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Unlocking the Programmer's Mindset: How to Think Like a Programmer

Jackson Carr
September 15, 2023
5 minutes
Image reads - "Unlocking the Programmer's Mindset: How to Think Like a Programmer" with vectors of a programmer solving

When you hear the term "programming," what comes to mind? Lines of code, algorithms, and complex software, right? While these are indeed essential components of programming, there's another crucial aspect that often goes overlooked - the programmer's mindset. Thinking like a programmer, also known as computational thinking, is a unique blend of problem-solving skills and mindsets that underpin the world of coding. In this article, we'll explore the key elements of thinking like a programmer and how you can develop this invaluable mindset.

Break Down Problems

At the core of programming is the ability to take a large, seemingly insurmountable problem and break it down into smaller, more manageable parts. This process, aptly called "decomposition," is a fundamental skill for programmers. Whether you're building a complex software application or solving a simple coding challenge, breaking the problem into bite-sized chunks makes it easier to tackle.

Think Logically

Logic is the lifeblood of programming. To think like a programmer, you must understand how to create a logical sequence of actions to solve a problem. This is known as "algorithmic thinking." Additionally, you'll need to master the art of utilizing conditions and repetitions in your code, known as "control flow." Logic is the glue that holds your code together and allows you to create functional solutions.


Every programmer knows that the code is not always error-free. Debugging, the process of finding and fixing bugs in your code, is a fundamental skill. It requires a keen eye for detail and the ability to spot where things are going wrong. Debugging is the art of problem-solving within the world of programming.


Abstraction is the skill of filtering out unnecessary information and focusing on what's essential. In programming, this often involves designing simple, reusable pieces of code to solve specific problems. Abstraction allows you to create efficient, modular, and scalable solutions.

Pattern Recognition

Pattern recognition involves identifying recurring patterns in problems and solutions. Recognizing these patterns can significantly simplify problem-solving. As a programmer, you'll develop the ability to see similarities between different challenges, making it easier to find efficient solutions.


Programming can be challenging and frustrating, especially when you encounter difficult problems. Persistence is the key to overcoming these obstacles. A programmer must be willing to keep trying different solutions until they find one that works. This tenacity is what sets successful programmers apart.


While the stereotypical image of a programmer might be someone working alone in a dark room, in reality, programming is often a highly collaborative process. You'll need to effectively work with others, communicate your ideas clearly, and collaborate on complex projects.

Continuous Learning

The world of programming is constantly evolving. To stay relevant and excel in your career, you must commit to lifelong learning. This means being proactive about seeking out new technologies, techniques, and strategies to improve your skills and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of technology.

Why is it important? 

Think of it this way: You're planning a road trip. Instead of just hopping in the car and driving, you approach it like a programmer. You decide on your destination, determine the most efficient route, prepare a list of items you'll need, and plan for potential issues like traffic or car troubles. You're logically sequencing your actions with foresight, just like writing a program.

A programming mindset goes beyond coding; it shapes individuals into adept problem solvers, critical thinkers, and efficient decision-makers. These skills and attitudes are transferable and can lead to success in diverse fields, making a programming mindset highly valuable in today's dynamic world. Whether you're pursuing a career in technology or not, developing a programming mindset can significantly enhance your problem-solving abilities and decision-making skills.

Put your ‘Programming Mindset’ into practice

You've learned about the essential elements of a programming mindset, and now it's time to put these valuable skills into action. At Covalence, we're excited to invite you to join our Community Membership program, where you can apply and further develop your programming mindset in a supportive and collaborative environment.

Our Community Membership program is designed to help you harness the power of your programming mindset and continue your journey of growth and learning. By becoming a part of the Covalence Community Membership program, you'll not only enhance your programming mindset but also open doors to new opportunities and experiences in the tech world. Embrace the collaboration, support, and growth that our community offers.

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