I Have Learnt The Basics. What Next?

By | June 12, 2023

One somewhat common question from beginner programmers goes something like: “I have learnt the basics of [programming language]. What should I do next?” To be honest, I find this question rather surprising. I would imagine that while learning a programming language, you get exposed to the uses of that language and the problems it can be used to solve. This exposure should trigger your imagination about what you can do yourself with what you are learning. As a result, after learning the basics, you should be having a number of ideas of what programs you want to write to solve various problems or to handle various tasks.

Nevertheless, let us look at three things you can do after you have learnt the basics. (I have deliberately not provided links because, as a developer, you will be expected to search the Internet for answers for yourself).

1. Build a Project

The first suggestion has already been hinted at above: build something. Write a program that does something for you. What the program does can be a relatively small task like fetching a headline from a specific site every day, or automatically moving certain files from one folder to another. You can choose anything that interests you and start working on it.

Building a project has a number of benefits.

First, many people learn to code with the aim of getting employed. Building a project allows you to have something to show potential employers to showcase your skills. For this reason, try to choose something unique and useful to make yourself stand out.

A second benefit is that building a project really makes you concentrate on the details. Code demands that you put in every required comma and parentheses. Building something and getting it to work will make you concentrate and find out exactly how things ought to be done.

Third, building a project actually makes you learn a lot. Your project will present various challenges of how to make one part of your program work well with another part of your program. While finding out how to address these challenges, you will come across various solutions, approaches and technologies used by other coders and you may use these yourself in the current program or in future.

As a bonus tip, look for a friend or relative and offer to develop something for them to use in their work for free. You will gain in three ways: you will get real-life experience, you will gain a reference (if you do a good job!) and you will gain lots of confidence.

There are dozens of project ideas available online.

2. Learn Something Specialised

There are various areas of software development, from web development, mobile app development to various automation tasks, among others. If there is a particular area you want to get into, then you can find and take more specialised courses in your area of interest.

You could look into sites like Coursera and Udemy for a wide range of courses.

3. Join A Bigger Project

If you have no idea what project you can build yourself, then you can join an existing project. There are many open-source projects that constantly look for volunteers of all skill levels to join the projects. Joining a project will, again, give you real-life experience, will expose you to more technologies, will give you a chance to work as part of a team and has the potential to connect you to people who might give you work opportunities.

Search the Internet for information on how to join an open-source project.

So, as we say in my country, “So much to do, so little time!” Stop wondering what to do next and start working on something.

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