Learning to program is something incredibly difficult, only accessible to mathematical geniuses. This is the first thought that comes to almost everyone who takes their first steps in IT. Cast aside doubts – it’s not as difficult as it seems.
It is worth starting the study of programming with the definition of goals. What do you want to achieve, and where to apply the acquired skills in practice? Having set a goal, move on to choosing a language, a platform for learning, and, without delay, start practicing.
Four reasons to start learning to program
Before you look for courses for programmers and open the first lesson, decide in general what you need it for. Then it will become clear which language is better for you to start learning to program and which projects to take on in the first place.
Programming is a valuable skill that will bring you a lot of benefits:
Acquisition of professional competencies
The first and most important thing is that knowledge and skills in the field of programming make you a more sought-after specialist. Technology penetrates deeper into our lives, so the need for qualified developers is growing. Even if you don’t work in IT, skills related to information technology still increase your chances of getting a job.
For project managers, a deep knowledge of the internal structure of the product or system being created is essential. And even if you have to administer a simple WordPress site, familiarity with HTML, CSS, and PHP is highly desirable.
Suppose the position you want to take is more than just technical. In that case, the ability to write code will still be beneficial: it will show your technical knowledge and ability to understand abstract concepts and solve complex problems.
The ability to translate your ideas into a real product
Knowing how to write code opens up opportunities for you to implement your own ideas and ideas. Have you come up with your concept for an application, website, or an entire computer game? And you can make them exactly the way you want and show the whole world!
It doesn’t matter if you create a commercial product initially or an open source pet project as a hobby, open source on GitHub – you must be able to do it with the right skills. And by the way, we’ll talk about how pet projects help at the beginning of learning programming and the subsequent job search.
Expansion of knowledge about the world around
The speed of technology development is simply amazing. Even if you know only the basics of programming, it is easier to understand how certain components of the digital landscape work and, first of all, the environment in which you find yourself every day – the Internet. Your knowledge of familiar technologies and how they work together will deepen.
You will enjoy
Learning to code is an unforgettable and emotional experience for many people. Wherever you start learning programming languages, when the basics fit in your head, and you start your projects, the process will become more like a hobby than a study. And if you don’t like it, why keep doing it?
What language to start learning programming with
To write code, you need to know at least some programming language – a syntax understandable to a computer and the principles of solving problems. The number of programming languages today is measured in hundreds, and all have their capabilities and purpose. However, there are simpler languages, and something like this is the best way to start learning programming: this way, you will quickly learn the basics.
Let’s dwell on popular and simple programming languages optimal for novice coders. First of all, learn one programming language (the one necessary for your purposes), and then, if you want, you can look towards other languages. Do not be afraid to make a mistake with the choice of language: you can later switch to another if necessary, and you will already know general concepts, patterns, and programming techniques behind you.
The entire Internet is based on HTML (Hypertext Markup Language): it is on it that the web pages that we view are written. When you load a page on any site, you will see exactly the HTML document interpreted by the browser.
If you are not ready to tightly connect your life with code, we advise you to start learning programming languages with HTML on your own. Strictly speaking, HTML cannot even be called a full-fledged programming language since it does not execute any scripts, and you cannot write a single functional program. But HTML is everywhere on the Internet, and to understand how sites work, you must deal with it.
CSS is likely less familiar to you. It is responsible for displaying content that is rendered with HTML. CSS Cascading Style Sheets are the visual design of the content (colors and font sizes, fills, indents) and the entire structure of the page.
Both languages are easy to learn: you don’t have to figure out the computational logic of real programming languages. In addition, the work results are not abstract but immediately visible – the code in the browser takes on the familiar look of the page. It is enough to create a new file with the .html extension, open it in any browser, or go to any site and view its code through the developer tools. This will help you quickly learn both languages - almost in one day.
Python is one of the most popular programming languages among beginners. It is versatile and has a very convenient, clear syntax. The bulk of the Python code is easy to read, almost like plain English text, which helps students quickly understand a function.
“C” is also often chosen by those who want to try coding. This language is more complicated than Python, and you must write long code to solve the same problems (at least for beginners). There will be more work, but you will understand abstract concepts much better. Learning C will give you general skills that come in handy when writing code in other, more concise languages.
C’s successor is C++. They are similar in syntax, but C++ has added a powerful new variable type, objects, making it possible to write complex applications. But we advise you to start with C: there are a few concepts in it, and all of them are in C ++.
If you’re wondering where to start learning how to program, Java is a great choice! Android applications are developed on it, and its principles are intuitively applicable to other programming languages.
Next Steps to Learn Programming
Step 1: Find the best learning format.
If you have already decided where to start learning to program (what language, etc.), then it’s time to select tools and platforms for learning.
Writing code is usually learned:
- Online programming courses. This method is one of the best for those who decide to learn a new (or even their first) programming language. Once you understand the syntax and use of the language features, you can actively start practicing. Courses on educational portals are usually very entertaining and exciting, often allowing you to perform exercises directly in the browser, and their complexity gradually increases.
- According to textbooks and tutorials. Any beginner must read the documentation and reference books to get acquainted with the syntax and see examples of solving certain problems. If you need help with what to do, refer to the manual.
- From videos and webinars on YouTube. With the help of video lectures and live coding lessons, you can understand complex abstract concepts and adopt best practices. Combining watching videos with online courses and other learning formats is advisable.
Step 2: Install the code editor
Of course, in most online courses, you can practice right in your browser, but serious programmers only work that way. Sooner or later, you will have to download a code editor and start writing in it, and the sooner, the better.
Many programming languages have special code editors available for download and, most often, included in interactive development environments (IDEs). IDE is a reliable and convenient tool that will help you write clean code without bugs and annoying typos. However, a regular text editor will do if you are learning to type in HTML.
Step 3: More Practice
So, you have chosen the language you want to start learning to program, read the theory, and gain practical knowledge. It’s time to take on your projects! Surely you think that you are still early, but after working on a training or pet project, you will be surprised at the speed of your progress.
What programs and applications to create a beginner? Depends on what language you are learning. If you delve into the front end, it will be cited. For the easiest possible start, you can even use a website builder. And if you learn Java, try writing a small Android application or game application.
Step 4: Seek help from the coding community
If you decide to study programming languages completely on your own, no matter where you start, it will be extremely difficult. You will need tips and support. For example, if you come across an incomprehensible piece of syntax, go to the programming forum in the language you are interested in, ask a question, and look for similar topics. By communicating with like-minded people, you will quickly find answers and get out of the impasse.
Step 5: Use someone else’s work
If you already know how to write code in a particular language, then it’s time to go deeper and consolidate your knowledge. Analyze, and use someone else’s code. This is a great way to keep learning.
Find the code for an application, individual component, or function. View it in the editor, and understand each line: what it does and what it is for. Write your comments if that’s easier for you. See what can be improved? Be sure to try!
When finished, save your changes and upload the code to the Internet so that other developers can leave feedback and comment on your version.
Step 6: Don’t stop learning
By and large, even such abstract systems as programming languages are, first of all, languages. Learning how to “speak” them takes a lot of practice.
Learning to program can take you completely and turn it into your favorite pastime! And once you learn to code, the skills you gain will stay with you forever.