With the massive role that software and apps play in our day to day lives, competent programmers have been in high demand for some time now, and this demand isn’t going to go away any time soon. Even if you’re not planning to become a professional programmer, or start a business in the tech niche, knowing a thing or two about coding can still be exceedingly handy in many modern careers. If you’re looking to develop your coding skills, here are a few great ways to get you started.
Solve a Tangible Problem:
Theory is tedious, and so are theoretical problems. If you start learning to code by banging your head against these kinds of problems, then you’re going to get bored of it very quickly. It you want to code in order to fulfill some idea you’ve got floating around, then do it. While theoretical books and blogs such as the one at Stackify.com can offer some great advice and tips, these are only going to take you so far. If you want to learn how to code, then the best way to go about it is… well, coding. If you want to know how to develop an app or a website, then get to work on it! Getting started with your first coding project may sound like a bit of a daunting task, especially if you’re a complete novice. The good news is that the first stage doesn’t require you to actually code anything. All you need to do is write and sketch out what the end product will look like. By pursuing your own project, you’ll be able to start as small as you like, and keep up your motivation by developing something you genuinely care about.
Pick your Technology Wisely:
When you actually come to code your first major project, don’t jump straight to ANSI C, unless you have a very specific reason for doing so. A truly competent coder knows how to code, not just how to work within the confines of a given language. After enough experience, most will be able to pick up any language they need for a project in a relatively short space of time. As you can imagine, doing this the first time around is far from easy. When you’re starting out, it’s not the language that you have to worry about, but more the fundamental programming concepts. If terms like programming logic, objects, variable types and so on just make you scratch your head, then it’s best to take baby steps in the beginning. It’s also important to determine a project you want to pursue in advance. Once you know what you’re ultimately hoping to build, you’ll be limited to a narrower range of possible technologies. For example, you’re not going to be able to build a native iPhone app using Ruby on Rails. However, if you’re writing the source code for a website, there are countless different languages and platforms you can use. Find out what your options are, weigh up their respective communities and support networks, and then choose the one that’s best for you.
Take Your Time Setting Up Your Environment:
Just as there are many different programming languages, there are many different development environments you can use for every different language. Some programmers will lean more towards text editors like Vim, or the classic choice of Notepad++. Researching and choosing an editor that suits your needs is a very personal process, just like deciding on the project you’re going to pursue and the language you’ll use. Furthermore, it’s just the tip of the iceberg! After settling on an environment, you’re going to have to make it your own, customizing it with all kinds of keyboard shortcuts, plugins, color schemes and so on. From there, setting up your environment requires installing the language you’re intending to use, along with a versioning system, code libraries, and so on. The long and short of it is that you’re going to have to invest a few hours in setting up your environment, before you get any actual coding done. This is fine! Pour a strong coffee, and take your time setting up the environment you’re going to be using for your project. Learn your tool inside and out, getting familiar with the shortcuts, and getting all that highlighting just the way it needs to be. You might be raring to go, but taking the time to set up your environment is absolutely essential. The more comfortable you are with it, the easier it will be to get comfortable with coding in general.