Tips on learning a new programming language

Close-up of programming language on a Macbook



Whether you’re a senior software engineer, a coding whiz, or a master of full-stack (front and back-end) development, one thing is clear: learning a new programming language is not just part of the job, it’s a key ingredient for success in this fast-paced world.

But, let’s face it, the thought of delving into the depths of a new programming language can be a bit overwhelming, even for the most seasoned programmers. Every developer has their own go-to languages that feels comfortable with, and breaking out of that comfort zone can seem like a daunting task. However, in this dynamic landscape of ever-changing technology, sticking to what you know can be a major roadblock to your career progression.

Aimee Treasure, Marketing Director and D&I Lead, Templeton and Partners

So, how do you go about mastering a new programming language? Aimee Treasure from Templeton & Partner gives us some fantastic tips to help you navigate this exciting journey in the fastest and most effective way possible.

Aimee is the Marketing Director and D&I Lead at Templeton and Partners, a diverse tech recruitment agency supporting some of the world’s largest businesses. A Chartered Marketer, Aimee’s accolades include Marketing Week’s Rising Star of the Year and Account Professional of the Year at the Recruitment Marketing Awards.


The good thing is that you don’t have to start from scratch since you can leverage your existing knowledge to your advantage.

Let’s say you have honed your skills in building websites and web APIs using the reliable .NET framework, but now you want to expand your skills and delve into more lightweight and flexible technologies, like JavaScript. Instead of devouring countless tutorials, paying for courses or reading a ton of textbooks about it, take a smarter approach and begin by understanding how JavaScript differs from your old coding companion, C-sharp. Think of it as using a trusty old map to explore uncharted territory.

You don’t have to be detailed at this point; just focus on understanding the key differences between your old and new language or stack. This will not only help you weigh the pros and cons of each technology but also equip you with the necessary knowledge to tackle any limitations or unexpected challenges that may come your way.


Now that you’ve identified the aspects that differ from your familiar programming landscape and leveraged your existing knowledge, it’s time to fill the gaps. For instance, if you’re used to synchronous programming but feel that it’s time to acquaint yourself with async workflows without ever working, let’s say, with NodeJS, online stack visualisers can help you understand how the event loop works with callbacks

Now it’s also a good time to watch a quick tutorial for what you’re trying to do. However, there’s no need to dive into the nitty-gritty of variable assignments or loops yet. You already know all these things – it’s just a matter of learning the syntax. Instead, seek out tutorials that align with your end goal. Since you’re keen on creating web APIs, find tutorials that show you how to build a web server using the dynamic duo of NodeJS and Express. This will set you on the right path, guiding you through project setup, package installation, and getting acquainted with your shiny new stack.


Now, it’s time to get cosy with the syntax and unique quirks of the new programming language. Familiarity breeds comfort, after all. Start by working with the language itself, using online code editors or crafting simple modules that build upon what you already know. Accessing the file system, manipulating strings, and working with conditionals and loops are great starting points. Keep it simple and straightforward, but if you’re up for a challenge, platforms like LeetCode offer opportunities to solve algorithm problems using your newly acquired language.

The biggest challenge at this point is dealing with subtle changes in syntax. Symbols and commands may differ, and stylistic quirks might emerge. Resist the urge to carry over syntax habits from other languages and remember that practice makes perfect. Reading about the language’s inner workings and variable nuances is valuable, but true understanding comes from rolling up your sleeves and coding.


… and embark on a more meaningful journey with your new programming language, like tackling a real-world project from start to finish.

Once you’ve reached a level of relative comfort with the language and its syntax, you can take an existing project from your previous language and reimplement it in your new language or stack. This hands-on approach allows you to put your skills to the test and dive deep into the inner workings of a real-life application or problem.

This step may leave you feeling stuck at times, but it is in these moments of struggle that true learning occurs. You’ll find yourself seeking reference materials and resources to guide you, but remember, the ultimate goal is to complete the project. Choose something simple yet impactful, like basic POST-GET requests in an API.


When it comes to learning a new programming language or finding solutions to your coding conundrums, Google is your forever trusted ally. There’s no shame in turning to this search engine powerhouse for help. In fact, even seasoned developers do it all the time.

If you’re struggling with a new problem, chances are that someone out there has faced the same challenge. And you’d be surprised at how many curious coders have sought answers on forums, leaving a trail of solutions on super-specific queries for you to discover, more often on platforms like GitHub or StackOverflow.

You’re all set – the path to mastering a new language is now within your reach. Happy coding!


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