Programming is not easy. You need to have guidance and a roadmap before you start on your self taught journey to programming. There are many things a person has to figure out before they start programming and which tools or paths they should take.
Why do people want to code
The first thing needed before anyone starts on this journey is motivation. What do you want to do with the skill? Let's look at the most popular reasons why one might want to start to code.
Want to create an App or Website
Websites and apps are now popular and if you don't have one you maybe feel left out. You have an idea that you want to try out and you search how more-experienced developers and programmers charge for them to execute your idea and it's damn expensive so you decided to go the long journey of learning to code while bringing your idea to life.
Want to start freelancing
Freelancing is an issue way of making money. And many people might find programming as their way into it. You can be a frontend developer, backend developer, or mobile app developer.
As a hobby
You can start coding as a hobby. Just enjoy writing code in your free time. This is one of the greatest ways of learning to code. Because there'll be no pressure to deliver anything.
Now, you know why you want to learn, have that motivation. How do you start learning to code? These steps can also be useful to programming teachers.
1. Know the general purpose of different programming languages
There is nothing more frustrating than knowing that you've been learning the wrong programming language for a certain task. Learning C++ for building a website, or java for data manipulation and analytics.
Here are some guides for programming languages:
- Mobile App Development: Android (Java), React Native (Android & iOS apps), Flutter (Android and iOS), Swift (iOS).
- Data analysis: Python
If you choose the wrong language at the beginning, then you've already lost.
2. Learn how to install the language on your computer.
Installing software on your computer can be a very hard thing, especially for a beginner. This is where some people give up. Here is a small guide to installing some popular languages:
- How to install Python on Windows
- How to install Python on Macbook
- Setting up Django or Flask
- Install NodeJS
- Start ReactJS
- Installing VueJs
- Installing Java
- Getting started with Spring Bool
- Installing PHP
- Getting started with Laravel
- Getting started with Android
If your language or framework is not there, start by googling how you can set it up. Reading their documentation is also another great way to get started.
3. Start with basic data types (Declaring variables)
In computer programming, a variable is used to represent a computer's memory. You can take variables as containers of data. You want to tell a computer what's your name, you start by declaring a variable, i.e telling a computer to hold some memory for your name, then you tell your name by assigning it to the variable you would have created.
Data types are the classification of data that a programming language understands. Each programming language has its own set of data types. So assuming you already know your language of choice. Learn about its different types and how you declare them. Here are a few data types you have to start with.
- Characters (char) - Declares one letter. Each letter of the alphabet is a character.
- String (str, char) - Your name is a string, a string is a combination of characters.
- Integer - Used for whole numbers.
- Float - Numbers that contain decimals.
- Boolean - True or False variables.
There are many other variable types. Read the language documentation and learn the different data types it supports.
4. Conditional Statements
These instruct a computer on what to do given a set of choices. There are IF...ELSE statements, Switch statements, Ternary operators. Look at each of them and understand how to use them.
Loops are a way of iterating over an array of things. Here are the types of loops you may need to look at.
- For loop (most common)
- While loop
- Do While loop
Loops are a great tool for iteration. And iteration is everywhere when you're coding.
6. Find a Project to Do
You're now familiar with the programming language. Choose a project that you want to do, it can be a simple calculator, a blog, a currency converter, anything. This will give you some practical challenges and you'll be learning some other concepts while making that project.
Now, if you prefer having someone teach you to code and all. Look no further. Nerdlify is a platform with a lot of freelance developers. You can find many of them here and contact them. I'm sure they'll help you get started.