The internet is such an awesome place that everything you want to learn can be learned absolutely free. The problem though is that the amount of information can totally overwhelm anyone. Information overload is a real thing, so if you aren’t careful, you’d burn out from learning more quickly than you started.
If you’re a beginner and self-learning in computer programming on your own, this checklist should guide you on the specific programming languages to learn, skills to master and equipment to invest in.
Languages to Learn
This will depend on what you wish to do first. Are you interested in creating mobile apps? Console gaming? Troubleshooting an issue? Developing websites? Building software? Each of these products requires a specific language or two.
- HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) – If you’re going into web development, you’ll need to “speak” HTML since this is the foundation of the internet. Almost every website you’ll visit will load an HTML document before you view the page. HTML is often combined by CSS, so if you’re learning HTML, there’s a good chance you’ll be tackling CSS soon. Simply put:
- HTML handles which content would appear on a webpage
- CSS (also known as Cascading Style Sheets) will handle how the content appears, so this dictates the font face, size, color, layout, and other styling features.
- Python – Many kid coding programs use Python because this programming language is so user-friendly that beginners would think they’re reading English. Python works with functions and code libraries offer newbies a chance to mix and match pre-built functions to create their own codes instead of writing them from scratch.
- C/C++ – These two programming languages are considered beginner languages. C trains you to write more code from scratch, so you could master concepts without pre-built codes. C++ is similar to C but is more advanced and is usually learned right after C courses.
- Java – This programming language is an object-oriented language used in Android apps and other applications.
Take your time in learning each one of these languages – there are thousands of resources, practice sites, project courses, and videos you can absorb with every language. Like most programmers, you’ll probably find the passion you’re looking for (whether it is app development or game development), then stick to using that language for a while.
Skills to Focus on
Aside from proficiency with programming languages above, programmers must also work on other hard and soft skills, such as:
- Mathematical skills and problem-solving skills –
- Concepts and applications – If you’ve started learning any of the languages, you already know that all the concepts you’ve been facing will all be used in future applications that you’re going to make.
- Communication skills – Yes, because programming is often a team effort, instead of a solo project.
- Writing skills – This is especially true if your chosen profession involves developing something that requires a guide.
- Simplify programming – Programmers use computer-assisted software engineering tools (CASE tools) that are designed to automate or “simplify” programming.
Practice What You Know
Every time you learn something new, find a project that would solidify the lessons you’ve learned. You don’t have to choose a big project that could overwhelm you and take a long time to finish. Small programming projects will do.
Examples of small projects include:
- Building a dynamic website using PHP
- Building a currency converter or calculator using CSS
- …and so on.
The cool thing about small programming projects like these is that they’re everywhere. If you join programming forums and communities, the “elders” would be more than happy to tickle your brain with problem-solving games and tests.
If you’re not a fan of online communities, you can just visit websites that give access to tutorials, quizzes and projects like these. There are even paid courses that come with mini-projects at the end of each course.
Equipment to invest in
If you’re studying programming on your own, do you have a computer set up at home?
- If so, does your monitor come with a higher resolution?
- Is your hard drive big enough to accommodate all your projects?
- Does your computer come with sufficient memory?
- If you’re working on game development, is your graphics card up to par?
- Have you installed all the necessary software to be able to program?
Of course, the hardware requirements of your computer will vary depending on the type of computer programming you’re planning to learn. But just to make sure, invest in better PC components whenever you can afford to because the investment will definitely be all worth it.