I’ve been asked these questions recurrently, “how do I get into programming”, “where do I even start from?”, “which language should I learn?”. These are questions everyone looking to get into tech find difficult to answer, and of course, I’ve been giving my own fair share of advice, but I just thought to myself “putting this out there will be really great”…And so here I am, writing an article about it.
Programming is broad and might definitely be hard to pick up. As someone looking to get into programming, you might get lost trying to select one out of the various languages google suggest to you or even get started. Not to worry, this article is precisely for you. As a beginner, picking up programming will probably be exciting at first, until you start getting stuck with codes and find it difficult to find solutions to these problems.
Learning to code is a path that requires a lot of hard work and patience, it’s not a quick money making scheme(like some people believe), but very rewarding.
In this article, I’ve come up with practical steps you can follow as someone that has no idea about coding;
1. Do some Soul Searching
Yeah, sounds funny but this I believe is the number one step that is most appropriate for anyone looking to start learning to code. There are two major questions you should ask yourself?
- Why am I interested in coding?.
- What will I love to do with any language I eventually get to learn?
Figuring out the answers to these two questions is equally as important as learning to code, because whatever answer you come up with will determine the language you get to learn and how your programming journey will look like.
Let’s say you get so fascinated anytime you come across a hacking/programming scene in movies, yes, that’s enough reason for you to check out what cyber security is all about. Or your friend/neighbor just launched an app and you thought to yourself ‘I will really love to create something as cool as this someday”, that’s also more than enough reason for you to get into building mobile applications.
Thinking about the things that make programming interesting to you will give you a clue about what you want. And if you still have no idea what you want, then use google, “Search for different things you can do with programming” and just select one.
2. Do Your Research
Now that you’ve decided on what you want to do with programming, you have to make thorough research on whatever it is you’ve chosen to be your passion. For example, if you’ve decided to go with learning how to build mobile apps, all you have to do is make good use of google and YouTube. Search for “the best language to learn mobile app development”. Before you also decide on which language to learn first, make sure to consider the job market for this language, the long term prospects and how easy it is to pick up.
You’re going to be provided with different options, so write down all of these options and move to the next step.
3. Talk to Someone
It’s going to be really difficult for someone that has little or know idea about programming languages to make the right decision on which one to learn amidst several options, that’s why you need to talk to someone. Who are the people you talk to? People that are already into the system-Programmers. If you already have a friend that’s into programming, give your list of options to this person to help select the best language suited for whatever you’re trying to do with programming.
If you have no friend to talk to, join programming communities and ask this same question, believe me, a lot of people will be willing to help. If you have no idea which programming community to join, here’s a list of programming communities you can join, they are totally free;
- Freecodecamp forum: https://forum.freecodecamp.org/
- Lobsters: https://lobste.rs/
- Stack Overflow: https://stackoverflow.com/
- Github: https://github.com/
- Digital Ocean community: https://www.digitalocean.com/community
- The programmers hangout: https://disboard.org/server/244230771232079873
- Commit your Code: https://discord.com/invite/D453pGe
Finally, if you still have no one to talk to, you can talk to ME. My dm is always open on twitter or you can reach out to me via email, I will try to respond as fast as I can.
4. Have a Structured Learning Pattern
After you’ve carefully chosen a preferred language to learn, the next thing is to draw a structured learning pattern. Deciding on which resources to use for learning or where to get started can be a hassle, don’t worry, I’m going to be pointing you to few resources that can help you get started.
**NOTE** that you only need to pick one resources for each category. You don’t have to overload yourself with all the videos and books. Check out the videos and books and go with any one you think is best for you. This is to help simplify your learning so that you don’t get confused.
I’ve also curated list of courses on different specializations in tech in my resources page, you can go ahead to check that out.
5. Build Real World Problems
It’s important to understand the fundamentals of any language you’re going to be learning before diving deep into applying this language to solve real world problems. Building projects is the proper way to learn programming, because you get to understand how the different methods you’ve learnt can be utilized. You should learn by doing(coding), not just by reading or watching tutorial videos.
Also note that, you do not have to try so hard to build these projects on your own, doing that will probably make your learning more difficult. So get practical tutorials on your area of interest, learn and ask questions on communities when you’re stuck. The more projects you build, the more question you ask, the more you get to understand every concept better.
- Practice coding from time to time.
- Build projects.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions, most programmers jump at this opportunity because it also helps them to learn.
- Google is your friend, make very good use of it.
- Things changes so fast in programming so make sure you keep yourself updated on latest trends.
- Build a decent portfolio that shows your work.
- Apply for jobs.
Learning to code might not be the easiest thing in the world, but I hope these practical steps that I’ve put together will help you place your foot in the right place when starting out. Now all you need is to put in all the energy and time that you have to perfecting this skill. You’ve got this!!!