From the Archive of 2015: Introduction to Programming

Let’s talk about coding.

I typically find myself being asked by others what the best programming language is, or how one can go about initially developing and then honing their skills, in programming. There are no clear cut answer to those questions, but I’m going to allow this post to act as a guide to some newbie-friendly resources and attempt to answer a few common questions that I get to the best of my ability.

When it comes to website or software development, however, one of the most important personal traits to have is the desire to solve problems. Being able to take a problem and solve it in the most efficient manner possible will be something that all programmers need to be able to do, regardless of what they are developing. A lot of the development you will do at the start, you will come to find, will be things to help automate tasks that you’re frequently performing. Being able to problem solve, and troubleshoot, will assist in securing your understanding of programming.

To begin, let’s look at some of the questions I commonly get:

Common Questions:

What’s the best programming language?

Now, that’s a difficult question to answer. Why? Because there are many different programming languages, and each can serve a different purpose – some better than others. Now, there certainly are the more popular languages:

  • C/C#/C++
  • Java
  • Python
  • WebDev Languages: PHP, Javascript, etc.

With all of those different languages – and mind you, that is a very short list of the available languages out there – it’s no wonder that picking a language can seem like such a daunting task. One thing you need to ask yourself prior to picking the language, however, is: “What do I want the language to do for me?” Once you can answer that, you’ll be well on your way to being able to select the language that will work best for you. Then, you can begin finding some resources that will assist you in learning that language.

Personal biasI am quite comfortable in C-based languages. I’ve been programming in C/C++ for years. However, that doesn’t mean that those are the best languages for every job. I also frequently finding myself using Java, as well.

What’s a good place to begin?

Unsurprisingly, I get this question quite often, as well. Whenever I am asked this, however, I respond with: “What task are you looking to perform?” For people new to the field, it’s not uncommon to have a minuscule grasp on the differences between the languages and the different types of development you can perform with them. Below, I’ll bring down some good places to start for two common development types:

  • Website Development
    • If getting into Website Development is your thing, and you’re totally new, the best place to start would be by learning HTML and CSS. Look for resources that will begin by teaching you HTML5, and CSS3 from the get-go.
    • You’ll eventually get to the point where you’ll have mastered HTML and CSS. This point will come quite quickly, if you have a knack for programming. When you get there, and you’re sure you’re fluent in those two languages, go ahead and begin learning some Javascript or PHP.
    • In the Resources section of this post, I’ll link to some WebDev resources.
  • Software Engineering
    • If website development isn’t really your thing, and you’re wanting to get into software engineering, go Python. Python is strong and powerful, but relatively simplified. It’s the perfect place to begin, for someone that is completely new to programming. It’ll teach you the logic behind how a program flows, and will prepare you to move on to more complex languages, if need be.
    • Let’s say you want to just jump right into one of the more popular languages though, instead of starting with Python. If that’s the case, you’re going to want to start looking into Java or C++. They’re less forgiving, but it’s entirely possible to start right there.

What are some good resources?

Again, this question depends on what language you’re looking for and the task you’re attempting to perform. I’ll go ahead and list some general resources right here, however, to get you started:

What is a Website Developer?

A person passionate about the internet and computers is ideally suited for a position in web development. A web developer is also known as a web content developer or a front-end developer. A web developer is someone who programs web pages, and is more focused on the way a website works than how it looks. Some developers freelance their skills to various organizations. Others choose to outsource their skills to organizations by using their expertise to act as consultants or independent contractors. (Sokanu, 2015)

What is a Software Engineer?

Software developers invent the technologies that you take for granted every day. For instance, that app that rings, sings or buzzes you out of deep sleep in the morning? A software developer helped design that. And when you roll into the office and turn on your computer, clicking and scrolling through social media, music, your personal calendar? Yes, software developers had a big hand in shaping those, too. (USNews, 2015)

As it stands, this is a lot to digest, and there have been several resources presented. If you have any further information, please feel free to CONTACT ME. I can answer more in-depth questions – this post is just to get you started.

Written by Tyler