I remember my first programming assignment in University like it was yesterday. I was suppose to be able to write a program that outputted "Hello World". I had no idea what I was doing and I was so overwhelmed by my other subjects to be able to figure out how to program. Sometimes I learned it though, but the concepts just became more and more difficult and and times it just seemed hopeless. So I want to avoid you the pain I went through and show you simple ways to get you started programming and learn how to do it properly from the beginning.
Tip # 1
Programming is Not like any other subject:
Most subjects you have in University will most likely involve formulas, memorizing and homework problems. Programming is a little different. You have to actually practice in order for you to learn it properly. You have to able to actually sit on the chair, face a computer and do the labs and then you will understand the concepts better. In fact, the whole point of the concepts in the first place is to get you to code better. For example, if you have memory leaks in C ++, the best way to figure why you those leaks happened is to trace through the pointers. Now the only way to do this is to understand pointers.
Tip # 2
Plan Out What You're Going to Program:
This is really important because you will save yourself about a thousand mistakes when you're compiling your code. Make sure you have a clear understanding of your assignment first, the concepts that have to do with it and then start writing it down on a piece of paper. I personally do not like pseudo code because to me that counts as coding. Just write it in plain words. Programming assignments are problems and you have to solve them. Think about the solution and then write it down. Once you write it down, it just comes down to coding.
Tip # 3
Compile Your Code as you write it:
Do not make the rookie mistake of writing your entire code and then trying to reconcile it. If there's anything I've learned from my years of programming is that you have to do it in chunks. Make sure one part works before you get started working on another or you're in for a big disaster my friend. This will help you so much in narrowing down any problems. Trust me, if you're coding, then you're going to have a lot of problems and you're going to be debugging a lot. That's just the reality of it. At the end though, when you have a working program, you'll never have felt better about yourself and your accomplishment. Your code is your baby and you bought it into this world.
So remember, learn the concepts and then ditch the textbooks. Start learning programming properly and start doing some labs that will actually help you. I look forward to hearing your success in programming and the future of being a good coder will get you a salary in the six figures. Do not overlook it and work hard.