Do you want to learn programming but are afraid that you can't?
Do you think you don't have the talent to become a good programmer?
Or do you think programming is only for a chosen few with higher brainpower?
Stop being afraid and stop doubting yourself.
Anyone can learn programming. The only question you have to ask yourself is - Do you want to?
The main question isn't how to learn programming or what programming language to learn. It's whether you really want to?
The most important quality you need, and every good programmer I've met had it, is a strong desire to learn programming and understand how things in the computer world work.
Programming is just like any other skill. It requires the same qualities to learn and master as any other skill. So, all you need to become a good programmer is patience, practice, curiosity, and to learn to use you mind in analytical and logical way.
Though it's true that everyone can't become a professional programmer and earn money using their programming skills, but anyone can definitely learn programming and gain enough ability to write decent programs that do what you want them to do.
The main reason many students don't understand programming, or don't want to learn it, is not because programming is only for highly intellectual humans, but because they are not taught programming in an interesting way.
Programming is interesting and you can have fun with it, even if you don't want to earn anything through it. For that to happen, you need to play with programming tools just as you play any video game exploring the environment.
Once you start exploring the programming environment you'll find plenty of tools and guides to assist you in achieving your goals. It doesn't matter whether your goal is to make a small program or a complete polished application.
All you need to do is just program and have fun with it. If you have a good time programming, you'll automatically start to create new things and figure out solutions to your existing problems.
So first, choose a language you want to learn. Don't waste too much time thinking about which language to choose. Pick the one you are interested in and start reading a good programming book on it.
Even if you read only a few pages every day, you'll learn all the basics of that programming language in few months. And what I've learned from my little experience is that you can make good programs, even with the basic elements of a programming language.
For example, if you can learn the basic loops and conditions in C language (for loop, while loop, if-else condition) you can make some useful applications simply by applying your logical and analytical skills.
Just remember, If you have good logic you can make beautiful applications even with the basics elements of programming.
And by beautiful, I mean a code that does something useful, not one which simply looks good on screen.
So just start with a simple intention to learn the basics of programming and create small programs with it. That's enough for the initial stages. And once you feel that you are now capable of doing bigger programs, go ahead and start working on your applications and create wonderful things with your programming skills.
In the early stages, you might face several stumbling blocks. It's important that you recognise these stumbling blocks and discard them immediately, else they might discourage you and even make you abandon your quest to learn programming.
So what are these stumbling blocks?
Here are a possible few:
- Creating perfect programs right from start.
- Following every good practice of programming.
- Learning code architecture and design.
- Learning as much as you can about programming without actually practicing it.
- Trying to make your application look beautiful and professional.
- Getting overwhelmed by the vast amount of APIs and frameworks and confused over what to learn first.
So how do you overcome these blocks?
Simple. Don't pay any attention to them and just keep programming. When you get busy practicing programming, all these thoughts will automatically go away.
Just start somewhere and keep moving ahead. Don't bother what to learn first. If you are learning from a book, most of them already follow a proper structure, moving from simple concepts to the harder ones, so you don't have to worry about it.
It's important to get the flow of programming first. All these other things come later.
Sometimes others will try to discourage you by saying that programming is not for you. Even your programming tutor, or some other senior programmer might tell you to forget programming and do something else.
Don't listen to them.
No matter what any expert or research says, I still believe that anyone can learn programming if he is ready to work hard and practice consistently.
You don't need anyone's permission to learn programming. You have the right and the power to learn any skill you want - programming is no exception.
If you are learning it as a hobby, keep reminding yourself that you are not doing it for money. You are simply doing it to have some fun and to create those tiny applications that you always wished someone else had created for you.
If nothing else, you'll end up challenging your mind and giving it a good dose of exercise that'll only help it to function better.
I prefer learning from good programming books. But you also have other options - like online courses and videos. If you want to learn programming just for personal use, there is no right or wrong way. The main thing is to have a good time while programming. So choose a learning medium that best suites you. If you think video is better, use it.
