Computers are an integral part of our everyday lives today. They are being used in every industry around the world - from laptops, to phones, smart wearable devices, and many such devices. Everything you can think of is being done using a website or an application, from watching movies to ordering food or a cab.
As you might already know, people write software or applications to optimize the use of these computers. With all this popularity comes a massive demand for the people who can write or code those applications that can run on these computers. This has created an opportunity for everyone to learn to program and use that skill in almost every industry they work in.
This article discusses how to learn to program languages and the right way to begin the journey. It primarily covers the following pointers:
- Learn Programming Fundamentals
- Learn Data Structures and Algorithms
- Build Projects
- Explore Opportunities
Learn Programming Fundamentals
The first step to learning programming is to identify the programming language you’d want to learn. This step involves deciding which platform you are most interested in developing an application for. I have enlisted below the programming languages that I suggest you go for when choosing one:
- Web Development - HTML
- Machine Learning - Python
- Desktop Application Development - Java
If you haven’t chosen a field yet, we recommend that you start with Python, since it is relatively easy to learn than the other languages.
There are several ways to learn the language of your choice:
Through Online Courses and Tutorials
Focus on courses that start from the basics of a programming language. Because in the end, concepts should be clear so you can grasp any language you want to learn and gain proficiency in that language. Simplilearn offers a variety of courses that focus on beginner. You should check them out for a better understanding.
Books are an excellent source for understanding theoretical concepts about programming languages. But since the languages are updated every so often, it is hard for the readers to keep up with all the additional language features. Moreover, online tutorials are much more interactive and offer just a bit more motivation.
Learn Data Structures and Algorithms
Data Structures and Algorithms are integral to and at the centre of computer programming. Computer stores everything in memory, and you need to understand the process. Different kinds of data structures hold different data types, and the algorithms help store and retrieve data efficiently from data structures. The right data structure-algorithm combination can provide a massive boost to an application’s performance.
Take a look at few pointers on learning data structures and algorithms:
- There are various kinds of data structures and algorithms, and we would suggest you only learn what’s relevant for the language of your choice.
- Again, don’t attempt to consume all the knowledge out there, because frankly, that’s a lot.
- Learn a single topic and then try implementing it in a small program and think about how it works behind the scenes. Once you’ve figured out that part, it will be hard for you to forget that concept.
After you have learned all the basic concepts of programming and the data structures and algorithms, you should definitely think about building a project that will further help cement the knowledge you’ve just gained. The projects will also help you in the interview process because you will know how to apply what you learned, and that’s what matters.
As we just discussed, building your projects is the best way to analyze what you have learned. Building a project provides you with the much needed hands-on experience of a particular programming language. You’d have to implement the concepts that you learned earlier in the tutorials, and you might get stuck at some point, but that’s what makes you a better programmer than everyone else.
There is a common question in every starter’s mind, “How should I choose a project?”. To avoid that confusion, you may go through the following pointers:
- Learn which text editors are suitable for coding in a particular language. We would suggest you go with Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code. That’s my text editor of choice since it is very user friendly and supports many programming languages.
- You are bound to get stuck somewhere during the project, and that’s perfectly fine. There are many excellent forums like StackOverflow that most probably have the answer to your problem.
- You should not aim for perfection since it is your first project and what matters most is that you can apply all that you have learned.
By now, you should ideally have a few projects in your portfolio, with a clear understanding of programming concepts and data structures and algorithms. That makes you a perfect candidate for a software development role in the industry.
Your journey doesn’t end when you finish your project; instead, it has just begun. Now that you are aware of essential theoretical concepts and practical implementations, it is time to search for opportunities. Because there are too many, you just need to get into a role that fascinates you the most.
Here is the average salary of a software engineer in the US: (source: Glassdoor)
Fig: Software developer salary in the US
Here is the average salary of a software engineer in India: (source: PayScale)
Fig: Software developer salary in India
That brings us to the end of this guide to learn to program. Are you ready to dive into the software development field? We have excellent YouTube playlists covering everything from the basic programming concepts to advanced software development frameworks. Don’t forget to check those out!
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Get Ahead of the Curve and Become a Software Developer Today
If you are wondering how you can get the skills necessary to enter this immensely popular tech industry, we’d suggest you enroll in a comprehensive Java Full Stack Developer Masters’ Program. To gain all the practical, work-ready skills, you need to become employable in the field immediately upon completion. If you are looking for additional information before enrolling in a program, check out our YouTube video that provides a quick introduction to programming or coding.
We hope this article on “How to Learn Programming” was helpful for you. Do you have any specific questions for us? Mention them in this article’s comments section, and we'll have our experts answer them for you at the earliest!