The growth of digital products has sealed a lofty spot in today’s world for programming and programmers alike. Every day, we use products that were birthed through programming. Our mobile phones, tablets, PCs, desktops, cars, and even household items run on some program. As a result, programming skills are being sorted by companies seeking to create digital products to meet up with teeming demands of consumers or to penetrate new markets.
Learning how to program could position you as the recipient of job offers from companies seeking programmers to work with, or you could even go solo and develop your digital program. But first, you need to sort out your goal of choosing to learn to program. For instance, are you seeking to learn app development or venture into website development? Understanding your goals will help you identify the right programming language and formulate the right approach to learning that language. If you are looking at mobile app development, you should be thinking of how to learn Java programming language. Now, lets us look at a step by step breakdown of how you can learn to program:
Choose a Language that Aligns with Your Programming Goals
One of the fastest ways to learn to program is to choose and focus on a programming language that helps you achieve your goals of learning programming. Then build some expertise around that language. Get a good understanding of the language’s syntax and grasp the nitty-gritty of concepts like variables, conditionals, operators, loops, etc. You must understand how these concepts interplay in building a project.
Do not just consume information about your preferred language like preparing for an exam. But rather, approach the language from the point of solving a real-life programming challenge. Let’s look at a few tips to help you avoid running into confusion while learning a language.
- Focus on one language at a time: most newbie programmers make the mistake of wanting to learn more than one language at a time. As exciting as it may be at the start, it is a sure recipe for confusion. Rather, pick a language that aligns with your interest and get grounded in it before proceeding to learn a new language. For instance, if you are interested in learning Mobile app development, you should learn Java or Kotlin programming language. If it is Web development, you can start with Python or JavaScipt. Once you have attained sufficient mastery of your preferred language, you can venture into another language to become versatile.
- Adopt a practice as you learn strategy: do not categorize your learning process. Rather than spending long hours learning to program and then waiting to practice at a later time, try a practice-inclusive approach. For instance, for every 3hours you spend learning how to program, spend an hour and 30 minutes putting learning to practice. That way, the concept you have learned sticks with you. The problem with categorizing is that you could forget what you learn before practicing them. But a practice-inclusive approach gets you hands-on skills as you learn. Platforms like CodeGym, CodeAcademy, Coursera, etc., teach programming using this method.
Algorithms and Data Structures
While choosing and learning the right language is the foundation of learning programming, data structure and algorithms are the pillars of programming. Once you have got the hang of a programming language that aligns with your goals and skill set, you should focus on understanding how data structure and algorithms can function to improve your programming. for instance, you need to be aware that data structure functions can be specific. And as such, it can not be suitable in all situations. Therefore, you must develop an algorithm, usually a breakdown procedure, to address a particular challenge. After which, you can select a suitable data structure to address the challenge. To solve complex programming problems, you must have a proper grasp of combining data structures and algorithms.
Practice implementing data structure and algorithms and utilizing them consistently while programming. As a newbie, you could practice everything you have learned about data structures and algorithms via the CodeGyms practice tasks. Below are some tips to get you started:
- Don’t attempt to grasp everything about data structure and algorithm theories all at once. Approach both concepts bits by bits. Pick one bit at a go, learn it, and practice before moving to another topic.
- When faced with complexities along the line, break them into smaller bits and approach them systematically until you arrive at the desired result.
- Put everything you have learned about data structures and algorithm theories into attempting real-world projects. For instance, you could put your knowledge to work on web application development. This way, you can play around using Arrays and Strings.
Also, you can put your knowledge of data structure and algorithms into improving the features of your previous projects.
Register for Online Courses
Learning to code no longer requires being confined in a classroom. The internet has made it easy for anyone interested to gain exposure to a programming language right from their comfort zone. And the good thing is, you only need a good PC, or Tab and a good internet connection to get started.
Depending on your goal and choice of language, register for courses that help you get closer to your goal. Suppose you have chosen the part of Java programming language. In that case, you may want to start by registering with CodeGym to get proper exposure to the vast world of Java Programming language. Remember we spoke about the importance of practice-inclusive learning strategy, right? CodeGym’s learning process is designed to help you learn Java programming language practically without relegating theoretical knowledge to the background. Here you could approach programming from a personalized perspective depending on your learning preference. The game freak could opt for the Gamification technique, and the book worm could choose the reading technique or opt for AP Java Exam PREP.
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Aside from CodeGym, you could also register for Coding Courses on any of the following platforms:
Build a Project
The beauty of programming does not lie in the learning process but in bringing a project to life. However, this is usually not an easy phase as you suddenly start feeling overwhelmed. But that is the way to go in programming. Put everything you have learned to work. Start with building a project that interests you and has immediate real-life usage. If you are learning Java and hope to be a Java developer, you could build a simple app, say a calculator. Here, everything you have learned over time is brought to focus. You get to see how algorithms and data structures come together to solve complexities. You also see the interplay of loops, variables, and conditionals in an actual project. The project building helps you see loopholes in your knowledge of a particular language of your choice.
However, it is advised that you pick a project that isn’t complex so that you can approach problems in smaller chunks. As your problem-solving skills improve, you can take on more complex projects. Also, you could employ drag and drop programming tools to help you build your confidence level.
Join an Online Community
While learning to program, you can’t afford to be an island of your own. That is a sure recipe for getting burnt out. Now and then, you will certainly encounter complexities that won’t go away even after watching tons of online videos. This is where programming communities come in handy. Most of the challenges you will encounter while learning to code have been experienced by someone and even dealt with in most of these communities. Belonging to any would help you learn faster and navigate coding intricacies within a short time frame. You could also get access to mentorship programming to help your learning process and even know about available opportunities for programmers. Below are some Programming communities you should join:
- Developers Forum
- Expert Exchange
- Reddit, etc.
Learning programming is easier when you know certain hacks designed to help you avoid getting trapped in your journey. But this is not to say that you won’t encounter challenges while learning to program. But don’t be scared of reaching out for help and asking the right questions when posed with complexities. The programming communities are in place to help you overcome those complexities.
Finally, if you consider registering on a platform that gives you ample exposure to practical programming, you can start with CodeGym and learn programming by doing programming tasks.