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From beginner to intermediate programmer

The key to jumping from beginner to intermediate programmer is to build programming projects.

Not one.

Not two.

Lots of programming projects – the more, the better!

If you understand and starting working early on programming projects, you'll go far; if you don't, you'll remain small.


Why many remain as beginner programmers

If all you focus on is tutorials, you'll remain a beginner programmer.

At best, an advanced beginner software developer.

Don't get me wrong, you need coding tutorials to learn how to code as a beginner programmer. But you'll only become an actual developer by writing code. There's no other way.

When you watch others coding in a tutorial it makes you feel like you're coding.

But that's an illusion.

Most programming tutorials come from years of following a polished way of writing code. Many of the mistakes that got the instructors to the point of expertise are hidden from you during the tutorial.

Therefore, you need to make your own mistakes and that will only come from actively writing code not passively looking at code in tutorials.


Intermediate programmer level and beyond

To get to intermediate level and beyond, you should never get caught up in hello worlds projects.

I understand the thrill of completing simple exercises:

print “I am awesome”
print “You’re cool”
print “Wait, are we cool?” 
print “OMG! Guys! Like I can so print all day”

It's tempting to stay at the same level because it's comfortable. In Behavioral Psychology, this happens mostly because of default bias – we prefer our familiar over the unknown.

But I have to be honest with you, this won’t cut it.

Let's use an ANT analogy.

  • No matter how many ways you rearrange the words ANT, you’ll never arrive at ELEPHANT.
  • No matter how many introduction tutorials you learn, you’ll never really get past the basics unless you push yourself beyond that.

“But I don’t know what projects to start as a beginner.”

No worries.

Here are 3 examples:

  • Currency converter: Create a program that converts currencies from one unit to another, for example, converting Indian rupees into dollars, pounds to euros, and so on.
  • Random Password Generator: Create a program that takes some words from the user and generates a random password using those words.
  • Guess the number: Ask a user to guess a number between 1 and 50. If they guess outside that range, show an error message asking them to guess again. Whenever they guess the wrong number, ask if they want to keep playing or they'd like to quit. Finally, when the user eventually guesses the right number, congratulate them and show the number of attempts they had.

If you find these boring, here are other beginner programming project ideas to choose from.

Remember, this is about pushing yourself and growing.

You have what it takes. You just need to push yourself in the right direction.

And building more projects is the right direction.


Thanks for reading

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Heads Up - I love research so I tend to back my advice and approach with concepts from Behavioral Psychology and Neuroscience.