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Practical Guide to Computer Simulations

Beginner Programmers’ Mistakes

Let’s start by talking about the mistakes beginner programmers usually make. Learn to identify these situations and avoid them.

I have made many of these mistakes in the past. It is how I learned to do better. Do not feel bad if you are making these mistakes today. Just learn why they are classified here as mistakes and how you can create a habit to avoid them.

Note that not all beginners will make these mistakes and no one will make all of them. The mistakes are also not presented here in any particular order.

1. Writing Code Without Planning

High-quality content cannot be created easily. It requires careful thinking and research. High-quality programs are no exception.

For an example, here is how I came up with this article:

  • Spent a few hours thinking about the topic and trying to remember the major points to make the argument. I did minimal writing at this stage. I only wrote down a few words about every point.
  • Spent a few days thinking about some more items and adding them to the list whenever I randomly remember any.
  • Spent a few hours researching books and articles to check if there are important points that I forgot in the first list. Wrote down a few words about every new point that I found.
  • Spent an hour re-arranging and grouping the points.
  • Spent an hour actually writing my thoughts about each group.
  • Sent the article to many of the programmers I know to get their feedback and modified the content based on that feedback. The feedback usually includes both language (weird phrasing of a point, for example) and concepts (missing points, for example)

Note how the actual writing of the article was just a small part of this whole process.

Writing quality programs needs a similar process: Think. Research. Plan. Write. Validate. Modify.