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How to Debug Your Code: 5 Useful Tips for Beginners

When you code, don't expect things to go smoothly. You are likely to encounter errors, which may cause your code to not work as you expected it to.

This calls for you to debug the code and fix the problems. However, doing so may be easier said than done.

Sometimes, you may spend more time trying to figure out why your code doesn't work compared to actually writing the code itself.

Even veteran programmers spend countless hours trying to debug their codes when they encounter errors. So, doing so would be just as difficult, if not more, for newbies.

Here are five useful tips on how to debug the code for beginners:

1. Check Error Messages

When it comes to debugging your code and figuring out why it doesn't work, start by checking the error messages.

Whether you're creating a website or software, almost every development environment displays error messages to help programmers diagnose the problems.

When there are issues with your code, you may see an error message, which often helps you identify the problems and figure out the solutions. However, not many programmers pay attention to error messages and often ignore them.

Error messages may not help you understand the problem completely, but they may serve as a starting point and give you some idea about the problems.

2. Look for a Solution Online

When you have just gotten started with coding, look for solutions online when it comes to debugging your code.

You can leverage any search engine of your choice. But it's highly recommended that you just Google things. Google is a leading search engine with over 93% of the market share in the search industry, which may facilitate access to relevant information.

It may help you explore a number of online communities where you can simply interact with other programmers and ask for solutions.

You're not the only one who is facing problems with the code. There may be others who have come across similar bugs before you and successfully found the fitting solutions.

Coding communities are generally very friendly, where programmers share their knowledge and experiences with other like-minded individuals.

Leveraging social media may also come in handy, as social media platforms have over 4.74 billion users worldwide. So, you may come across like-minded people using a platform of your choice.

Hence, whenever you encounter any issues with your code, looking for solutions online may be a viable approach to consider.

3. Leverage Trusted Sources of Information

When you come across issues with your code, leveraging trusted sources of information may be useful. This encompasses platforms representing your preferred development environment and the official documents released by them to help programmers.

Whether you're new to using a development platform or have encountered an issue with your code, checking official documents may serve as a good start. Just ensure that the solutions proposed are up-to-date and validated by other users.

Accessing official sources of information and other useful resources saves time and maximizes your efficiency when it comes to debugging your code and finding optimal solutions to issues.

Going through all that technical information may appear overwhelming, but it will benefit you in the long run and reduce the likelihood of errors in your code.

4. Explain Your Code to Someone

When coding, finding your mistakes by yourself is not as easy as it sounds. You need to understand the logic behind your code. And you can't do it by simply staring at your code and wondering why it doesn't work, as nothing seems to be wrong.

What you should be doing is going through your code line-by-line and explaining why you wrote it the way you did.

It's best to do this activity with a friend, preferably one with coding expertise. However, if you don't have one, imagine you're explaining your code to someone by reading it out loud.

The goal here is to make yourself understand your code and know what it's supposed to do, rather than being fixated on your assumptions. This will help you compare the logic in your mind with what's actually happening in the code.

When you write the code, you may get lost in the process. So, what you intend to write may end up being different from what you actually do. So, when you come across issues in your code, it's best to pay attention to detail and understand your code.

This may seem tedious and require a lot of brain activity. But it may serve as an effective mechanism to debug your code.

5. Take a Step Back

Sometimes, debugging your code may be way more difficult than usual. It may take several hours or days for you to find the problems and come up with viable solutions.

This generally happens when you have written really long and sophisticated code for a website or a feature-rich application.

Debugging your code in situations like these can often be a frustrating and stressful experience, which may affect your ability to detect and solve problems.

When you have already read your code several times and tried different solutions, but nothing seems to work, the overall activity may seem pointless.

So, when you think you're stuck and it feels like there's no way out, the best thing to do is take a breather.

Stop everything and do something that relaxes you. Go out for a walk, hang out with your friends, play a video game, watch your favorite movie, or do something that takes your mind off work and calms you down.

It's less likely for you to fix the bugs when you feel mentally drained. As a matter of fact, you may end up making things worse by making tweaks in the code that you shouldn't have.

So, give yourself a break. Your brain would be subconsciously processing the information collected thus far and your ideas. So, when you are relaxed and back to work, you may have better chances at debugging the code.

Final Words

There you have it: the five useful tips for beginners on how to debug your code. If you have been struggling to find the errors in your code and come up with viable solutions, the recommendations in this article may come in handy.

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