10 Deadly Mistakes to Avoid When Learning Java
To code or not to code?
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To code or not to code? It seems that you’ve made your choice in favor of the first option. Programming is a great field for professional growth. It gives you an opportunity to take part in interesting projects and work wherever you want. The only obstacle that restrains many beginners from starting a new career is the lack of understanding of how exactly they should learn to code. What’s more important is that even the best universities can’t fully provide a complete programming education that will guarantee a stark career as a software developer. This is because programming is too dynamic and flexible: once you start learning, you better do it for the rest of your life.
Some programmers say that they had to try learning how to code a few times before finally reaching their goal. Yes, we all learn by mistakes, but you’ll be surprised how many common lapses there are in mastering this skill.
Troubleshooting Your Learning Experience
If you’re determined to learn Java, here are few useful thoughts for you.
1. Too Much Research, too Little Practice
Here’s what happens when you try to learn to code the ordinary way. All of us are used to studying by reading books: the thicker the book, the more knowledge you will get, right? Sorry, this is not the case for programming. A lack of practice in coding is fatal. Just start coding. Start from the first day of your studies and practice every single day. You won’t learn to box or dance by watching videos. And you won’t get confident in coding unless you make it a daily habit.
2. Endless Studying Without a Certain Goal
Some students, despite their age, simply love to learn. It’s the process, not the result, that they aim for. Of course, it’s always great to broaden your scope, but you will probably agree that there’s no point in wasting hundreds (if not thousands of hours) to get a trendy hobby.
In coding, even if sometimes it’s tough for you, you simply love it or not. Developers that code just to earn more money won’t get hired by Google or other big-name software company because programming is simply not their vocation. Likewise, if it’s your passion, but you’re not ready to practice every day, programming might also not be for you.
3. Trying to Reach Too Many Technologies at Once
Software development is a deep ocean of data and tools. If you try to learn everything that pops up and seems interesting, you might get stuck at the beginning totally confused. This is why you need a certain plan that, in your case, includes Java Core coding projects plus programming tools. It will also help you avoid the risk of being a lifelong learner and set your education in a defined timeframe.
4. Making Gaps in Your Education
Remember that “code every day” motto of learning Java? Good. Think about it every time you have a lure to skip a few days of study. Taking a break as a beginner is more dangerous than it seems. You start a new subject and it refers to the previous material, which you already don’t remember at all. Such surprising “amnesia” will constantly hold you back, so do your best to move forward without any breaks.
5. Thinking That the Only Thing You Need to Start Coding Is Knowing Java
A language is a tool in the hands of a skilled creator. Some might say that you need to be brilliant at math to learn to code — no, you don’t. But knowing how to write the code won’t make you a programmer, either. Programming requires plenty of other skills: a strong logic, problem-solving skills, and the ability to visualize a structure and sequence of processes. An experienced programmer doesn’t start to write code before thinking through the logic of a solution.
6. Getting Stuck on the Tough Pieces of Theory
Often, there’s no direct correlation between the amount of time that you spend on the tasks or research and the successfulness of this action. When you learn Java, persistence is important in solving tasks or making sense of a fresh topic. But sometimes, you need to move on to get at the heart of your problem (later). A bit of friendly advice: don’t try to memorize code or delve too deep in “how the things work” in coding. In Java, many processes run automatically, so you can focus on the intuitive feel of programming and getting even more skilled.
7. Ignoring the Importance of a Readable Code
When you learn to program, your first priority is to make that code work. Here’s why beginners don’t pay much attention to readable code with clear comments, which could be “decrypted” in the future.
Here’s what most of the experienced programmers come across. When they find their first code, they don’t feel nostalgic. They try to understand what in the world those lines mean and exactly what they are trying to accomplish. You will learn in due course how to write readable code but only if you make an effort.
8. Not Testing Your Code Regularly
Sad, but true — your code won’t always work as it was intended to. Be sure to check it regularly and don’t let the subsequent errors pile up. Instead of exhausting debugging and figuring out what and when it's gone wrong, you’ll deal with the smaller amount of problems on each stage.
