Programming is one of the most essential skills to navigate our tech-driven world. However, learning programming can seem overwhelming, especially for those who are just starting out. So if you’re unsure how to start coding, read on.
This article offers a step-by-step guide for how to learn programming for beginners. So if you’re at the start of your programming journey and are unsure what to learn first, which languages to focus on, or how to learn coding, we’ve got you covered!
The Benefits of Learning Programming
- Improved problem-solving skills: Programming requires logical and creative thinking. This will make you a better problem-solver.
- Access to career opportunities: Programming knowledge can open up a wide range of career options, such as software development, data analysis, artificial intelligence, and more.
- Learn transferable skills: Programming skills like logic, critical thinking, and attention to detail are valuable in many fields.
- A better understanding of technology: Learning how technology works and its impact on society can be useful to help you make informed decisions about technology.
- Increase earning potential: As technology improves and demand for programmers increases, programming skills can increase your earning potential.
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Learn Programming in 2023
1. Learn Computing Fundamentals: Architecture, Data, and How Programming Languages Work
The first step in our programming guide focuses on learning computing fundamentals. Getting a grasp on the basics will be one of the best investments of your time. Let’s focus on architecture, data, and programming languages for now.
This refers to the design of a computer system and the way it’s organized. It includes the hardware (physical computer components), such as the processor, memory, input/output devices, and logical components, such as the operating system and software applications.
There are several types of computer architecture, with common examples being Von Neumann Architecture, Harvard Architecture, Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) Architecture, and Complex Instruction Set Computing (CSIC).
This is the raw information that a computer processes and stores. It can be in the form of numbers, letters, symbols, images, videos, audio, and more. Data can be analyzed using data mining, machine learning, and statistical analysis techniques.
The way that data is stored and processed has a significant impact on its accessibility, security, and even accuracy. As a programmer, your core duties will often include storing, organizing, and processing data. Coursera offers several data science courses for beginners.
These are the languages that programmers use to communicate with computers. They provide a way for humans to write instructions for the computer to execute.
Each language has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the choice of language will depend on what you’re building.
2. Understand What the Internet Is and How It Works
The Internet has become an important part of technology. And it’s the backbone of many applications and services that are used every day. As an aspiring programmer, you need to have a basic understanding of how the Internet works.
Many programming tasks today involve the development of web applications or services that run on the Internet. As a programmer, you can make better design and implementation decisions if you understand the protocols and other technologies that make the Internet work.
3. Don’t Be Afraid of the Command Line: Learn the Basics
The command line, also known as the terminal, is a text-based interface for interacting with a computer’s operating system. Unlike a graphical user interface (GUI), which uses icons and windows to interact with the operating system.
The command line operates a command-response model. This means a user runs a command, and the computer returns the output or results of that command. The available commands vary depending on the operating system, but it’s always a good choice to start with Unix-based commands.
You can use the command line to perform several tasks, including managing files and directories, running programs and scripts, and configuring the operating system. You really need to learn how to use the command line because you will be using it daily as a programmer.
4. Gain Essential Code Editor Skills
A code editor is a software application you can use to create, edit and save your programming files. They also offer useful features like syntax highlighting and autocompletion. Although you should use these features sparingly when learning to code as a beginner, as they can become a crutch and actually hinder your learning.
Learning how to use a code editor is a non-negotiable skill for any aspiring developer, as it can greatly improve your productivity and efficiency as a programmer. One of the most popular code editors programmers use is Visual Studio Code.
5. Learn the Fundamentals of HTML & CSS
HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are the two most popular and simple technologies for creating and styling web pages.
For many, these are a great way to pick up the basics of coding, as they’re easy to learn and provide visual feedback for your coding efforts.
If you’re not sure what these are, HTML is a markup language used to describe the structure and content of web pages. It provides a way to describe how the elements that make up a web page, like the text, images, etc, should be organized and displayed on the screen.
CSS is a stylesheet language used to describe the visual appearance of a web page. It provides a way to specify the layout, colors, font styles, and other visual aspects of the content on a web page. CSS works by attaching styles to HTML elements to control how they are displayed on the screen.
Understanding HTML and CSS is important if you are interested in web development. It equips you with the skills for building and styling web pages and also provides a foundation for learning more advanced web development technologies.
7. Learn Python
Python is a high-level and interpreted language popular for various programming activities, including data analysis and data science, artificial intelligence, web development, and more. Learning Python can open up many career options for you.
Overall, Python is a beginner-friendly language that is popular due to its simplicity and readability. It also provides a clear and concise syntax, making it easy to learn.
Another reason Python is great for beginners is its large and active community. This has led to the development of many powerful libraries and tools that make it even easier to use. Finding high-quality learning resources to learn programming online with Python is also easy.
If you are an aspiring programmer, learning Python will be worth the time and effort. Not sure where to start? Udemy has an exceptionally-popular Python course worth checking out.
8. Broaden Your Horizons by Learning Java
Another programming language you can consider is Java. It’s a high-level, object-oriented programming (OOP) language often used to build enterprise-level applications. Java’s popularity is often attributed to its robustness, scalability, and security.
Apart from enterprise applications, Java is also used for developing Android mobile applications, games, and scientific computing. It’s also popular for backend web development.
