5 Tips About Learning Programming, Kerri Miller | RubyConf 2014, San Diego

For the mere mortals amongst us that are not commercial level developers (at least not yet..), I thought this talk by Kerri Miller at RubyConf, SanDiego provided some gentle reassurance that most of the frustrations that jab you in the side while finding your way around technologies and tools are completely normal!

Miller’s points carry weight in that she used to be a teacher at ADA Developers Academy, which offers twelve month cramming to give women the skills to find work in coding.

Part of the process of this course is turning the language that students use to label themselves from being a student to a level where they can say “I am a Developer” and Miller conducted a survey of students asking them what they wish they could tell themselves as a Developer if they could go back in time in a metaphorical De Lorean.

Miller chose five points that appealed to her experiences for this talk

1. It’s Supposed To Be Hard. It’s not like learning a spoken language, computers do not care. The learning curve can be abstract and you cannot always tell where you are on the curve. It is normal to not understand things that other people may find easy. Everyone is different.

2. You Do You. Do not listen to the assumptions that technologists fit into a certain profile. Assumptions are there to be questioned, do not waste too much time trying to figure out where you are in the hierarchy of nerds. It doesn’t matter.

3. There’s No Magic. Learning is about competence, there really is no magic to technology. Extremely experienced developers have got to the level they are at with thousands of hours of practice.

4. Learn How To Learn. Education is on going thing so forget about the finishing lines from College/University, in other words graduation. Everyone has a map on what they know as more and more is pinned to that map learning how to learn and ‘pushing back the dark parts’ with the light patches of knowledge.

5. Find Your Community. Go and find the people that you can share what you struggle with and find out how they solved things or better still mentors and coaches.



About Gary Donovan

Machine Learning and Data Science blogger, hacker, consultant living in Melbourne, Australia. Passionate about the people and communities that drive forward the evolution of technology.
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