Coding is a very broad term and can be used in different areas. For example, software developers write code to create a custom software solution, web developers make websites with the use of code, and engineers program the machinery or even create the brains of multi-billion-dollar technological marvels.
That’s why so many people want to learn at least a single programming language. It opens millions of new opportunities, and not only in the IT world. Moreover, you can learn and practice teaching problem-solving and logical thinking skills. As they are always deeply tied with writing code.
So, before you even start getting into programming itself, it’s important to know what you’re going to do with this knowledge. Do you plan on becoming a software vendor who can develop a custom software solution for any customer’s needs? Or will you code for heavy machinery or complicated mechanisms? Or maybe cybersecurity is your field of interest?
Understanding at least the general direction will eliminate any useless efforts and will determine what you need to learn. But don’t worry if you still have no clue what your specific interests are. Knowing the basics of a single programming language will let you study other ones much more easily, and will give you a good image of what coding is.
Now, let’s learn the first steps of getting into the world of programming.
There are hundreds of different programming languages. However, most of them are either outdated, too clunky, or too specific. For a beginner, the best idea is to start with the most universal ones with a gentle learning curve. Here’s a list of the best options:
- Python. Most consider it the best modern programming language. It’s versatile, flexible, easy to learn and use, and can be applied in different spheres.
- Java. This is one of the most popular ones. It is pretty easy to learn and has many different uses.
- C and C++. These are the foundation of the coding world in general, as they have been the most used languages for decades. It’s a perfect choice for those who are ready for a little challenge with a big reward.
- C#. This is a more narrowly used derivative of C. It’s utilized for games and specific Microsoft applications mostly. A good starting point for those who plan on working in the video game industry.
- Kotlin/Swift are the native languages for mobile devices (Android/iOS, respectively).
As you can see, some of these languages determine the field of work, while others can be used pretty much anywhere. Currently, most professionals in this industry would recommend starting with C (C++) or Python. But don’t worry too much about it. Even if you will want to change direction in the future, it won’t be any problem, as you will already be acquainted with the basics of coding.
There are many different ways to study. Starting from the usual forms like higher educational facilities and ending with free online courses. The reality is entering a college or a university and studying programming there provides you with a lot of skills and knowledge. However, it may require a lot of time, which isn’t always used for the subjects one needs.
So, a better option is to sign up for specialized online courses. The number of available ones on the Internet is ridiculous, so it’s easy to find the one you need. In most cases, the paid courses provide you with the best skills and knowledge and are the most efficient. But it’s still possible to find really good free courses, it just requires a little bit of searching.
Also, a good addition to the main source of learning is Youtube videos. Many creators make interesting videos about coding. They show how to effectively study the basics, some of the common issues, and easy programs for starters, making their content very useful for beginners.
Another resource one should always remember about is GitHub. It’s a platform where all the developers share their projects and parts of them. There, you can easily learn how certain things work, and where they are used. Also, sometimes you can use their free-source code for your projects.
IDE stands for Internal Development Environment and is basically a program where you’re going to work. The best ones for beginners are:
- Microsoft Visual Studio (Visual Studio Code too)
- Eclipse (C++)
- PyCharm (Python)
Don’t worry about picking the perfect one too much, though. You won’t feel the differences (except for interface design) as a rookie anyway.
Now, it’s time to do the magic itself. Start applying what you’ve learned from the online courses and videos. There’s no need to attempt to create large complex pieces of software yet, try making the simplest ones. Your first tries should be programs that simply put text on the screen, or that make basic mathematical equations.
After you’re familiar with the very basics, try creating something more complex. It can be a calculator or even a simple Tetris game. Trust me, it’s much easier than you think, especially considering how much useful information you can find online.
Always use commentaries for your code. For most languages, they’re activated with “//text”.This way, you’ll be able to understand what particular parts stand for so that they can even be used in other programs.
After you’ve done some programming, you have probably realized that the key to learning how to code is practice. Because this craft is all about doing the same things over and over in many different ways. A single piece of software can be created with hundreds of non-identical approaches that utilize completely different functions.
Practice makes you remember the foundations and teaches you how to apply them in different situations. The core principle of coding is solving issues with practical solutions that suit a particular situation. What works in one piece of software may not be as appealing in others, so it’s important to practice as much as you can. It shapes your professional approach and teaches how to solve any issue in the most efficient way.
Challenge yourself, set demanding goals, and try to make some unique programs. Also, don’t forget to create them in the easiest way possible, because optimization is key. Don’t be shy and share your creations online. Ask other people to test your projects, and provide feedback.
By now, you have probably realized that there’s no end to learning how to code. You may know a certain programming language perfectly, but there will always be issues that will need to be solved with a new unique approach. And don’t forget about technological progress. There will always be new machinery to be programmed, new algorithms, new functions, new bugs, new languages, and so on.
Coding is not just about knowing how to write the code itself. It’s also about the mindset, the one that makes you ready for any challenges and gives you energy to solve any problem by programming. So, keep practicing, and good luck!
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