Write It Out

As you progress on your journey as a new programmer, you may wonder if you should be taking notes. Yes, you should! In fact, research suggests that taking notes by hand is most beneficial for long-term retention. This will be especially beneficial for those working towards the goal of becoming a full-time developer, as many interviews will involve writing code on a whiteboard.

Once you start working on small projects and programs, writing by hand can also help you plan your code before you move to the computer. You can save a lot of time if you write out which functions and classes you’ll need, as well as how they will interact.

00:00 Write It Out.

00:05 Now, here’s something you may not be expecting.

00:08 Writing out notes helps you to retain information better than any other method. Yes—handwritten notes really do help. When the information passes through you as you read it and then rewrite it in your own words, your brain takes it in in a method that you understand, and this is the most important part of learning. There will be different areas which you need to concentrate on and make notes on, compared to somebody next to you. Also, planning for programs with written notes can help make the solution clearer. Again, here, I’ve found that writing things out by hand is much more helpful and much more immediate than doing it using a computer. While for complicated, large programs which would need a lot of documentation, you would want to do this online in a method that can be updated later on, when you’re initially planning this out, writing out the kind of data and variables you’re going to need can be really, really important and instructive.

01:06 You can run through the way you think the program should work on paper, and then once you’ve worked out any problems there, you can then try and do it at the computer.

01:15 It’s often easier to create visual representations when working with paper and pencil, and for many problems, this is a useful way to approach them. If you’re doing this with a note-taking app, often you can spend more time worrying about the quality of your programming notes, rather than the solution that you’re supposed to be working on.

I code in PyCharm, then copy and past into OneNote so I can review over my notes (code with lots of comments) from the nights and days before, on my phone, and readies me for the evening. Example:

# define our own Classes
# Classes define Objects, Classes are used to create Objects

# create a new variable that  references an Object str

my_name = 'John'

# the type of Object is str, because in order to create it
# we instantiate (create) the build-in str Class
# instatnitate is to create an Object from a Class

# empty Class Dog

class Dog:

# classes contian attributes (characteristics, also known as properties)

# instance attributes are unique to each object
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Gregory Leib on Nov. 29, 2022

An excellent and indeed non-intuitive point!

I find, as the presenter stated, that when hand writing notes, my focus is indeed much more on the ideas (and clarifying them in my head) and less on formatting notes in app.

In addition, making notes by hand allows me to quickly and easily make arrows connecting notes on concepts, diagrams, mind maps, and concept maps which are extremely helpful to me in ‘digesting’ new information.

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