In a previous post I wrote about the importance of optimizing your time by utilizing tools such as podcasts and programming apps. While these are definitely excellent ways to supplement your learning and to make sure you are in a programmer’s frame of mind, it is still vital to have dedicated time when you are sitting in front of a computer and actually coding. After all, you learn the most by actually doing. Things which might have seemed easy when you are reading about them might suddenly seem challenging or near impossible when you actually have to do it yourself. No doubt however, your background knowledge will help you approach the problem and reach the solution. It is by doing this – by actually coding solving problems – that you will really develop your skills.
I recommend setting time apart every day, even if it is only 15 minutes, to just code. Life is a marathon, not a sprint and consistent learning is better than random spurts every couple weeks. 15 minutes a day every day will be far more valuable than just a 5 hour coding day once a month. Now, it is also important to those days where you code for hours, but it is the consistent effort which will really make the difference and keep you on track to reach your future goals and career aspirations. People will hire you based on what you can do, not just what you know.
Thus it is very important to actually ode and develop things like a personal site, a basic game or application or whatever tickles your fancy. There are many tutorials available online for developing these things, such as at codeacademy.com. I highly recommend you them out and start coding as soon as possible. Trust me, it’ll be more fun than you think!