How to Solve Any Programming Problem

If you are not yet at the stage when you can just take a look at an assignment and immediately start writing code to solve the problem in front of you, it may be useful to create a list of steps you have to take every time you encounter a new task. While it may be interesting to do on your own, we believe that you still can use some suggestions to build around.

Read the Problem Carefully, Several Times

It may sound obvious, but you cannot solve a problem you do not understand. And skimming over the text accompanying your homework is often not enough to get its deeper meaning, especially when you are dealing with a more complex and large-scale task, like coursework. So make sure you understand what is required of you. Read the assignment as many times as you need to grasp its meaning. You may try explaining the problem to one of your peers to see if his/her understanding of the task matches your explanation – it is a good way to see if your perception is alright.

Solve the Problem Manually with Several Sets of Data

Let’s say you have a problem you have to solve using Matlab. Before you apply it, go through it manually, on a piece of paper, using a few different sets of data. This step is necessary to help you understand what exactly you have to do without putting your thought process in dependence on the tools you have to use.

Optimize the Necessary Steps

One of the main reasons to use programming to solve a problem is the possibility to simplify a manual solution by generalizing certain steps or eliminating repetitions. Therefore, you should look through your current solution to single out such cases and see if you can simplify them or reorganize them in a way that would reduce or eliminate repetitions.

Write Pseudocode to Solve the Problem

Surprisingly, many programming students are not aware of the existence of pseudocode at all. Instead, they are taught to write their programs in the code of their chosen programming language from the outset. Meanwhile, the use of pseudocode is extremely helpful because it allows you to formulate a complete solution to your problem before you write a single line of real code.

Pseudocode is a text-based tool used to develop algorithms. To put it simply, it is a plain-language description of each step of an algorithm that you can later transform into code written in your programming language of choice. If you start with presenting the solution of your problem in it, you will have a much easier time writing the code later on.

Turn Your Pseudocode into Real Code

After that, you simply have to go through your program and translate every line from pseudocode into real code written in the programming language you work with. After that, it is time to debug. Use several different sets of data to check if your program returns the results you want. Make sure everything works as expected before you move further – it is better to weed out mistakes early on.

Simplify and Optimize Your Code

Simplification and optimization are the most common themes in programming. It is not particularly difficult to write a program that solves a problem; what is really remarkable is writing a program that does it quickly, reliably, and with the least expenditure of computing power possible. This is why you have to analyze your code and look for any examples of repetitions you can replace with functions, elements you can do without altogether, and so on.

Debug

We mention it only here, but in reality, debugging is something you have to do all the time, at every step of your work. Such a practice will allow you to locate any errors as they appear when it is still easy to locate them, instead of when you have to go through the entire program to understand what is wrong.

Ask for Help if Necessary

Sometimes, no amount of effort and time invested into an assignment is enough to successfully deal with it. In such cases, it may be necessary to look for some extra help to get you through these, particularly difficult tasks. Fortunately, these days it is not difficult to find relevant experts online to help you out with the assignments that give you trouble. You simply have to specify what you need (e.g., Matlab assignment help) and it will not take you long to find people who can lend you a hand.

Learning how to code is not an easy task, no matter what programing language you use. If you regularly have problems writing your coding assignments, try out this sequence – we are sure you will find it much easier to deal with your problems from now on!

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