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Issa Jean Marie

@issadevs founder

13th April, 2023

Do you need to memorize things as a software developer?

Do you need to memorize things as a software developer?

“Never memorize what you can look up in a book” - Albert Einstein.

There is a popular meme that goes like this; “Dear college students, writing codes on paper doesn’t make you programmers” - Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg Meme telling students that they are not programmers because they write codes on papers!

College has this belief in memorization, they force you to remember things vividly. It makes sense in some sectors, you won’t Google how to fix a heart artery when someone is in a coma.

Some joiners ask me, “Do we have to memorize things because they seem to be too much to memorize”? And my answer is always a big NO.

The answer will always be a NO to this question. You don’t have to memorize things.

See, in programming, most of it is much more logical than passive recall. You don’t solve the problem based on the codes you memorized, in fact, you can’t memorize every code snippet that solves a problem, you solve a problem based on your thinking and logic.

Do you know how many programming languages we have in the world, right now? 250-2,500 Google says.

And guess what? They all work almost the same. It’s nothing like real-life languages where learning a new language requires memorizing every single word and learning grammar. But programming languages are much more like learning grammar, you follow rules. The better you understand the first programming language, the easier it gets to learn the second one.


If you are afraid of learning how to code because you think you will have to memorize every single line of code, fear no more. It’s not what you think.

See, in programming, we can solve a problem in 100 different ways using a combination of the same syntax but in totally different ways because we have different logic.

You can learn a programming language’s syntax in one night but it doesn’t give you the superpower to code. All you need is logic, to know how to think programmatically, and how to use that syntax.

So, what’s the catch here?

It’s simple if you want to get better at coding, focus on basics when you are getting started and then develop your logic. By doing this it will be much easier for you to shift from one programming language to another and your problems will become a kid’s.

But how do you develop your logic?

Well, I am not an expert at this, but I will tell you what most programmers do, they practice. There might be brain hacks, but fu** that, just practice. The more challenges you solve the easier it gets to solve the next one.

But seriously, don’t you need to memorize things?

Weeeel, some things you need to keep in that beautiful brain of yours.

The majority of programmers are internet dependent, they can barely code offline. But sometimes it’s good to remember the syntax, especially those you need daily. I mean what’s the cost of keeping things in your brain? The brain doesn’t run out, does it?

I mean you don’t have to memorize things that much, but it won’t hurt if you did either. Plus in many job applications, you will have to do a live coding challenge, and it will be disappointing if they see you Googling how to center a DIV.

And sometimes remembering syntax saves you a lot of time and sets you apart from average programmers.

Long story short, it’s not essential to memorize everything to become a great programmer, it’s more important to understand the concepts and develop your logic to help you solve challenging problems. However, it’s better to make sure you don’t become too internet dependent. It’s still good to remember some syntax in case you may be interviewed or if you want to stand out from the crowd.

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