Computer Science

How Not To Study Programming

More often than not, I encounter posts on Medium, LinkedIn, Youtube, etc Claiming to present you with some Python/JS/any other language magic lines that will change your life or make it more productive.
Some even claim that there are some specific tricks you must know — how could you not?!

<Random Number> One-liners you must know.

<Programming Language> tricks that will change your life.

Disclaimer: This is my opinion based on my experience.

I think that if you are trying to study any programming language, doesn’t matter how beginner or professional you are, you should avoid at all costs clicking on these clickbaity titles because there are no specific lines of code that will change a single bit about your life, and reading or watching this content is just setting you back from your goal.

For those of you who think “Well ofc they are not gonna change your life, it’s a figure of speech”, I say — this type of content is only doing damage without any profit.

“I don’t understand what damage can it do”

  • Wasting time allotted to studying on useless content
  • Leading people to believe that if they don’t know these 5 extremely cool one-liners, they are not ready for a job
  • It never ends, I can come up with 50 different one-liners by the end of this article (exaggerating to make my point — I won’t do that — wasting my time and yours)

“There must be some profit”

  • None
  • I can agree on a marginal profit, that is, people will continue investigating something new they are presented with.

I will be trying to make a point why the profit is so marginal it’s actually non-existent.
Over the years I was (and still am) studying on the internet, I sampled quite a lot of this content and I believe it is extremely repetitive and mostly covers basic practices of a language any decent tutorial/course would cover anyway.

As an example, I encourage you to find some piece of content with a title similar to “5 Python one-liners you must know” that is not presenting list-comprehensions.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with list-comprehensions, in fact, they are amazing but 99.9% of python tutorials on the internet would cover that — so if you really want to study, stick to a few courses or tutorials and drop the clickbaity content.

Since I have only discussed what not to do, here’s a short diagram that presents the most effective way to study (in my opinion) when you’re trying to study a new programming language.

Made with love and zero design skills

Note that being bored after 15 minutes doesn’t qualify you to search for project ideas.

My whole point relies on the assumption that you really want to study — if that’s not really the case, and you just want to be entertained or pass time — this type of content is great, but if you really want to study stick to a course, make use of StackOverflow, and try building something on your own.

If you are really stuck with some project ideas, another blog post I wrote might be helpful.

Before I go, I wish to say that programming, in my opinion, is not about finding tricks and making a rocket-ship simulator in one line, it’s about being principled and writing clean and clear code, if you can do that, that’s a great start.

0 comments on “How Not To Study Programming

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