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Learning to code is a new skill that is popular these days. It is so much in demand that even high schools have added programming in their curriculum. Programming and coding are often used interchangeably but both are different and you can read about them here. With every chore being digitized & becoming smart and automotive with the AI technology, learning to code has become the need of an era.
Everything that you can possibly think of can be done using an app or a website from ordering a cab, or food or shopping online to watching movies or even taking a course & gaming skills. With applications being digitized the demand also increases for developers and programmers and hence learning a programming language would be beneficial. This article discusses how to learn the programming language of your choice and the correct way to begin your programming journey. So let us get started!
How to Learn to Code
Before we begin reading further let me remind you that you have chosen a path that demands patience and motivation to never give up in spite of the challenge on the way. Read through and follow the steps below to become a programmer.
Learn Programming Fundamentals
You may want to learn the languages in one of the following two ways:
1. Through Interactive Websites
Websites like Codecademy and Freecodecamp are recommended for interactive coding sessions. These were built with the idea that many beginners are stuck at the beginning when they start to learn to code while setting up the development environment. These websites offer online text editors and compilers to begin coding instantly.
2. Through Video Tutorials
If you are a person who likes a detailed study with step by step guidance then we recommend you enroll into any online programming tutorial that teaches you from the beginning to install and download the required IDE to basic concepts of the language and it ends with a capstone project to test your coding skills. Some tutorials and courses also offer certifications that could help you later when you look for the job. We recommend Pluralsight and Lynda for searching the beginner tutorials for the preferred language. You may also want to check out some top-rated tutorials at Hackr.io.
Focus on Learning Programming Basics
It is always suggested to make your fundamentals strong so as to be a pro coder. Learn the basics thoroughly and try your hands on the code by making your own problems and solving them. Stress on the following topics to begin learning as they are common in almost all the languages.
- Data Types
- Array or Lists
- If statements
- Conditional loops
- Classes and objects
- Exception handling
- Trees, maps, and more.
Build your First Project
Building your personal project is the best way to analyze and learn what you have learned. Building a project of your choice would give you practical learning experience of the language in much detail as you would come across the implementation of the concepts that you have learned earlier and also learn how to deploy the project to be used by you and all others. Moreover, as you build your projects add it to your profile or your GitHub account, this would help you in the future when you look for a job in development.
The biggest question that arises at this stage is:
How Should I Choose a Project?
This is where most people get stuck at the deciding stage so what to build? The solution is simple. Let us see it below:
1. Choose What Interests You
Whether it comes to studying or coding you must do what interests you the most. You must enjoy the project area you choose so that you are passionate about it and it keeps you engage until built. If you choose something that is not of your interest you may end up giving up your project in the middle as you might eventually lack interest in it. So choose something that keeps you held upon itself like if like playing games then you might just want to develop a video game of your choice. Similarly, if you like photography you might want to build up your portfolio website showcasing your work or if you are someone who is interested in trading you might design an app or website to analyze your stock charts. Analyze and give it a thought that what you like before you begin to build.
2. Start With Something Simple
Being confident about your capabilities is good but being overconfident is not. So it is recommended that you begin with simple and easy projects to explore the language more before you dive into building complex projects.
For example, if you choose to build a video game do not straightaway begin with the complex video game League of Legends instead begin within something like tic-tac-toe or if you want to build a website do not start with building something like Amazon or Facebook instead go for something easier like a to-do list.
3. Build Something Useful for Yourself and the Community
Be innovative and build something that is useful for you as well as that interests the community. Building something of community’s interest would give an opportunity to have several downloads or viewers to your project and this way you would have something to showcase your and also have an edge over other candidates while looking for a job.
Few Ideas to Get Started
If you are puzzled about where, to begin with, we have got you few ideas to start with your project building. You could begin with a simple website like making a to-do list or if you want to make a game app then games like Tetris, sudoku, and the flappy bird are good to start with learning programming.
If you want something challenging you might want to consider building a website similar to Twitter but with not as many features as Twitter offers but with some basic functionality like to tweet and follow. Hackr gives you many project ideas for several languages ranging from the beginner level to the advanced level. Check out the projects of different languages here:
There would come a time while you develop the projects that you would feel stuck it could anything from getting errors, your program crashing without any message or even your coding executing fine but not generating the output you desired you might get so restless even sometimes that you might want to give up. What do you do in such scenarios? Don’t give up! Stay motivated, and to help consider below the points to continue working on your project.
1. Learn to Google the Error Correctly
This is a crucial step that you must master. Searching and surfing the error of your code would help you correct your code within few minutes but on the other hand, if are not sound at this skill it would be like diving into a whirlpool of code without a map. A tip that I would like to share here is put the error generated by your compiler in double-quotes (“ ”) before searching on Google. This way Google would specifically target the error as the same sentence and that would give a much accurate filtered result.
2. Popular Websites to Guide You
Websites like Stack-Overflow and Reddit top the charts here to guide developers around the world with their code. It is a full-fledged community of developers from all fortes that come up to help each other in their projects. Posting your doubts here could even take 2-3 weeks to get a response but it is worthy, although you might already end up finding the solution to your error as many people might have come across the same error before. It is also suggested that you answer some of the questions that you can to help others and so this way you would also learn.
3. Events and Meetups
This step might be difficult to start with as it requires you to leave your comfort zone but trust me once you start doing it you would enjoy it. So, start by looking for people who have similar interests as yours and get to know or maybe work with them. You could try searching for some “coding events” at your Facebook’s event page or visiting the meetup site and connect with people to learn more.
Get a Job or an Internship
Finally, many learn programming languages to end up in a development job. So when you are confident enough or believe that you know some basic programming you may want to step in the development industry by starting with an internship. Start working as a paid or an unpaid intern in a project that is of your interest or you may even assist or work with some experienced developer to learn. Working as an intern gives you an opportunity to learn and enhance your skills and sometimes even get paid. Even if you are not getting pain you get an opportunity to make your network in the industry for future references and placements.
You may want to begin your internship search in the following ways:
- LinkedIn: It is the most trusted source that reaches a wide audience and can help you find a variety of internships of your interest.
- Career Fairs: These are pretty helpful as you get an opportunity to meet the recruiters in person and hence can discuss your interests and analyze if the project interests you too.
- Networking: This is the most recommended way of getting an internship as you get into a job through someone’s reference you are certain to get an edge over other candidates as they tend to trust you easily if someone from there firm refers you. You can build up your network by going to events and meetups as guided above.
Computer Science Degrees or Bootcamps: Which is beneficial to learn to program?
Whether to study by enrolling in a degree program or into a Bootcamp? Is a common question that comes for those you begin to learn to code. There not a certain answer to this question as it entirely depends upon person to person and also their learning capability. To further guide you, if you are a high school student who is yet to enrol in graduate school and programming is the career then you must go to for a degree in computer science but if computer science and coding is something that interested you later in your career then you might want to go for a Bootcamp in a programming language of your choice. However, it is also recommended that you begin with an online course either paid or free to get a flavour of coding first before spending on the Bootcamp as they are expensive.
That brings us to the end of the guide to learn to program. I hope after reading this article you are urged to learn to program and start coding your first project. We at Hackr.io have shortlisted the best courses for almost all the programming languages that you might want to check out. So gear up and begin your journey of becoming a developer. Do you have other tips that you would like to share with others in the programming community? Let us know. Happy Coding!
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