In case you want to seriously improve your programming skills and learn from real programmers then I'd definitely advise you to learn from good programming books. Many expert programmers don't teach through online courses or videos, but they do have a book for you. Buy that book and devour the concepts with an open-mind.
You just need to go with the flow of programming.
Any rules, any restrictions, will only limit your mind from thinking freely. And you'll find it hard to learn under such limitations. So when you start out, don't bother about any rules and restrictions, just write programs as often as you can.
The best way to become a good programmer is to get your hands dirty with programming.
If you just keep writing programs, no matter how small, and keep tweaking and improving it, soon you would have learned many essential elements of programming.
Concluding thoughts and Some Do's and Don'ts
So my simple advice would be to start freely without limiting yourself in any way, and just write as many different programs as you can. Use different concepts and ways to program the same thing. Find for yourself what you can, and what you can't do with a given programming element.
The more you program, the better your programming skills will become. What seems difficult or impossible now, would become possible with time.
An easy way to learn programming is to choose a way that you are used to learning. If you are used to reading books, you'll enjoy reading a good programming book. If you spend most of your time in watching videos you'll enjoy watching programming videos. If you like to have some fun and jokes while learning you'll enjoy reading headfirst series books on programming.
Choose a medium you are used to, then you won't have much difficulty in getting started. And if you really get interested in programming, you won't think twice about learning from another mediums.
The first step to get you started is to make it interesting for you. If it's not interesting you can easily give up. No one likes to get bored. We stop with anything that bores us even though it may prove useful in the long-term.
Don't try to become a pro in one day. You'll only feel disappointed if you even try to do so. Keep a beginner's mind and simply focus on the possibilities, never the limitations, of what you can do if you learn programming.
Finally, I'd like to share a few suggestions that might speed up your learning process whether you want to learn programming or any other skill:
Surround yourself with positive people. People who encourage you to go ahead and with whom you can share your progress. People who feel happy and excited for you. Having them around you will continue to motivate you even when you get stuck.
Ignore the negative people. They don't matter. You'll only waste your time arguing with them. They'll only criticise you even if you show them something interesting. Stay away from them.
Do it everyday. Or at least regularly for 4-5 days a week, if possible.
Learn programming in groups. If you can find a friend or a group with whom you can learn programming, it'll speed up your journey towards becoming a programmer. You can fix each other's problems. If someone finds a cool new feature he'll share it with you; if you find something new you'll share it with others. This way you all can learn from each other and improve together as programmers.
Keep challenging yourself. If you don't find any outside problems challenging, come up with your own problems or just try making new things. Once you get the basics, try to do difficult programs - programs that challenge your logical skills more than any other skill.
Share your work with others. If you do get this far and create something that others may also find useful, don't hesitate to share it. Sure, you'll get some negative feedback, but you'll also get some useful advice and tips that will make you aware of where you stand as a programmer. You'll never know how good you are unless you show your work to others.
I thinks that's enough for now. If I say more, I would add more restrictions and rules on what to do and what not to do while learning programming. If you don't agree with any of my points, you don't have to do it my way. Use your own way and learn programming the way you want it, not how I or anybody else want you to.
Feel free to break any programming rule in your earlier stages. As a beginner, you are forgiven any mistake as long as it only affects your program. Learn from them. Actually it's alright even if you don't consciously make an effort to learn from them, as you'll eventually learn to do the right thing subconsciously, as you keep coming across the same problems again and again.
Have fun with it. And even if you find later that programming isn't for you or you can't make good applications, so what? at least you tried something new, challenged your mind, exercised it, improved your logical skills in the time being. And this will surely help you in any other creative pursuit that you follow.
And if you do start enjoying programming and making cool little applications with it, you'll always thank yourself for the day you picked up a programming book and decided to learn programming.
So just get a book, switch on your computer and start programming right away. And if you need any help, there are great programming communities with plenty of helpful programmers who'll gladly help you in your programming endeavor.
Thank you for reading this. If this post helped you in any way, please share it with others.
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