Advice to entry level programmers – My two cents worth
Fellow programmers, we have all been there – getting one’s bearings and looking for some good advice before venturing into a career in coding. Well, here’s my two cents worth.
Firstly, you should have a good grasp of variegated algorithms. “Grokking Algorithms: An Illustrated Guide for Programmers and other Curious People” by Aditya Y. Bhargava, is an easy to follow book with lots of examples.
Make flowcharts to visualize program flow; write pseudocode to have the plain English version of the program at hand.
“Mathematics for Computer Science” – a book by Eric Lehman, F. Thomson Leighton & Albert R. Meyer provides the requisite mathematical background; it’s available under the Creative Commons license.
Start out programming in Python. “Automate the Boring Stuff with Python: Practical Programming for total Beginners” – a website by Al Sweigart – is a breezy introduction to the currently in-demand language.
When beginning your sojourn into programming, in addition to common tropes – like commenting your code extensively, and using descriptive names for classes, functions and variables – refer to “Beautiful Code” – a guide to write elegant & eloquent code, edited by Andy Oram & Greg Wilson.
Once you are set, read “Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid” by Douglas Hofstadter. It’s a fascinating treatise on the philosophy of computer science that transmogrifies your perspective on programming.
AI (Artificial Intelligence) is today’s megatrend. Don’t get left behind; “AI for Everyone” – an online course by the AI guru Andrew Ng – demystifies concepts for the layman. While on the subject, “An Introduction to Genetic Algorithms” – a book by Melanie Mitchell – gives cool insights on the underrated field of evolutionary computation.
Utilize the popular StackOverflow website for gleaning different answers to the programming problems encountered on an everyday basis.
Last but not least, play chess, go or real-time strategy games to develop a logical bent of mind that is conducive to programming.
All the best for your career!
By Anirudh Shobhanan.