How I learned to Code From a Frog (or… Most Important Tips for an Aspiring Programmer)

Yes, I admit it. I haven’t been learning programming on my own. I had help. He was a frog named Wibit. Wibit the frog. Wibit’s a great teacher actually. He has tutorials for people people now starting out and for those who want to learn a new language. We met a while ago when I was surfing the net looking for someplace to learn programming from. Now I know I’m no programming pro. But what I do know I learned from Wibit. (I did have a programming teacher back in sophomore year but more on him later)

Wibit!

Ok I didn’t actually learn from a frog. (but can you imagine how awesome that would be!) Wibit is the mascot from Wibit.net and I must say, it is the best resource for a new aspiring programmer. I was lucky and found Wibit when I wanted to learn how to code. Their tutorials are easy to follow, easy to learn from, and very humorous. They even have labs so you can code alongside Wibit the frog.

At the time of writing, Wibit has courses on Intro to Computer Programming, Intro to Objective Oriented Programming, Programming in C, C++, Objective C, Java and C#. They’re always expanding and plan to introduce SQL, Python, PHP and Javascript. Confused? Start with the Intro course and get learning.

Most important tips for a newcomer. 

Don’t take notes. I never have anyways. It reminds me too much of school. And it takes the fun away from learning. You’ll learn everything from doing labs and failing and doing more labs. Keep in mind that this isn’t school. There are no tests. No quizzes, no midterms, no finals. The real world is open book. The only thing that matters is you and your education. If you must take notes, watch the videos first without taking notes then again with note taking.

Ask questions. Many questions. My psychology teacher (Mr. Murtagh) would always remind us that there are no stupid questions only stupid people. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from more experienced people. I try to connect with as many experienced programmers as I can. They have so much experience to learn from and knowledge to soak up. So if you can find an experienced programmer who can mentor you. Don’t know any? Send me your questions and I’ll do my best to answer them and point you in the right direction.

Fail often. Try to make your own programs with what you know. Mistakes are inevitable. It’s all part of the learning process. The more you fail, the more you learn so it is best to fail early when you can afford to. Everyone fails from time to time.  You only really fail if you fail to learn. See below on how I failed epicly.

Can’t do a blog post on how I learned programming without mentioning my old programming teacher, Mr. Sudik. He was my first and only programming teacher. (unless you count Wibit) And I used to think he was hands down the worst teacher I had for that year. It was during last period of the day and I simply wasn’t in the mood. I clearly remember one of those days.

Our assignment was to clear the screen. We were using darkBASIC. I wondered to myself. How do you clear the screen? The phrase never occurred to me before. It sounds like a prank done to someone else. Something devious. I asked Mr. Sudik how to clear the screen. He told me to just clear it. (in a polite warm way of course) He always told us that programmers are problem solvers. I will never forget that saying. Not just because it is true. (is really is) But also because it was posted daily on all of our assignments. I spent almost the entire period trying to clear the screen. I tried typing code like: clear screen, clear, screen = clear. Nothing.

(Programmers are problem solvers, Google just doesn’t know it yet)

50 minutes have passed. Mr. Sudik came back to see how I was doing. I asked again how to clear the screen. He didn’t give me the answer. But instead guided me into the right direction until I got the answer myself. He was very patient. I left the class wondering how he did it. (even though I was the one who did all the work) The answer took less than 5 seconds to type. It was 3 letters: cls. The rest of the year more or less followed the same pattern. Thank you Mr. Sudik for giving me that much needed foundation in programming. Thank you.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s