9. Learning Java All Alone
With so many online tools and sources for successful learning, you can easily become a self-educated programmer. One thing that’s missing is real communication. Your education would be much more effective if you join the community as soon as possible. For example, Coderanch and Stack Overflow forums have large discussion threads for Java programmers. Also, there’s an Oracle Java Community, which prompts newcomers and experienced developers to join the Java Forum and follow updates from Oracle Java bloggers. Lastly, the Java community on Reddit has more than 107k people.
10. Thinking There Will Be the Day When You Know Everything
Listen to more experienced colleagues as a junior developer and never stop learning. Programming is a field with constant upgrades, features, and technologies that you need to grasp to stay a sought-after specialist.
The Revealed Secrets of Successful Java Learning
Now when you know “the demons” you may have to fight with, you’re almost ready to commence. Ok, five more minutes, my friend. Here are some practical bits of advice to “adjust” your learning.
Schedule your education and minimize distractions. Create a plan and spare the time for learning daily. This will be your time strictly for building a bright future, not for chatting or tweeting :)
CODE EVERY DAY. No matter what, practice every day and use tools to help you improve programming skills. Learning Java programming is useless without the real coding, which takes at least three times as much as theoretical researches. You’ll find a few sources for an effective and entertaining coding below.
Ask the right questions. It’s okay to get help from developers community if you need a hint. Be sure to ask the specific questions instead of “something went wrong, can you help?”. You will become more confident if you’ll be a part of the programmes’ team. Read media, join discussions on Stack Overflow and Coderanch forums, make virtual friends on coding courses and work on complicated projects together.
Make your work visible. Create a portfolio and give others a chance to see your work. You don’t code for yourself, right? Let alone you need a portfolio to get your first job as a Java developer.
Continue learning every day, even after you succeed. Learning might be hard. Here’s why many stop trying right before it “clicks”. But you’ll have all the chances to succeed with the right planning, friendly environment, the right tools, desire to learn and motivation.
Altogether, today you have the widest choice of sources: Java blogs, guides, tutorials, courses, coding “battlefields”. So just take them in the right proportions, mix your educational “cocktail” and take the first sip :)
Where to Train Your Java Skills
No matter what kind of education you choose — video lectures, offline studying with an experienced mentor, online courses or self-education by reading books and guides — you need hundreds of hours of practice to become a confident and skilled Java developer. There’s no such thing as too much practice in coding. Luckily, there are plenty of tools to make this process entertaining.
1. The sources for coding in multiple languages:
CodeAcademy — learn to code by coding.
The education on CodeAcademy includes practical tasks from the first lesson. Of course, they are very simple at the beginning not to scare anyone off, but gradually they become more complicated. Try to find the solution by yourself, and if it’s kind of tough, just click on the useful hints right at the taskbar or go to the FAQ section. It can be a good complementary tool in learning Java to sharpen your programming skills, but you’ll need other sources for learning key concepts;
Codewars — join the coding competition.
Try Codewars when you learn the fundamentals and become more confident at coding. This is an online platform where you can compete with other programmers and sharpen your skills of coding in numerous programming languages. You can write your solutions in a browser and check them step by step, code individually, or tackle the tasks in a group. The more tasks you solve, the more you get.
2. Strictly for learning a practicing Java: CodeGym.cc
Sometimes, it’s hard to will yourself into studying unless someone inspires you. CodeGym is one of those online studying platforms that uses gamification to make your learning experience exciting. The course is divided into four quests with a general futuristic storyline and unique characters. Each quest includes ten levels. Each level is up to 10-13 lessons plus dozens of practical tasks. Like CodeAcademy, it includes coding from the first lesson through web IDE. Everything’s easy: read the task, write your solution, and click the “check” button to immediately get your result. Unlike other coding exercises, it offers clear explanations of Java theory, so it’s handy for the total beginners.
Mix the sources, but keep the right balance between research and practice. And good luck to you chasing your goals, of course :)
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