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A Programmer’s Mindset For Beginners

September 14, 2018

This is a list of things that I try to keep in my mind when I program.

It Is Always Your Fault

Computers do exactly what we tell them to do. I’ve felt the urge to blame my computer, but 99% of the time, it was my fault. There is always a reason why it doesn’t work, and that is because you failed to program properly.

Stay Curious

Programming is intimidating. You will want to get emotional and swear a lot. But don’t. It is gonna make your mind narrow. It will slow down the process of problem-solving. Instead, be curious. Ask “Wooooow, what is this? Why is this happening?” with a sense of wonder. :)

Break Down the Problem

When your program is not working, don’t try different solutions randomly. Figure out where the problem is first. Is it this JavaScript file or another one? Is it this function or that one? Identify the problem first, and then cure the cancer. Don’t just throw darts in the dark.

Look For Alternative Ways

If you get stuck, ask yourself “How can I do this differently?”. Look for alternative ways to get the same result. Usually, there are several ways to program. Some people might argue that we should choose the most elegant way, but if you were a beginner, start with making it work. Worry about the elegance later.

Errors Are Your Friends

You might hate all the error messages, but it is good that we know there is an error. Otherwise, we don’t even know that there is a problem.

Talk to Yourself or to Your Yellow Friend

When we don’t know what the hell program means, we are more likely to be distracted. The trick to avoid this state of mind is to talk to yourself. I talk to myself even out loud(I know it’s weird). Or you can try the rubber duck programming. Get a cute yellow rubber duck(or anything you want really), put her next to your computer, and talk to her(yes, this is even weirder). Talk to her about the issue you have and discuss how to solve that problem. You will notice the problem becomes clear as you talk to your yellow friend.

Have a Long Uninterrupted Time

If you were interrupted while you are playing a chess, you will have to think from the beginning again. Programming is the same. Programming requires long hours of focus without interruption. Usually, keep a few hours of uninterrupted time is good in my opinion.


Taisuke Mino

👋 Hi, I’m Tai! I’m working to build a permissionless financial system. I write for gratifying my curiosity. Follow me on Twitter and Medium 🙂