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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Transiting from a beginner to an intermediate computer programmer

Many programming authors are not interested in the intermediate level or class of programmers as many literature focus on both beginners and advance programming skills. This article will suggest tips that can help in transiting from beginner to intermediate cadre.

1. Learning another programming language
The type of language you learn doesn't matter but any other language will do you good and make you a better programmer. This can be significantly beneficial if you learn a language that is totally different from the ones you use on regular basis. The more programming language you learn the more your ability towards becoming a programming guru.

2. Develop your search techniques
To become a good programmer is a function of your ability to finding information or references that will assist you in your programming tasks.In order to get quality information online from your favourite search engine you need to acquire advance search techniques. Your approach to a particular search and knowing what to look for is another skill to be developed by any programmer that may be researching the Internet for references for his or her programming tasks; while the search engine to be adopted for a better result is also necessary. References or information that can help in making you a better programmer are readily available online all you need is the required skills to access them.

3. Assist Others
As you help others by teaching them on the best programming practices you are indirectly launching yourself into programming limelight as it is very difficult for someone to teach what he or she does not understand. It is also good to share what you have learnt from others with another set of audience as no one can be regarded as an island of knowledge. The more you teach others in a field the more proficient you will be in that area of human endeavours be it programming or non-programming.

4. Practice make Perfection
Rome they say was not built in a day; to become an expert in programming is not a day job. Research has shown that it takes about ten (10) years or ten (10) to twenty (20) thousand hours of constant practice to become an expert. This will entails a lot of time and energy dedicated to reading, coding & debugging and practicing in your spare time. It is like an investment that will translate into a lot of profit as you keep the pace as you grow in your programming career.

5. Respect the Opinion of others
As a beginner never claim opinions of others to be yours, so as not to be the tool of your set back as you advance in your career as a programmer. Relate well with experts and obtain seasoned information that can help your career growth and guide against following instructions from some experts who really don't know what they are doing.

6. Become an authority in one area of programming development
Even if you are a beginner in application development using a programming language of your choice try to become proficient in at least one aspect in the development cycle. It may be in user interface design, database design or coding. This will easily get you into intermediate cadre and leading you into being an expert.

7. Learn the fundamentals of your language
If you study the rudiments of your programming language you will be in the best position to explain why your codes are working the way they do and this will also assist you in identifying errors when things go wrong. For instance, if you use database tools, take a look at the underlying SQL it generates.

8. Study Codes written by experts
If you have senior colleagues in your place of work or you have access to the code of experts in open source projects; examine their mode or style of writing code in order to build yourself up. It is good to be very careful not to blindly adopt bad practice as you embark on this advise.The wisdom here is not to just imitate the expert but to learn how things works and how you can also apply them in your own way to get even better result.

9. Learn International best practice in programming
Every profession have its code of conduct or ethics, so it is in programming parlance. Endeavour to learn all internationally accepted best practice in programming that will portray you a better programmer rather than an unserious or a care free coder due to lack of following lay down guides in a particular programming language.

10. Your interest matters
In any human endeavours interest is very essential in achieving the required goal. For you to enjoy your job as a programmer your interest in this field is very important as lack of interest on your part will make the work look boring and tiring. If you don't like your work as a beginner it will be very difficult to transit to intermediate level while on the other hand if you love what you are doing; getting to the top of the ladder in programming field is very possible as you will be a better programmer, it is just a matter of time.

With these above highlighted suggestion you can transit from a beginner programmer to an intermediate towards being a computer programming guru.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Beginners Guide to a Successful Programming Career

Computer programming is regarded as one of the complex area of specialization in the information technology world. Sometime it is said that "programming is for the men and not for the boys". Programming has been my hubby for about ten(10) years now and learning how to effectively solve a problem using codes has not been very easy due to lack of adequate guidance. I want to use this article to reach out to those that may want to go into programming the right thing in order to have a fruitful programming career.

The following ideas or tips will help in launching a beginner in computer program on the right footing:

1. Database Management Systems (DBMS)
It is important to note that most of computer application today whether window or web are living application where the user will need to interact with the application. DBMS are used for the back-end of most computer software nowadays. As a potential programmer you should have a little knowledge of these DBMS; the most used or common by experts are:

i. Oracle Database System;
ii. Microsoft SQL Server;
iii.MYSQL; and
iv. Microsoft Access for Beginners.

2. Start Programming with a language that is Friendly
It is also recommended that you select a computer language that will assist you in learning such as joining their forums or communities where there are other experienced programmers in the language that will be ready to put you through. This will afford you the opportunity of learn the language culture, the best practices and how to get the most out of asking for help.

3. Have a Programming Partner
As one of the best practices in the programming world it is good to pair for an agile software development. The importance of pair programming cannot be overemphasized. It allows the two programmer to divide their responsibilities and the issue of stress coding can also be taken care off as while one is on the key board coding the other is on another task that may be stressful and vice versa.

4. Choose a Mentor
There are many programming languages with a lot of experienced coders in all the languages. If you are a beginner get a mentor among friends, co-workers, and in a forum or community online. In a school setting getting a mentor can be done in an easy way such in a form of tutors or lecturers who you cherish for his prowess in the language of your choice, course mate, hostel mate and a kind of give-and-take mentoring relationship. If you are opportune to get a good mentor seize the opportunity to explore it and get best out of it.

