These visualizations are great resources for both beginners and experts.
12 May, 2017MEDIUM.FREECODECAMP.COM
Recently, several amazing visualizations of the various technologies web developers use surfaced online. One of them (geared toward backend developers) is pictured here:
These are great resources for both beginners and experts alike. They clearly lay out what technologies you should be aware of if you want to get a job as a frontend web developer, backend web developer, or system administrator.
But I think they are especially useful to absolute beginners learning their first few lines of code.
I’ve been programming for over 15 years (I started with QBASIC games at age 8). I consider myself to be a full stack web developer, and as such, everything shown in those visualizations falls into my domain in one way or another.
Now take a good look at those pictures. They’re pretty scary, right? But they’re not a map of everything you need to know to be a developer. Not at all! Do you really think I ― or any developer ― actually knows how to use all this stuff?
Not a chance.
When you’re just getting started with computer programming, it is absolutely overwhelming. You hear about students who can write code in 10 programming languages, meet a fabled Linux guru, or try to keep up as your instructor speeds through dozens of computer science concepts. And like thousands of others, you probably make a very understandable mistake: you think you’re supposed to know everything there is to know about programming.
You’re not. And no one will ever expect you to.
Even after years as a developer, I only know a small fraction of the technologies in those pictures at an “expert” level. I don’t even recognize a few of them! I’ve used maybe half of them at some point or another, but 75% of that usage was probably under an hour total in my life.
But if you sit me down for an hour with any of them, I can probably put it to use. And that’s because I know how to learn like a developer.
As a developer, you will always be fighting a losing battle if you try to stay on top of every new technology. There are just too many of them, and they’re changing faster than ever. At best, you can pick a few to stay up-to-date on.
So rather than spending your time trying to learn every programming language and technology, you should instead learn how to learn like a developer. Here’s what that means:
See the similarities? Code examples, short summaries, and typed interfaces (if you’re lucky) are your best friends when you’re trying to answer the questions:
Here’s the implementation for a JSON encoder in Python. If part of this library isn’t behaving how you expect, or if the documentation is lacking, reading the code will give you what you need, although (usually) in a less approachable format.
Some tricks I’ve found useful are:
Debuggers. Break statements. Print statements! Learn how to use them to hone in on issues in your code, because that’s what you’re going to spend most of your time doing. Some useful things to keep in mind are:
This isn’t as cheesy as it sounds. There are plenty of great places to get help when you are stuck. My order typically is:
When you’re asking others for help, here are some good things to remember:
As a developer, there is too much out there to master everything. Don’t even try. Learn how you work best as a developer, build a toolset that fits you, and don’t try to have all the answers. Focus on learning how to find the answers quickly.
Whether you’re just getting started with coding or your fingers are already well worn by your favorite mechanical keyboard, I hope this post has been useful for you.