Good Advice for New Programmers

Zed Shaw recently said:

Never listen to people who try to make beginners feel like losers

This is some of the best advice for anyone trying to do something worth while… like learning to program. There are several reasons that advanced programmers say things to disparage newbies. First, programming is becoming significantly more accessible and this irks many developers. I started with C and am going on record that you don’t need to start with C or C++ to be a real programmer. A teenager wrote Bubble Ball for the iPhone, using Lua, and it had a million plus downloads! Programming is simply going to get easier and easier to get started with. At the end of the day this benefits us all. “Enterprisey” development is and will always be hard but that’s not the goal of all software to be in this category.

Often people disparage programming neophytes because they forget how hard it was or how much time they initially spent learning a technology. I think the best teachers are those rare people that remember the process they went through when learning the technology. These good teachers make the best mentors for new programmers. Honestly, some people are just jerks and get pleasure putting others down.

If you are new to programming, don’t give up and don’t listen to advice from those that are saying you have failed even before trying.