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8 Tips to help you learn software development

If you’ve been thinking about learning software development, it can certainly feel a little overwhelming, to begin with. While many companies opt to hire professional software developers, and for big projects, we would recommend this, you’ll find that learning a few programming skills yourself may benefit your business in other ways. Learning to code is known to improve problem-solving skills, which is a necessity when running a business. We’re going to share with you some of our top tips which will help you to effectively and quickly improve your software development skills.

1. Practice a little each day

Software development isn’t something you’re going to be able to pick up overnight. Many software developers spend months or years improving their skills and knowledge. The best way to learn software development is to practice a little each day, for example, spending an hour in the evening coding programs. As with learning any skill in life, little and often is a better tactic to take than just spending hours in front of your computer. You’ll find lots of short tutorials online that can help you with the coding language of your choice.

2. Meet up with other software developers

While learning alone at home may seem like a great idea, collaborating with other software developers will help to speed up the learning process for you. In many cities today, you’ll find companies hold regular meet-ups for software developers. These give you the opportunity to speak to other people in the industry and learn from their experiences and share yours. In-person lessons can also be a great way to enhance your learning, as you’ll receive real-time feedback from a teacher instead of just having to correct your own mistakes as you do with some online courses.

3. Learn multiple software languages

Unless you are learning a specific language for an upcoming project, it’s worth broadening your knowledge base by learning multiple languages. It can be easier to start with a language made for kids and if you have children yourself you could share with them. Scratch is a fun way to start coding with children, but if you’re looking for a fun way to start with an industry-standard language, project Greenfoot could be your route into Java.  Languages are often quite a personal decision, based on your needs and projects, but understanding a good mixture of them can help put you ahead in the future.

4. Create a productive learning environment

Coding isn’t something that you can practice well, with distractions around you. As you need to have space and energy to focus on the task at hand. If you can, carve out a few hours to work on your coding skills in silence that’s great, but also ensure you are not being distracted by your phone or emails, and warn your colleagues or family members that you need to be left to concentrate for this time. The time you spend coding is more important than having a quiet and peaceful place to study. However, you’ll find that with fewer distractions, you are much more likely to develop your skills.

5. Ask for help

One of the biggest issues within the software development industry is that many developers are too ashamed to admit they don’t know how to do something. When you are learning software development, you are going to come across things you don’t understand or questions you need to be answered. Swallow your pride and reach out to someone with more experience in the industry to ask for assistance. Instead of trying to ignore the issue, make sure you find a solution to the problem. Without asking questions and understanding every lesson that you take, you’ll find that you slow down the learning process significantly. If you don’t know anyone personally you can ask, you will find StackOverflow is a great place to ask your coding questions.

6. Get feedback

Software development is something many people today tackle alone, but that doesn’t always need to be the case. To improve and grow in anything in life, you need to ensure you ask for regular feedback and receive corrections for your mistakes. If you sit at home without anyone else reviewing your work, you’ll find that you continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. When you do find you don’t understand something, ask someone to share with you what you’ve done wrong so you can fix it immediately and avoid this issue in the future. While you may feel uncomfortable receiving feedback, it’s one of the best tools out there for growth in any aspect of your life.

7. Make the most of online resources

The resources that are available online for anyone looking to learn software development are incredible. If you are taking lessons in person and find you are struggling to grasp a topic, online programming guides and resources can be a huge help. Even just turning to Google to ask a question you may have can be a good first step, and you’ll find more information to help you understand the subject you are studying more clearly. You may need some time to explore these resources and find reliable ones, but once you find a couple of good sites for software development, you can refer to them again in the future when you are struggling with a specific task.

8. Set weekly goals

If you aren’t following a set learning plan or online course, you will want to set yourself goals for your learning. This will help you to stay accountable for your software development progress and ensure you stay on track. If you have a specific overall goal in mind for when you’d like to learn something, break this down into weekly goals. This will ensure you schedule in the necessary time each week, and you can identify the skills and tools you are missing to help you succeed. If you are getting involved with projects to practice your skills, add these into your weekly goals to ensure you get the required work done.

By following these top tips, you’ll find learning software development to be easier than you ever expected. Of course, if you are undertaking a huge project, you’ll likely want to involve a team of professional software developers in the process still. They’ll be able to guide you through every step of the way and also offer you more advice and tips for improving your skills for the future.

Alternatively, if you would prefer to hire a professional software developer for your business, then the team at BSPOKE Software can help you. Give us a call today for an informal chat or found out more about us here.

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