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John Selawsky
John Selawsky

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What is a Good Path to Learn Programming

Coding is one of the most useful and practically applicable skills in this age or technology, especially for those who are looking for a well-paid career path.

Moreover, programming is an industry where skilled professionals are always in demand.

In fact, there’s still a shortage of software developers with the world’s IT booming. Hence, it is safe to say that here, demand exceeds supply, and it’s a great time to start your career.

However programming is not easy to learn, especially with its variety of languages. Should you learn Java as your first language? Or? Python? Or C++? It’s a popular complexity that many beginners face.

In this article, we’ll help you to choose the programming language to start with and help you plan your first steps.

Set Your Career Goals

This is the first thing that influences your future path in programming: what are you going to do, where do you want to work?
For example:

  • For developing server-side enterprise solutions, Java is the best.
  • For back-end web, you can go for PHP, Python, or Ruby.
  • For front-end developers, JavaScript or TypeScript is the best investment.
  • If you want to be a data analyst in your dream company, Java, Python, Scala, or R will be suitable.
  • Game development — it could be C++ or at least C# with Unity game engine.

Choose One Programming Language to start with

After you’ve landed on the type of job you want to do, it’s time to learn more about the programming languages and how to learn them. Let’s go through the most popular and universal ones.

Java

Java is one of the world’s most famous and influential programming languages, owned by Oracle. It is relatively simple to learn and has a very wide sphere of application.

This language operates on the principle of WORA (Write once, run anywhere), which means after the compilation of code, it can be executed on all platforms supported by Java without changing the code.

The Application of Java:

  • Server-side enterprise level apps
  • Mobile apps (for Android)
  • Web Backend
  • Big Data

Where to learn Java?

  • Codegym. It’s a gamified practice-based platform that will let you quickly immerse into real-world programming. With its 1200+ coding tasks, short enjoyable lectures, and built-in validator that checks out solutions, CodeGym is an amazing way to understand and master the concepts of Core Java.
  • Codecademy. Codecademy is another great course for beginners which offers you to learn programming in an easy way. It has a mix of catchy lessons and practical exercises. You will also get rewards as you make progress. Novices may either opt for the free courses or the paid version.
  • Udacity. This is another recognized platform for those who are looking to learn Java. It offers both paid and free courses with theoretical videos and practical tasks. However, Udacity’s free courses don’t offer any certificate.

Python

Another programming language that is gaining popularity rapidly is Python. As you probably know, this language appeared in 1991 and got its name after the comedy series “The Flying Circus of Monty Python’’ — this is one of the creator’s favorite shows, and the first association that came to his mind. This is a simple programming language which is especially good for beginners. Because you can create interesting applications without having to sit for weeks studying complex syntax.

The Application of Python:

  • Web Backend
  • Data Science
  • Prototyping

Where to better learn Python?

  • Edx. Through Edx, you can access more than 2000 free courses online on various subjects, including Python. Also, these courses come with certificates so that in your next interview you can show the panel how serious you are about your career.
  • W3Schools. W3Schools is an online platform that offers tutorials on web-building, and on Python as well. It may be lacking live tutoring, but users often recommend this platform because of their great structure and high quality of information.
  • Sololearn. Another great website with well-structured information to learn Python is Sololearn. Beginners may find this even more helpful because of their multiple-choice tests and helpful community.

C++

C++ and C are the oldest in this list and are very powerful languages. C was created in the beginning of the 1980 as a set of improvements to the C programming language, for their own needs. That is, it was not initially planned to create the C ++ programming language.Björn Stroustrup added the ability to work with classes and objects to it, thereby giving birth to the prerequisites for a new programming language based on C syntax. The C++ syntax was based on the C syntax, as the creator strived to maintain compatibility with the C language.

The Application of C++

  • Triple-A Games and all applications where latency is critical
  • Operational Systems
  • Drivers and system applications

Where to better learn C++?

  • Udemy. Around 155000 courses are available on this online learning platform. That includes web development, programming languages, web design etc. You don’t have to be an expert to use Udemy as the courses are divided into different sections ranging from an absolute beginner to a professional expert.
  • Coursera. The courses offered by Coursera are affiliated with some of the top universities of the world, like Yale, Northwestern, Stanford, and Michigan. Hence, its certificates hold more value than any other website.
  • Pluralsight. Pluralsight is one of the high-quality education platforms that caters the needs of every programmer. This is a veteran site offering its courses from 2004. Pluralsight’s C# courses will guide you through everything from fundamentals to advanced-programming topics. It has a 10-days free trial but no free version.

