← View all posts

How to get started with programming: Traits, skills and a process for success!

How to get started with programming: Traits, skills and a process for success!

Traits, skills and processes to get started with programming

Programming is an empowering and desirable skill that opens doors to many industries. Lots of people have the traits and skills to succeed in this area, but what are they?

A computer program is a set of instructions for a computer’s processor to carry out. Programming is the act of creating these instructions to tell a computer’s processor what you want it to do.

Whether you are considering a role in cyber security or not, learning basic programming can help you to automate tasks, build algorithms and work more closely with developers in any role or industry.

Read on to learn more about what you need to know to succeed at this super transferrable skill!

Traits to succeed in programming

How many traits can you tick off from our checklist?

Patience and persistence

Can you stay calm and committed when carrying out slow tasks? Programming takes a lot of time and often requires rewrites. While it can be tempting to write a program all at once, it’s always better to write small bits and test it as you go so you can easily track any mistakes. Spending lots of time writing and rewriting code is a normal part of the process for programming beginners and experts alike, so patience and persistence pays off.

Attention to detail

Can you spot minute details that others might not? One tiny mistake in a line of code could be all that prevents your program from functioning, but that shouldn’t put you off! Attention to detail is a necessary trait to prevent and spot issues. But, every programmer will make mistakes occasionally, no matter how much they’re paying attention!

Problem solver

If you like to solve complex problems, you’re in luck: this is what programming is all about! Figuring out how to build code that works sometimes means first writing code that doesn’t work. As issues arise, it helps to be confident in your abilities to research the answers and try out different solutions.

Positivity

Do you like to find the positives in any situation? Then programming may be for you! As a programmer, you’ll have to get used to your fair share of errors. While an error may often be seen as a negative, it can be a great help for a programmer! Errors highlight where a program has gone wrong so we can quickly fix the issue. Programmers must learn to adopt a positive attitude, as an error doesn’t mean failure, but progress!

Figuring out how to build code that works sometimes means first writing code that doesn’t work.

Skills to succeed in programming

You’ve checked off the traits needed to succeed in programming, now let’s take a look at the skills you require!

Every programmer should look into the following areas and make sure they are part of their toolkit. These areas are the foundation for learning all other programming skills.

  • Variables
  • Input and output
  • Modules
  • Reading and writing files
  • Functions
  • Conditionals
  • Loops
  • Lists
  • Dictionaries
  • Encoding

You can learn each of these vital skills and put them into practice in the CyberStart Moon base. Use this list to check each skill off as you play. Once the checklist is complete, you’ll have a strong foundation to develop you programming knowledge from and can begin innovating your own programs!

A process for success

You have the traits, you’ve built up your skill set and now its time to consider the perfect programmers process.

Writing a program requires preparation and consistent testing and revisions for the smoothest process and best outcome.

Knowing where to start and how to carry out a successful process is just as important as learning the skills mentioned above.

1. Preparation

When you first start writing any new programme, it’s critical to note down exactly what you want your program to do. Include each piece of functionality you want your programme to have and what these functionalities should achieve overall.

Writing down each functionality in small pieces means you can solve each problem one-by-one. An easy way to start this process is by writing pseudocode. Pseudocode allows you to write down each functionality you want to create without worrying about the syntax or specific details needed in the final code.

2. Testing

Rather than writing out your code all at once, an experienced programmer knows that the best approach is to work on one piece at a time and test it along the way. This strategy is important because it will allow you to identify errors as you go rather than trying to find them in a mountain of code at the end.

3. Revisions

As you test each function, make any necessary changes at the same time. Be aware that as you add new pieces of functionality, this can also affect other functions. Rewriting and refactoring your code is a normal step when creating your own programme.

Now that you know what you need to begin programming, play CyberStart Moon base to learn all of these basics and put them into practice!

All of the programmes below are entirely free, and feature CyberStart!

CyberStart America

What is it? A fun programme developed to help you discover your talent, advance your skills and win scholarships in cyber security.

Who’s it for? 13-18 year old high school students in the US only.

Awesome! How can I find out more?

www.cyberstartamerica.org

Cyber FastTrack

What is it? The fastest and most cost-effective route to a career in cyber security via free training and exclusive scholarship opportunities.

Who’s it for? College students in the US only.

Great! How can I find out more?

www.cyber-fasttrack.org