5. Share your projects with Others
For others to evaluate your codes it is good to post it in your blog or website or in a forum to encourage others and for correction by expert on how to make you a better programmer. Make sure you open a means at which feed backs on your codes can get to you after it has been accessed by your online friends or partners.

Don't be scared start programming today!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Choosing a Programming Language to Learn

Settling down for a new programming language might be very difficult for a potential computer programmer due to varieties of languages readily available and waiting to be explored. This write up will provide you with appropriate questions that will guide your selection process when it come to choosing the best language that suits you.
Therefore, answering the following stated questions will assist you in making valuable decision that will meet your needs:

i. Why am I Learning a programming language?
The reason why people adopt or select programming languages to learn differs and this ranges from just learning the fundamentals to becoming a career person in the field of computer programming. If your goal is to become an instructor of computer programming then there is need for you to understand all the rudiments of computer programming in depth. However, if you intend to build a career in programming as application developer; your selection of a language will be informed by the market demands on certain language or programming skills that is seen on organization advertisements as regards computer programmers or developers recruitment. But if learning the language is just for fun or hubby it is then advised that you choose any language of your choice without any consideration.

ii. What are my plans for Learning the Language?
It is important to note that your planning on how to achieve effective learning of the language is a function of the language of your choice and availability of resources to learn it without stress. A programming language with good documentation is the best for you especially if you are a beginner as it will aid your level of comprehension of the language. Determining the medium of learning is also part of planning, is it going to be through online classroom or it will be a face-to-face classroom setting? Considering availabilities of resources both soft and hard copies that will aid speedy understanding of the language is also important. Can I go to the Internet and have access to unlimited learning resources on my chosen programming language? All these considerations will assist you in adequate planning towards easy learning of any programming languages.

iii. What tools, libraries and framework compatible with my programming Language?
There are many mode or style of programming from a specialized IDE to basic text editor mode; but in whatever pattern of your choice make sure that there are tools, libraries and framework readily available to support your future needs as regards computer programming or development.

iv. What type of application do I intend building?
Some programming languages are better than others when it comes to development of some particular applications. Research on ready made application that is similar to the one you intend building and determine what programming language used by their developers as well as why those languages were chosen. This step will assist you in making the right decision about the language you should learn.

v. What is my willingness to learn a non-mainstream Language?
Specializing only on programming languages that are not popular is not a problem but this may restrict your job choices or even risk you being redundant if you are already employed since demand for them is not frequent as the popular programming languages. In another perspective, you may end up finding yourself on the path to becoming a highly paid specialist consultant. So, every language you learn have their own advantages even if you don't use it in your day-to-day tasks.

Conclusively, learning a new language can be very rewarding but care must be taking so as not waste your valuable time on ventures that may not be useful to your need.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Things to note in becoming a career computer programmer

If being a professional programmer is your desire, there is need for you to look for creative means of gainning unlimited experience and to become marketable in this day of global economic meltdown. This article suggests practical approach for getting to the peak of your goals.

1. Learn the Rudiments of Programming
Most of us are self learned programmer but if care is not taking it is easy to have a blind spot or miss out very important fundamentals as regards programming. Be it self learned or tutored make sure you learn the programming fundamentals; these include variable naming, proper program structure, debugging,memory management to mention a few. I will suggest you read literatures on computer programming fundamentals such as "Structure and Interpretation of computer program" written by Abelson et al, this book will aid your speedy growth in programming proficiency.

2. Be part of different types of project
The more you participate or involved yourself in different type of projects the more experience you will avail yourself. This can be achieved by getting involved with open source project or developing softwares for non profit organization to assist their operations. This will expose you to the following benefits:
i. Ability to develop an application to a specification;
ii.Experiencing a full development lifecycle and maintenance of an application;
iii.It will assist you in being a part of a team;
iv. Making you to have a feeling of accomplishment; and
v. Programming experience that can be listed on your resume.

3. You will need to Sacrifice
Consequent on the global economic meltdown, the pay package of a programmer may not be commensurate to the efforts put up by a programmer in any project or task. Therefore, as a career person in programming a little sacrifice from you will be required to launch yourself into the limelight. This is because the first five(5) years of your career may be slightly challenging.

4. Take a shot at Project Management/Development
There are many non-programming courses/trainings on management or development that will assist anyone in all areas of human endeavours without exception to programming experts.Skills in project management will afford you the needed requirements to manage any project even if it is programming project.It is recommended to all programmers to undergo a training in project management for a successful computer programming career.

5. Go Extra Mile
The game changer when it comes to career growth,development and heading towards a new directions is by "going the extra mile". This can be achieved by making yourself more valuable to your task or employer as the case may be; as this may open up a new career path for yourself within an organization or for your personal development. Learn new things about your career on daily basis as well as assist others in their activities for additional experience even when you are not part of the team on such project or task.

Practising some of the above highlighted tips you will be moving towards the peak in your deisred programming world.

You can read more about my programming blog at Learning Dot net with me