WWCode Talks Tech #22: Best Practices When Learning a New Coding Language

WWCode Talks Tech #22: Best Practices When Learning a New Coding Language

Written by Anjali Bajaj


Women Who Code Talks Tech 22     |     SpotifyiTunesGoogleYouTube
Anjali Baja shares “Best Practices When Learning a New Coding Language.” She discusses some steps to follow in learning a new language, how to pick the appropriate online courses and ideas for practicing and improving. 

I completed my Bachelor's in Technology in Computer Science from NorthCap University, India. I am currently enrolled as a Master's student at the University of Alberta, Canada. I have previously worked for 2 years at Tata Consultancy Services. I'm currently interning with ATB Financial here in Alberta. Women often ask, "How do I start a new coding language?" or, "What should we do when we start a new coding language?" This was also my question when I started learning my new language when I started Java in 2020.

My question was also, "What should I go through first? Should I take a course? Should I take an online course? Should I take a course available on Udemy, Udacity, or Coursera? Or should I watch YouTube videos?" After going through all the mentally exhausting things, I made a list. That has helped me to understand how I can better learn a program. I started this thing from JavaScript, moved to Node JS, and the moved tp React. These are the steps that I have been following.

When you start with your new language, I want you guys to feel comfortable. My favorite website is Udemy. I go to the Udemy course and see how the author is speaking. Also, the date on which it was updated. Sometimes the courses have not been updated for the last month or two. The programming language is such that they get updates every day.

Check the language, check the content. Sometimes, the content is not relatable to what you are thinking of going through. Is he teaching in a basic way? You have to get the basic knowledge before starting any course. Everybody asks, "Should we start using projects available on YouTube videos or websites?" My answer to that question is, yes, you can start it. It doesn't matter if you're copying these videos.

GitHub repositories are made public to be used so that you can use them. Let's suppose you have started practice till, If-Then-Else, some conditional statements. You have started a language, and then learned until the condition, If-Else, is done. There are loops done for While, Do While, and furthermore. Then you think that you have gained a particular knowledge. You can start with basic projects or basic logical questions like calculators.

A calculator is not a project. It's basically logic, like writing those arithmetical conditions. You can start it. It's not that you are copying it. You are writing it by yourself. Put a YouTube video in half of the screen; the rest is your compiler. You can put it in the next half of your screen, whatever compiler you are using, it's a VS Code.

 If you are in the front end, you should go with VS Code because it is better. It gives you a better way to understand what you are typing. You can start typing what the person is teaching from his YouTube video and coding side-by-side. It gives you confidence. Do not download the repository of that person. Start using it when you feel like you are stuck somewhere. Then you can copy that and see what the differences are. It's not about plagiarism, it's just about practice. 

You can do all these steps while covering the course material, starting from the basics to the end of JavaScript until ES6 and other things covered in JavaScript. I am just giving you an example of JavaScript. There are many other available languages, like Python. You can also do these things with your different languages.

The final step is to do projects with the knowledge you have learned. Go on YouTube and search, "What projects can I make from scratch?" Even if it's a repetitive project you have made while learning the course, you can start it because the logic you will make will be different. It's not like you have noted it down, and your brain memorized the logic the person used. You can start from scratch, and then you can see the difference. You will have two types of logic available for a single project. There are some websites that I usually follow when I start looking for projects. They would give, like, "How to make a clock," "How to make a BMI," and "How to make different things." Just start making them.

When I started JavaScript, my first project was very simple. It was related to a light bulb, like switching it off or toggling it. It was a basic project. It’s best to start basic, like how we start an exam. Start from the easiest question, then move to the difficult question to save time so that you can devote more time to your difficult question. Follow this approach in projects. You have to get an understanding of what the programming language is. Nobody will ask in your interview, "How did you learn your programming language?" They will ask about the basics of your programming.