Late last year (2018) I caught myself in this situation where what I was hired to do was way above my skill levels. Yes, the work was that of somebody with close to 5 years experience. I was just from campus and so the only experience I had was that of hanging around. This is a true story of how I made moves that really helped own my own learning without spending any penny on an online course.

Computer-Programmer

Learning how to code and coding are two different thing. I have honestly met people who will take close to 6 months learning Git and version control.

I nearly tried every material from internet to PDFs, tutorials, YouTube ect. At first, all seemed to be working when reading and or watching. However, implementing the solutions was a problem since I didn’t want toto focus on copying directly from the video.

On my 3/14 days, I could honestly say I haven’t done much. However I found these five tips very helpful when learning especially on your own.

1. Developing clear objectives and objective key results( OKRs )

One of the greatest things to do when taking up a project or initiative or call for action is to have clear objectives. Well, in this case, It was clear that my main objective was to level up my technical skills. This isn’t enough as far as having objectives is concerned . Instead, I focused on detailing what I needed to know and how I could evaluate myself that I know these technical paradigms in programming (OKRs). OKRs are a simple but detailed outline of the deliverables based on a given objective

2. Clear and strict timelines.

Objectives without time-bounds are worthless. Working around time lines made me develop hourly objectives, that constituted daily-weekly-monthly objectives. Developing SMRT ( Specific, Measurable, Realistic, Time-bound) objectives really helped me get to great heights. Here are sample objectives:

  1. “Raise a fully descriptive Pull Request (working or not working ) every three hours.”
  2. Increase my test coverage by 5% in every PR (3Hrs)

3. Developing a sense of beolonging

Well you can say this is all about ownership, attitude, community, and responsibility. Coding is not like going to the Gym where you will take weeks before seeing six pack. Here you are able to review and demo every line of code you write. Knowing that this is what you need and putting your passion into it is the first step.

Being on a community/group where you always have people to unblock you whenever you get stuck was another great feeling. Every time I was stuck, I would post my blocker in a Slack channel and boom, 20 replies. Don’t be stuck for anytime more than 10 mins. SEEK HELP!

4. Aiming perfection

Never stop aiming for perfection whenever you want to learn. There are always a million ways to code application A, try writting half of these by yourself. You will get the best.

5. Be honest and don’t cut shortcut.

There is no shortcut in learning especially in learning how to code. Watching a youtube video about “Token-based auth” or “TDD” while you can’t write hello world application in any language won’t help you in any way. Don’t take shortcuts, get your hands dirty.

Coding is very interesting and try this five pro tips and see how they work for you.

Watch out for my next post on how to effectively use programming resources materials to learn on your own.https://kenya-tech.com/2019/01/09/learning-how-to-code-on-your-own-2/

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