I have been in the IT field for 30+ years, and my background has been focusing on infrastructure and operations. I do like programming but not proficient and experienced enough to consider myself a professional programmer.
This is not the all-inclusive list, but it is a list I stick with on my journey to become better at programming.
- Read examples > Write code > Rinse > Repeat. Do this every day. Practice does make it better. Without the constant practice/reinforcement, atrophy can set in and destroy the progress you have made.
- Learn purposefully. Learning programming without knowing what you are doing something for can be boring. Think of something you wish to create and practice coding to realize that creation. The purpose you buy into early on can help smooth out some of the frustration moments results from getting things to work.
- Get Help Promptly. Don’t get stuck for too long. If you need to look things up or “google” the answers, do so without shame.
- Talk to other programmers. Develop an advisory or a go-to source when you need some additional expert opinions. The Stack Overflow and similar Q&A community is a great place to start.
All great programmers I know or read about all do one thing in common. They poke the box and test their assumptions and skills every day.