How to Start Learning Programming – Where to Find the Basics

Coding and web development are becoming more popular, with many people choosing to learn computer programming. A survey by Indeed indicated that Software Engineering ranks top among the most sought-after courses. Getting a foothold of what coding entails may seem a daunting undertaking, especially if you’re starting. Any professional programmer started somewhere. Beginners struggle to comprehend different programming languages, such as PHP and JavaScript, but if you remain consistent about it, you’ll soon have the “Aha!” moment of it. This tutorial provides insightful information on how you can learn programming, and the best websites to learn the basics.

Familiarize Yourself with Programming Languages

The first step is to understand and select a suitable programming language for you. Essentially, you want to choose a user-friendly language that provides the best option for beginners. A lot of people prefer starting with Java, C, C++, or Python. Experts recommend C++ for beginners because it is not as basic as Python, and has an extensive Standard Template Library (STL) than C. Your choice of language depends mostly on your interests and objectives. If you love front- and back-end programming, video-game development, app development, or data science, you’ll have to find the most suitable language for the specific programming field.

Understand Data Structures and Algorithms

Computer programming is all about solving problems. Once you are familiar with one of the above languages, start learning about data structures and algorithms. Doing this helps in choosing the ideal data structure is critical because each problem requires a specific form of data arrangement. It also helps since it makes it easy to solve the problem. Understanding algorithms, on the other hand, helps one to know the ins and outs of library functions, which may be otherwise difficult to learn.

Do Practical and Competitive Programming

The next step is to gain hands-on experience in solving problems online. Several websites offer beginner-friendly coding problems. They include Codeforces, Hackerrank, Codechef, SPOJ, and Geeksforgeeks, among others. The more you get your hands dirty on this, the more skilled you become. You should solve these problems from the easiest to the more difficult. Once you master the skill and can solve more than 100 varied problems, you become confident about your coding skills. With time, you can sign up for online programming competitions, which improves your skills further.


Create an App

At this stage, you understand a lot about programming. Thus, you need to put your mettle to the test by creating some useful applications. Select a web development framework, whether Django or Ruby on Rails, and start a project. By doing this, you join the large pool of software developers who can work on various mobile software, such as Android and iOS.


Where to Learn the Basics of Programming

Beginners have a large selection of websites where they can learn the basic nitty-gritty about programming. Some of these courses are offered for free in the following sites:


Codecademy

Codecademy is a popular site among beginners who wish to learn software development. Here, you’ll have a chance to learn how to do programming, among other technical skills. It has been applauded as the best website for interactive learning because you can practically feed the code into a browser according to the instructions provided and see the outcomes immediately.


BitDegree

BitDegree provides a large selection of programming courses, from wide-game development to software creation. Besides the standard courses, the site offers gamified and interactive sessions as well. Learners can also choose from a wide range of programming languages like HTML, SQL, PHP, Java, and JQuery, and more.


Coursera

With Coursera, you can learn different programming courses, technical tools, and other resources with instructions from knowledgeable and experienced professors from leading universities. That means you have reliable and updated tools. These courses are offered at no cost, but obtaining a certificate comes at a fee.


edX

EdX is a web-based higher-learning program provided by MIT and Harvard. Hence, it ranks among the highly-respected online programs for learning everything to do with coding and software development. Under its Computer Science category, learners can choose from over 100 excellent courses with different programming languages.


Featured Image: Christopher Gower@cgower