Deciding on your first programming language can be an enjoyable process, but before you start learning, keep in mind that it would take years of practice to become even remotely competent with your first programming language. Once you’re comfortable with one language, you can move on to another fundamentally different language.
If you’re interested in learning to code, it would be very helpful to start with the right mind. Watch the video above, which explains the right perspective that you should have when you start. Everyone has their way of learning to code, and you might need to do some experimenting to find out which approach works best for you.
If you’re still clueless about where to begin, here are a few steps to get you started:
- Find a few minor issues or projects that you’re interested in solving. You can try to create a tool to solve a small problem in your life, or you can set up a program that you find interesting from scratch. This work will help motivate you to continue learning to code and increase your chances of practising what you’ve learned.
- Conduct some studies to determine which programming language is most suitable for your project.
- Find and pursue a single, high-quality, beginner-oriented resource for this language.
- Supplement that resource by googling and ask questions.
- Eventually, complete a few non-trivial projects using that language.
There are some things that you should avoid doing along the way:
- Do not just passively follow along with any of the resources you use. Do the exercises and assignments; practice is an essential aspect of learning to code.
- Try not to switch back and forth between multiple programming languages; choose one and stick to it. Programming is all about problem-solving, not about programming languages. Learning how to solve problems is a challenge and is a skill that can only be refined through constant practice. If you choose to switch languages, you’re just wasting time that you could have spent practising what you’ve learned to further improve your problem-solving skills.
- Last but not least, don’t stop learning when you’ve finished your tutorial. Programming is a field in which there will always be something new to learn and explore.
Lastly, remember that learning to code can be a long and difficult process. If learning to code feels hard, don’t feel discouraged! The learning process is normal, many programmers will spend years of their lives practising before they consider themselves competent enough to seek a job or to contribute to a major project.
Where do I find good learning resources?
Free programming books
Some of the more commonly recommended free books which are more suited for beginners are:
- The Yellow Book – programming with C# for beginners
- Automate the Boring Stuff with Python – focuses on writing simple practical programs
- Invent with Python – learn programming through the creation of computer games with Python and Pygame.
- Structure and Intepretation of Computer Programs
- Program Arcade Games With Python and Pygame
Non-free programming books
If you cannot afford to purchase a book, check out your local library. They may have the book you want, or they may be willing to order it. Alternatively, your library may be able to provide you access to an e-book in an online database through a proxy.
- The C Programming Language
- Head First Java
- The Definitive C++ Book Guide and List
- The Definitive C Book Guied and List
Books for learning Algorithms and Data Structures
Algorithms are language agnostic but certain books are not. Here are a few books that you should keep an eye out:
Books for learning different programming languages
- Coffee Break Python
- MIT’s introductory courses(Intro to Computer Science and Programming)
- Core Python Programming
- Beginning Python
- Head First Python
Online learning resources
There are great sites for you to start looking for tutorials. They tend to categorize a lot of free resources in one place so that you can decide which one is most appropriate for you.
- Bento – A curated directory of tutorials from professional programmers with ordered tracks for different topics.
- Hackr.io – A community driven directory of programming tutorials, sorted by votes
Which programming language you have decided to learn first? Leave us your thoughts on the comment sections below. Follow us for more daily career insights and new hirings to land your dream job. Head over to Jobstore.com and unveil your next job opportunity.
You Jing is a content writer who writes career and lifestyle contents to inspire job seekers and employers alike on their journey to work-life balance, empowerment and transformation in their career path.
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