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What you actually need to become an expert programmer

 When it comes to programming, there is no reasonable shortcut to practice. What kind of practice am I talking about? Does it mean we should spend all day on Leetcode or Hackerrank? No, you don't have to but it is very important that you spend sufficient time on these platforms to improve the quality of your programming expressibility.

Apart from the above-mentioned platforms where you can learn interview specific programming, you must study the entirety of computer science like a monk in some monastery studies religious text. You really have to spend a lot of time and I mean about 60% of your time just reading books, watching videos/simulations about data structures and algorithms and actually trying your best to code recode and recode some more the algorithms and data structures that you study.

You must remember that programming is a natural mode of expression for the human mind. Some people are adept at it naturally but you cannot really escape practice. The more you know about the computer in all aspects the better a programmer you will be. 

You must really put your mind to it, even though there are going to be large swaths of time when you feel like you are not making any progress. You must just keep going and going no matter how long it takes.

Another very important thing to keep in mind is that even though you know how to code, you should really make the effort to study discrete math. This cannot be understated. My favourite book in this respect would be Concrete Mathematics by Knuth et. al This is a mature book so you might need to brush up on some of your basic algebra skills before getting in.

Even if you don't own a PhD. you should be able to understand PhD. level text in computer science and advanced algorithms. You need to really broaden your mind if you want to solve some fundamental problem in computer science just the way Page and Brin solved automated web search with Google. 

If getting a job is all you care about then you don't need to go super deep, just trick your way through with hackerrank, learn some web stack, build some toy projects in your portfolio, prepare seriously for the tech interview, learn how to code on a whiteboard and that's all. But if you want to become a real master capable of starting a multi-billion to trillion-dollar company then you must be monastic in your dedication to the mastery of software and hardware technology.

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