Kids, Code, and Computer Science Magazine

Programming Mistakes Beginners Make

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Here's how to tell if you are a beginner programmer or if your programming skills are evolving.

For beginning programmers, the shift from what you learn and do in a classroom to what you do programming an application outside of school is an adjustment. Here are some ways to tell if you’ve made the shift from school to real life programming.

Do you read code? When we’re little, we learn to read before we learn to write. The same applies to programming. Reading code is as important as actual coding. Reading code lets you see how other people think about a programming problem and how they solve that problem. Reading also lets you understand how your code fits in. You might re-use a function, object, or library instead of wasting time reinventing the wheel.

Do you copy/paste code from search results? It is acceptable to use internet search engines to find code. However, if the code works, beginners move on. If the code fails, they search again. In both cases, new programmers won’t stop to understand how the code works, or the reasons the code didn’t work.

Are you up on the latest trends? Programming has fads like any human activity. A steady consistent style of writing and documenting your code is more important than using the latest style. If you work in a group, you will learn the style everyone uses. Or set a common style if you’re the only one working on your project (which is rare). Whoever reads your code and maintains it in three years will thank you for your consistency.


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