Ruby

Another famous name in the world of programming is Ruby. Despite the fact that the language appeared in 1993, it gained worldwide popularity only in 2003, when the Ruby on Rails 2.0 framework was released. This version includes prepared functionality for solving almost all the mundane tasks that modern web specialists face. This means that the speed of development increases noticeably.

The Application of Ruby:

  • Back-end web development
  • Scripts
  • Web apps

Where to better learn Ruby?

  • TryRuby:this small source helps you to grasp the basics of Ruby. TryRuby offers short (around 30 minutes each) interactive lessons which are best for beginners. So, if you think about learning Ruby this platform can be a good place to start with.
  • Rubylearning: Here you can find a vast collection of ruby study notes. Rubylearning is a great platform for beginners who want to gain some valuable insight into this language and understand its basic structure and concepts.

Your Learning Plan: the First Steps

Now let’s find out how to create a clear learning plan for your journey to learn programming that will help you set realistic milestones, compare your progress over time to know how far you’ve come, and apply practical skills.

Here is what you need to do.

Segment your plan

The first and foremost step is to divide your long-term goal into small segments. Make a timeline of each segment and move accordingly. Provide appropriate time to each segment to ensure that you are acquiring all the information from that segment. Avoid rushing in order to complete the course.

Set a Deadline

To make a proper plan, you first need to set a deadline for yourself. Decide how many weeks or months it is going to take for you to complete your entire course. You must have a tentative number in your mind. Then complete assignments according to your schedule to finish learning your desired language within the deadline.

Find Additional Resources to Follow

The next step is to find efficient learn-to-code resources like blogs, channels, and communities. Search through Google and see the resource that you find most useful and informative. Subscribe or start following it to get all the latest information about the language you are learning.

One more thing: you may be tempted to bookmark many resources and get into tutorial hell. It’s a typical beginner’s mistake: instead of learning, you’ll jump from one website to another. Avoid this.

Keep The Balance Between Theory and Practice

Programming is a practical activity. Like swimming, like playing a musical instrument. Therefore, devote as much study time as possible directly to writing the code, and use the theory in small chunks.

Even if some piece of theory seems incomprehensible to you, try to do something in practice. In most cases, programming concepts become clear when you are programming. Well, teach the theory gradually, at the beginning without going into complex details. All literate courses are built on the principle of cyclical training. That is, you return to some topics after a while and study them more deeply.

Find the Right communities

To stay motivated and receive support, you can be a part of different developer’s communities. There you can connect with people who share the same struggles, as well as more experienced programmers who may give you advice.

Some of the best communities are:

  • GitHub. This is a well-known platform for storing, distributing and managing source code. The platform is used by many developers around the world, including large companies such as Microsoft, RedHat and others. There, you can find tutorials, projects, and ask the community for helpful advice.
  • Stack Overflow. It is an open community that any coder can be a part of. Apart from asking coding questions and sharing valuable insights, people can also find a job there.
  • Reddit. It is a home to more than 130,000 communities. And yes, there are thousands of topics for programmers and developers to communicate and share knowledge.

Monitor your Progress

Now, as you move forward, start monitoring your progress.

Here’s an example of what you can do:

  • Set weekly and monthly goals. Try to better make them easily-achievable rather than depress yourself by always being late.
  • When a specified period ends, analyze the result. Write down what exactly was achieved. Ask yourself what went well and should be replicated. Ask yourself what should be improved in the next period, and how.

Apply your Knowledge by Coding a Project

After you have gained practical experience in programming at least on the level of the main language concepts, it’s a great time to create your own small projects.

  • Choose a project that is interesting to you.
  • Don’t over complicate yourself with too many things. Start with a simple project. It could be even a calculator for a start. Then you might think of a to-do list or a clone of a classic video game like Space Invaders.
  • Use the concepts you’ve already learned. You may need to spend some time on the Internet to find answers. Research effectively to solve problems.
  • Check with the community. Since this is your first time, you may encounter unexpected problems that are not fully covered by the course you have taken. Things are good! Use online communities to find the answers you need.

Conclusions

All in all, the path to learn Java, Python, Ruby, or any other programming language is a tough one but don’t be afraid to start. You just overcome it and take your first step today. With that being said, don’t think about quitting in the middle of your journey by doubting your abilities. You just have to take the right route and be consistent while you’re on it. Clear your basic concepts first, practice them, participate in competitive programming, and start thinking like a coder. With every single day, you will see yourself turning into a remarkable coder.

First published on TowardsDev.

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