Learning to code is not at all easy. You may find many websites that try to push people into coding by citing it as an easy trade to master. However, it is one of the hardest skills to gather and excel at. It is more of an experimentation than a guide that needs to be followed.

As a beginner, you may want to know what the journey holds, or what it’s like to progress from beginner to intermediate level. Learning experiences may vary from person to person, and you are completely free to choose your own path.

Here are 5 things you should know before you start programming. Knowing these points will give you a head start of what to expect, and how to approach programming.

1 Get the basics right

When you start learning, the first thing you need to be sure of are the“basics”. It is the first step of becoming a coding ninja.

To get the basics right, you need to learn the core of computer science, just like any other trade you will come across. There are currently hundreds of online courses aimed at beginners. Clearly, the internet cares about beginners, and provide tons of information — a beginner’s heaven!

All you need to do is search through them, and start with one that the best fits your requirements.

2. Build patience

The number one prerequisite for being successful as a programmer is building patience. Patience can let you take blows to your chin yet still be able to stand up – like a ninja! It makes you ready for disappointments.

Not to mention, patience can help you become a better problem-solver, and improve your understanding of computers.

Computer concepts are complex and require resilience, patience, and hard work to understand. Most of the time, beginners don’t have the right expectations when starting their programming journey. Yes, you don’t come with all the power at the beginning. Too much optimism is dangerous anyways.

Due to faulty expectations, too many beginners just give up, and move to another trade. To counter this, you should build patience, and always think of the end goal.

3. Set a goal & move towards it

Goal-setting can be a powerful, motivational booster on your path to learning to code. If you are planning, for example, to learn PHP, then set a goal to do a simple project by the end of the week. Once the goal is achieved, set another goal, and repeat the cycle. Yes, it is that easy!

There is no end to learning and improvement in programming, and that’s why it is a good idea to keep setting goals, and not to lose track of your primary goal.

So, as a learner, what goals you can aim for? Let’s quickly go through some sample goals:

  • Build a calculator using CSS and JavaScript
  • Create a responsive website using HTML, CSS and JavaScript
  • Create a dynamic website using any back-end programming languages, such as PHP, Ruby, Python, etc.
  • Create a dynamic website using any back-end programming languages, such as PHP, Ruby, Python, etc.

You can also choose to do any project of your liking. Who doesn’t have a unique taste after all? I bet you do!

The goal should be achievable, so don’t try to focus on building Facebook or creating a fully-featured game at this particular moment. Try to move slowly, and then aim for bigger and more complex projects as you progress further.

4. Do more projects

By doing more projects, you can understand not only your limitations, but also improve your analytical and problem-solving skills. After all, learning to code is not all about learning syntax, but about learning how to solve problems using the tools at your hand.

Programming also requires a creative outlook, and a plan to build something meaningful. For beginners, it is tough to get access to projects ideas.

You can sign up for GitHub, a place where you can store your code for easy access. You can try to find project ideas by going through other public repositories for the programming language you are learning.

5. Get into social coding

Learning to code is never a solo quest. If you are thinking of building the next big app without any help, then you are in the wrong trade.

Programming is a group activity, and if you want to survive, you need to get help from different social platforms catering to programmers just like you.

Check out GitHub, or any other social coding site to find a suitable community for yourself.

Each of the communities mentioned above has its own perks, and will help you improve your skills. For example, you can explore public project repositories on GitHub.

Another good example is Livecoding, where you can see other people code their projects live, giving you an idea of the challenges a programmer faces while working on a project.