There’s a lot you can learn about programming. But do you need to know it all?

I’ve been reading a lot about the Pareto principle. You’ve probably heard it as the 80/20 rule. It says that you get 80% of your results from just 20% of your effort. And it goes beyond that. It applies to anything with positive reinforcement. That’s where you get rewarded for doing well which causes you do do even better which results in an even bigger reward and it just keeps going.

If we try to improve our skills evenly, then this rule applies and says that most of our efforts will result in small improvements overall. Those are the kinds of things you can focus on later. Spending more time learning the most critical skills in programming will lead to the most benefit. I think it’s a great way to start.

Listen to this episode for advice on how this applies to you as you learn how to code. I recommend that you listen to some of the previous episodes that will help you the most.

    • Pointers starting with episode #8. This is a topic that will serve you well in any language. A lot of people think pointers are scary. I’ll show you just how natural they can be.
    • Methods starting with episode #11. Whether you’re programming with objects or procedures, you’ll need methods.
    • Big-O notation starting with episode #37 will give you a way to understand how well your software design really works.
    • Collections starting at episode #39 and especially the Array and Dictionary collections will help you hold information in memory and work with it so your program can actually do something.
    • Recursion is discussed in episode #54 and will help you to solve difficult problems by making the problem smaller and smaller until it’s simple and then working back up to the final result.
    • Design patterns starting at #59 and datatypes beginning at #107. These two series will show you how to solve common problems and all the simple data types you can use to build more complicated solutions.