Simply put, if you’re serious about programming, Java is a great choice!
9. Learn & Use Git
Git is a distributed version control system. It’s used to manage and track changes to software projects. It’s a valuable skill to learn as a developer, as it’s one of the most widely used tools for software development teams.
The basic idea behind Git is to allow multiple developers to work on a project simultaneously while maintaining a record of all the changes that are made to the project over time.
This record, called a repository, is stored on a central server or on multiple servers in a distributed setup. This allows developers to see a complete history of the project, including who made what changes and when.
Git also provides several tools to help manage conflicts arising when many developers work on the same project. For example, you can create a branch and work on different parts of the project in parallel without affecting the main branch. You can later merge your changes to the main branch when it has been approved.
If you want to contribute to open-source projects, you must learn how to use Git, as it is the tool most open-source projects use for version control. So again, keep it simple, learn, and use Git!
10. Learn SQL & How To Use Databases
SQL (Structured Query Language) is the go-to language to process data from relational databases. If you’re unsure what these are, they’re an effective way to organize data into tables with a relational model to describe relationships between them.
In a nutshell, SQL is used for interacting with databases by sending statements to a database, and these are then executed by the relational database management system (RDBMS).
There are a variety of RDBMS available, including popular open-source systems like MySQL and PostgreSQL, as well as commercial systems like Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server. Regardless of the RDBMS, SQL is the standard language used to interact with the database, making it an essential skill for any aspiring programmer to learn.
To learn SQL, start with the basics, like creating tables and inserting and retrieving data. If you like it, move on to advanced topics, like complex queries, joins, and managing transactions.
11. Dive Into Popular Web Frameworks & MVC
Web frameworks are collections of libraries and tools designed to make building and maintaining web applications easier. They provide a structure and a set of conventions for developing applications. They also often include features like routing, templating, and database integration, among others.
A popular Python web framework is Django, which includes many built-in tools for tasks such as authentication, URL routing, form handling, etc.
Model-View-Controller (MVC) is a design pattern that separates application logic into distinct components, making it easier to maintain and update the code.
The Model component handles the data and business logic of the application. The View component displays the data to the user. And the Controller component handles user input and coordinates the interaction between the Model and View components.
MVC is widely used in web development and many web frameworks, including Django and Express. Understanding MVC and how it is implemented in popular web frameworks is an important aspect of web development, and it can help you, as an aspiring programmer, build more maintainable and scalable web applications.
12. Use Package Managers
A Package is a collection of code bundled together to make it easy to reuse in other projects. Package managers are tools that make it easier to manage packages. Sounds simple enough, right?
These tools provide a library where you can find and install packages and manage dependencies between packages.
One of the most popular package managers is npm, the Node Package Manager, which manages packages for Node.js applications. This provides a command-line interface to install packages, manage dependencies, and even create and publish your own packages.
Another popular choice is PIP which you can use to download packages from the Python libraries list.
Learning how to use packages and package managers is an important aspect of software development, as it makes it easier to reuse code and manage dependencies between different parts of your project.
Whether you are building a simple script or a complex application, understanding how to use them will help you build more maintainable and scalable software faster.
Other Useful Tips for Learning Programming
- Set goals: Clear and defined goals help you stay focused and motivated as you learn to program.
- Be consistent: The more you practice, the better you will become at programming. Set aside a specific time each day to practice coding.
- Take breaks: This helps you stay focused and prevents burnout. Engage in other activities that you enjoy to help you relax.
- Learn in public: Sharing work and getting feedback can be a great way to learn and improve. You can create content about your learning via blogs, videos, cheat sheets, and more.
- Get Help: There are many great online forums and communities to ask questions and get support from other programmers.
This article has covered a 12-step guide to help you learn how to program online in 2023. So, whether you need to learn to code or are just excited to learn programming, our guide provides guidance and structure to make the most of your efforts.
If you’ve made it this far, you should now know where to spend your time and what to focus on.
By learning how to program, you will reap the rewards of improved problem-solving skills, access to a wider array of career opportunities, and increased earning potential. Sounds pretty good, right? Just remember to have fun, stay motivated, and keep learning. Best wishes on your programming journey!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How Do I Start Learning Programming?
For starters, check out our guide! It’s got 12 steps to help you on your programming journey.
In general, learn the basics of computing, learn how the Internet works, then learn programming basics with a language that suits your career goals. You can also learn from books, courses, or by attending boot camps.
2. Can I Teach Myself Programming?
Yes! Learning to program for beginners can be challenging, but with determination, you can do it. In general, when figuring out how to learn to code, try to stick to a language that you’re excited to use.
You should also consider starting with the basics of programming by taking one of the best programming courses, and using our guide to help you structure your learning.
3. How Many Years Does It Take To Learn to Code?
This depends on many factors, like your current skills, time available to learn, approach to learning, and more.
For example, it might take some people a year to learn how to program well enough to land their first job. Others, however, might be able to do it significantly quicker with an intensive boot camp to supercharge their programming learning.
4. What Are the 4 Types of Programming?
There are many programming paradigms, with the four major choices being imperative programming, object-oriented programming, procedural programming, and functional programming.