Programming remains a high-demand and high-paying skill with not enough professionals. This is because most people do not know how or the best ways to learn programming languages.
Learning to code effectively may take a while. Nevertheless, the journey does not have to be complex or boring.
This guide will explain what programming is all about and the simple steps required to learn programming the fun way.
What Is Programming?
Programming or computer programming is telling a computer what to do. As humans, we have our languages. This can vary from English, Spanish, and Chinese, to name a few.
We communicate in these languages. With computers, it is different. You can only instruct them to carry out an operation via syntactical instructions.
This set of instructions is known as a “programming language”.
Best Ways to Learn Programming: 8 Smart Steps
1. Know your goals
People learn programming for different reasons. This varies from the desire to be financially free to the ability to create software for businesses and individuals.
Understanding which one drives you will help you create a pathway (lesson plan). With a plan, you can monitor your progress and stay motivated.
Having well-defined goals will also protect you from confusion about what is next in your programming journey.
2. Start with the basics
After identifying why you want to learn how to code, you need a lesson plan. This plan or strategy must start with the basics.
For context, the building blocks of programming are:
- Data structure
- Control structures
- Text editors
These features vary for different programming languages. You must fully grasp the basics of one before moving to the next phase.
3. Never stop practicing
Learning programming languages is a combination of reading and doing – theory and practical. However, more emphasis should be on constantly practicing what you have read. That way, you get to encounter problems and try to solve them in real-time.
Playing with codes will help you understand the various ways you can modify them. This helps in testing different codes and also improves your logical reasoning.
You can also get your hands dirty by creating real or demo projects. Participating in coding challenges and playing code-centric games can help too.
Please note that you should only stop practicing a code when you do not need the course material you learned it from.
4. Code by hand
This process may seem like a waste of time but you must master it. Coding by hand improves your proficiency as a programmer.
It also exposes your brain to a hands-on understanding of syntax and algorithms. Most job interviews require you to code on a whiteboard or use pen and paper.
Hence, skipping this step can make it difficult for you to land gigs. Especially if you are in it for the pay.
5. Join one or more programming forums
Self-learning is great. However, for a better learning experience, you must join a forum. Forums or online communities are where programmers help each other.
They ask questions and engage in important discussions. Answers to questions on public forums or Github will help you learn faster.
Forums are also known as an avenue for you to connect and meet mentors.
6. Use online resources
There are a lot of free and premium online resources out there for self-learners. If you are interested in free resources, YouTube is advisable. For paid courses, you can join communities like Udemy and Coursera.
Programming-related blogs or websites can also support your programming journey. They usually contain relevant materials that can help you become a professional.
7. Take breaks
I know I said you have to keep practicing to get better with codes. This does not mean you should not know when to take a break. In fact, your learning schedule must have timed break sections.
The best way to learn a programming language is in chunks. Time outs allow you to refresh and free your mind. This is also a very useful technique when it comes to finding bugs in codes – debugging.
Sleeping or taking a leisure walk are some of the most common ways to take a break. When sleeping, ensure you turn off less important phone notifications.
8. Learn to use debuggers
Coding and mistakes go hand in hand. These mistakes are called “bugs”, and can be easily identified by debuggers.
A code with bugs will not deliver the right result. Getting familiar with debugging tools will save you a lot of time in rectifying your codes.
Common ones include Visual Studio, Fiddler, and Eclipse. The better you get with these tools, the easier it becomes to learn how to program.
What Skills Are Needed to Learn Programming?
Basic (hard) skills you need to learn programming include:
- Data structures and algorithms
- Database and SQL cloud computing
- Text editors
- Integrated development environments (IDEs)
- Web development
- Object-oriented (OOP) programming languages
What is the best programming language?
Python is the best programming language.
It is the major programming language for about 80% of developers all over the world.
Can you learn coding all by yourself?
Yes, you can learn coding all by yourself.
However, joining programming forums or having a mentor is never a bad idea.
What should you learn first to become a programmer?
You should learn Python first.
The language is very easy to learn and will rightly prepare you for advanced languages.
Which coding language is most in demand?
Learning how to code has its challenges. However, when you break your process into chunks, the journey becomes easier.
You just need to take your time, be consistent, and never be scared of making mistakes.
I hope you found this article helpful. Perhaps you don’t know what next to do after learning to program, see what you can do with a degree in computer science.
Thanks for reading.