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From a beginner to a beginner: where to begin?

Mikael Sukoinen
Recently graduated game design student, part-time linguist and full-time nerd. Currently occupied as a Content Marketer at Vaadin Ltd.
Updated on ・2 min read

By definition, a “beginner” needs somewhere to “begin”. But with an overwhelming amount of examples projects and tutorials online and all the possible ideas in your mind, the starting point can become blurry.

Truth is, there is none. Programming is a vast land: multiple intertwined roads, obstacles, grey areas and promising destinations fill its map but no one has drawn a point of entry. Luckily, it doesn’t matter where you enter - it only matters that you do!

With that being said, drawing your own map can help you navigate the complex environment. There is a list of resources to draw from; narrow down the selection of possible languages and development tools by looking under the hood of something you want to do. Then narrow down the level of complexity by lowering the standards of the hood you’re looking under. I.E. if you want to build a game from scratch, begin with a 2D flash game before producing the next great VR hit. However, I suggest you aim high with your destination or you might quickly run out of challenges.

After you’ve taken a peek at the “engine” under the hood, try to reverse engineer it. There are several example projects that can help you do this, but first ask yourself why the developer has built a certain feature. Once you have your answer, ask yourself how they did it.
If you don’t know what you want to do at all, then ask yourself why do you want to become a programmer in the first place? This isn’t a mocking question, but a question with an answer that’s likely taking you a step closer to finding what you need to learn.

“You learn to swim quickly after dipping your toes into water… yet jumping into the deep end of a pool can drown you.”

The quote above sounded better before I wrote it down. Similarly, the idea for my first development project sounded better before writing it in code. Point is, I still wrote it and I can learn something from doing so.

Here’s a few suggestions If you still struggle to find something to do:

  • Search for beginner tutorials
  • Enroll in an online code academy
  • Find a coding group near you
  • Read a book on entry level programming
  • Spend time on this site

Every step is a step forward.

Keep on,

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