How to get better at programming

Published on March 24th, 2024

In my quest¬†to¬†get¬†better¬†at¬†programming, I collected a large amount of research material. Books, articles, interview transcripts. As I took notes (because that's what I do ūüėÖ), I realised the vast amount of wisdom and knowledge that exists but is often hidden in the dark and dusty corners of the internet.

So, a couple of years ago, I decided to take my notes, give them structure, improve them, and turn them into a book, something everyone could benefit from. But then my imposter syndrome kicked in, and I froze; I just couldn't go on.

Who am I to write a book? What do I know?

But the idea never went away. I'm still trying to get better at programming, I am still collecting notes full of interesting tips and stories. So maybe I'll just post them here, on my blog, and see what happens. Maybe I will, eventually, write that book.

But for now, I'm embracing my inner-potato and here is the one and only "How to get better at programming" newsletter I ever wrote.

Issue #1

How does one get better at programming?

That‚Äôs a question most of us have asked¬†at¬†least once. The typical answer is usually¬†to¬†just code‚ĄĘÔłŹ. And then code more. Read code, write code, rinse, and repeat.

In his essay on How to become a hacker, Eric Raymond says,

Learning to program is like learning to write good natural language. The best way to do it is to read some stuff written by masters of the form, write some things yourself, read a lot more, write a little more, read a lot more, write some more … and repeat until your writing begins to develop the kind of strength and economy you see in your models.

Undeniably, he is correct. Practice makes perfect. However, there are ways to make the process less frustrating and more enjoyable.

Once you know something about how we learn, how our brains process information, and how we remember, you might find that the way you’ve been learning until now may not be the most effective. And while we can certainly force our way to become better programmers, why not use some tried and tested techniques backed by scientific research to make the journey more pleasurable?

In this newsletter, I will share what¬†I found as I write the book (ha, this did not age well ūüė¨ ). It will include material from various disciplines, including psychology and ancient philosophy. Wisdom we can apply¬†to¬†get¬†better¬†at programming¬†(and pretty much anything else) regardless of our seniority.

If you’d like to join me on my journey of writing how to get better at programming, I hope you stick around.

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