve Programming Skills

Improve Your Programming Skills
A Student Approach Scope
Before I begin to share the adventure in Programming World, it is important to note and to place it into student perspective. Exploring the Exciting World of Programming has never been new. With these tips i just hope that you will learn something and be inspired to write codes in such a way -- you are enjoying it.

Are you an IT Student? Whether you are or not, it is not important here. But i ts a PLUS on Information Technology students to read this article. By the way, im an IT student too and was graduated last 2010 in a prestige school (Mindano University of Science and Technology - School of Excellent in Engineering and Technology). So i know the feeling in programming difficulties. To begin with:

Ways improve your programming skills

1. Know and analyze your goals
Of course, before you write codes, you should know what is your goals. Creating a program that does not have a goal is pointless. Think on what you are going to achieve. 

Examples: 
  • you need to create a program that will determine if it is a leap year.
  • a game that you want to play like tic-tac-toe
  • a webpage that will display random pictures and quotes
  • you could make a VIRUS script! Sounds Fun huh? :)
With these goals in mind, you are now equipped and ready to create a program. But since it is primarily for the students, you should create programs that your instructor wants to do it to you. A great way to improve your programs are keen analysis and observations. :)

2. Familiar with the Syntax of Programming Languages

Syntax is the set of rules that define the combinations of symbols that are considered to be correctly (1)structured programs in that language. Its all about on how programs look, their form and structure.

You dont need to memorize all commands in that particular programming language. Just Familiar Common syntax that you really used most. And be sure to know the if statements, the loop structures and other common syntax.

3. Practice, Practice and Practice
With this procedure, you can learn some techniques and able to master a certain task that need a particular code to make it work. In my experiences, way back when i was a student, when i got home i usually create programs in a paper--no kidding. At that time, i didnt have a PC yet. In my 4th year as an IT student, my aunt bought me a PC. Wow thanks! I can now play and play! HAHA. Anyways,  So i really HAND WRITE a code in a piece of paper.

Handwrite Coding: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Trap the code while make a flow through
  • Determines the error while rechecking it
  • Easier Analyze in paper rather than in monitor LCDs
Cons
  • Consumes time because you need to rewrite it in the screen
  • Realtime/interactive errors cannot determine well
I love these quotes:
  1. I have not failed, i have thousand ways to make it work
  2. Every Expert was once an amateur
4. Write Codes with COMMENTS
Comments are very powerful technique that in the later coding process you will know and refresh your mind with that line commented. When i wrote a script especially a function i usually included comments that will tell what it does in a certain line of codes. 

Yes, because in my experienced, i really did not put comments in my programs and then if i will have to go on my previous program and wanted to edit it, i really got upset and need to reanalyze the codes which makes use of time. So by that reason, Comments are really a MUST! 

However, there's a quote that stated: 
"Real programmers don't comment! It was hard to write, It should be hard to read!".
Okay, that may have a point. But practically, we need to understand the codes itself for better optimization and robust softwares. 

5. Read other Codes
I'm not saying that you really need to copy codes from other programmer out there. the thing is: you should have get an idea from that particular programmer. Yes, reading and understand the programs of others can improve your skills too. Take note: you don't have to copy everything, however, if you put all the script then you should put also the license details by the author.

6. Research on error messages
You are confident to compile and run your first program and yes -- you programmed it with lots of effort and time and then you will just see an error messages. Frustrating right? Even in well-programmed application it is still have some bugs or errors that will surely occur. All programs are not 100% perfect if you have noticed programs have updates to improve the program and fixes the bugs encountered. Some errors which includes and might be Syntax Error, Run time Error or a so-called: User Generated Bug of Yours :) 

So how to resolve it? Just simply copy the error message and paste it in Google or other search engines. Using this technique really helps you a lot. Why? Because as you search for it, you will find good answer and you will know on how to solve your error messages. Sounds Interesting right? Go try it for yourself for proof. ^_^

7. Write simpler task not the whole system
When your instructor made a project for you and you need to finish it within a months, you will think and plan it to create a system as a whole. Mind you, if you will do this, you might end a less-important system for you will keep on revising and remaking your codes. And not saying, it is not good, what im trying to say is that as a Newbie just like me...you need to make it in a simpler function or a specific task.

To illustrate: When you are making a SALES and INVENTORY SYSTEM, you need to extract some pieces and put it as a whole. To understand well, create one specific task or function and embed it in a whole program. Just like: reorder_point() -- a function that will test the reorder point of a certain product. And here, you should add this to its main program.

8. Be inspired!
Yes, creating a program you loved is much better than of that have some problems in your feelings. Im not saying you should have a partner, no. Perhaps it is better if you really like what you are doing. And it brings folds of success. LOVE your WORK!

CONCLUSION:
Okay, are you tired in reading? haha.. i guess you are but with your scanning reading capabilities. I sense that you have learn a lesson.

I hope you will inspired and learned something with these tips. Basically, these tips are of my experienced as an IT Student. Im not that expert programmer but i can do programs/softwares and it depends on the need of the clients.

And by the way, i got high grades in my programming subjects. Java, C, PHP, VB,FoxPro

Take note: each programming tasks will challenge your creative mind as well as your programming skills. Good Luck! And i hope you will have your programs be bugs-free! :)

SOrry for my english..i need to proofread it in other day! hehe :)

Unlock Your Creativity | Unwinds 
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