Another decade in the books and as we close out the year, we are all hopefully looking for ways to improve our skills in the year to come.If you are just getting into coding, then the following are a few tips that you should follow in 2020 to learn better, faster and more efficiently.
1. Sticking to one tech stack
You don't normally learn German, French and Italian all at once. You can spend years on each language learning the subtle nuances. And only move ahead to another once you have a need for it. The same is true with working with various tech stacks. The idea that learning every single stack under the sun will make you a coding powerhouse (while cool sounding) isn't very realistic.
Once you decide on a stack that you have the equipment for and are comfortable with learning, stick with that stack and that stack alone. Sure, in your free time maybe you want to read about some other similar technology, but make that more of a reference assignment for yourself. I meet way too many young programmers who spend 1-2 months working with React and Express and then decide (with limited knowledge) that there is some better alternative.
The truth is there isn't a better alternative. There is only your current skill level at what you are learning. And 2 months working with React does not warrant your ability to judge that stack in any way.
2. Practical vs theoretical
This is why I always promote the idea of building something hand in hand with learning. Something as simple as a basic portfolio page with a hero section, multiple pages and contact form has a wealth of knowledge. And not only do you get to be hands on and really learn how the concepts that you are learning work in the real world, but you get to have a product at the end.
This is true for any field of course. Work experience is always more valuable than book experience, because you have been there and done that. Whereas the book knowledge may or may not work or be valid, depending on the year of the book and whether it was accurate or not.
And if you are a theory kind of person, then just be sure to intersperse your research with some form of practical application, even if it's just coding drills that you perform daily in order to build muscle memory.
3. Participate in a community
There has never been as much content (most of it free) at our disposal as there is today. Billions of webpages of knowledge can be accessed through various means that cost us cents per day. And more and more are getting created daily.
This blog in a sense is its own community. Thousands of people visit this website monthly and leave a like, a comment or ask me a question directly which I am more than happy to answer. Some questions even become future blog posts that can help out other folks with similar questions.
And it really is that easy to join a community. It can start with a single comment, but who knows where it can lead you and your education. You might meet other programmers at your skill level with similar interests or you might be inspired to create your own community as well.
So there you have it. These are 3 basic action items that anyone can (and should) follow in 2020 in order to strengthen their coding muscle. They were chosen by me purposefully to not have any type of restrictions to them. You can follow any of these at any point in time and I assure you that they will help you to reduce distractions in your learning, to retain more concepts and to get you to interact more with a community.
Walter Guevara is a software engineer, startup founder and currently teaches programming for a coding bootcamp. He is currently building things that don't yet exist.
New articles published each week. Sign up for my newsletter and stay up to date.