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Cover image for Tech Toolbox: A Beginner Guide to Choosing Software Development Tools
Jaimal Dullat
Jaimal Dullat

Posted on • Originally published at Medium

Tech Toolbox: A Beginner Guide to Choosing Software Development Tools

Have you been thinking about learning to code but feel overwhelmed by all the different languages, frameworks, and tools out there? You’re definitely not alone — it can be tough to know where to start when it feels like there are endless options. But don’t worry, you don’t need to learn everything all at once. In this post, I’ll share some tips for choosing tools that are suited to your skill level and interests as you’re just getting your feet wet in software development.

Choosing a Starter Language

The most important thing is to just pick something and dive in. Don’t fall into the trap of analysis paralysis by researching tools endlessly without actually building anything.

Choosing a beginner-friendly language like Python, JavaScript, or PHP to start, all of which have lots of free learning resources and job opportunities. PHP is especially good for web development and has a large community(PHP is not dying). These languages have the added benefit of being versatile, so you'll be equipped to build both backend APIs and frontend websites.

If mobile app development interests you more, learn Swift or Java instead.

Focusing on Web, Desktop, or Mobile

When picking your starter language, also consider if you want to focus more on web, desktop, or mobile apps.

Web development tools like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, SQL and a frontend framework like React are great choices if websites are your thing.

For desktop, look at languages like C# or Java and their IDEs like Visual Studio and IntelliJ.

And for mobile, study up on Swift or Java as mentioned. Narrowing down your interests at the beginning helps filter the overwhelming options down to what’s most relevant.

Choosing a Code Editor

Don’t forget the basics either — which code editor or IDE you’ll write your code in is an important choice.

Many developers love lightweight editors like Visual Studio Code, especially when starting out. It has built-in support for a variety of languages along with extensions for things like linting, debugging, and version control.

More full-featured IDEs like JetBrains’ IntelliJ and Android Studio provide additional project management features if you decide you need them down the line.

Version Control and Sharing Your Work

Version control with Git is also key, whether using the command line or with GUI clients like GitHub Desktop. Setting up a GitHub account early allows you to store and share your work along with a portfolio to share with potential employers.

And don’t be afraid to start small with simple projects like a to-do app, calculator, or personal blog — the most important thing is building something from start to finish rather than creating the most complex app right off the bat.

Keep Learning and Evolving

Remember that software development is an ongoing learning process. You’ll evolve not just as a programmer but in your interests and specializations over time.

Don’t feel like you need all the answers about frameworks, libraries, or tooling now. Simply start building things, learn from experience, keep practicing, and be willing to learn new techniques and tools as needed for future projects.

Staying open-minded and keeping it simple at first are your best bets for avoiding paralysis and getting your coding journey off to a strong start.

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Top comments (3)

jodoesgit profile image

I'm not sure if others will agree or not, but don't hop around like a wobble headed monster. Try to stick to a singular thing at the beginning against all odds. You'll be overwhelmed and want to try a little bit of everything. I suppose you could do that, but once you've found your interest don't aim for breadth. Get some depth.

jaimaldullat profile image
Jaimal Dullat

I completely agree. To begin with, it's essential to determine your area of interest, whether it's in web development, mobile app design, or graphic designing, for example.

jodoesgit profile image

Hear you there, I'd say best on that is follow your inner-voice. I'm just saying stick to a tech-stack and build up your skills instead of getting to a point where it starts to get too abstract for you and you jump ship for another restart flexing those beginners muscles. Ask me how I know :P!