Deciding to learn how to code is the very first step, but how exactly should you approach the whole process? And what exactly should you learn?
Let’s start with the basics and go step by step. Understanding the terms will be crucial for defining your path and how-to’s.
What Is Coding About?
Coding, or computer programming, is a method of interacting with computer systems. Code instructs a machine on what to do; therefore, writing the code is similar to writing a sequence of commands.
If you learn to read and write code, you can develop apps that do certain tasks or solve issues. Then, you can use this expertise to create websites, process data, and manage various other tasks.
Levels of Programming Languages
There are two levels of programming languages.
These languages are hardly separated from specific hardware and are used to interact with hardware and computer architecture.
Low-level programming languages have a limited range of programming structures, with ‘compare and branch’ commands used for selection and iteration. These languages are also more challenging to run, require longer to develop, and are more difficult to debug.
Examples of Low-Level Languages
- Machine Level Language: This is the lowest level of programming language. Machine language is incomprehensible to humans and can only be understood by computers.
For computers to grasp the commands supplied in high-level languages such as Java, C, C++, and Python, the instructions must be conveyed in machine language, consisting of bits. An interpreter or compiler is used to convert a high-level language to machine language.
- Assembly Language: Some commands in the assembly language are human-readable, such as mov, add, sub, etc. The difficulties encountered with machine-level language are mitigated by utilizing assembly language, an expanded version of the machine-level language.
A high-level language is one that enables a coder to build applications that are not dependent on the exact machine being used. High-level languages are named so because they are more similar to human languages than machine-level languages.
Python, Visual Basic, Java, SQL, and C++ are examples of high-level languages since they were designed to simplify programmers to comprehend and create code. This is because high-level language code resembles regular human languages.
Examples of High-Level Languages
- Java: It is one of the most widely-used programming languages. Some other languages, such as Scala, Kotlin, and Groovy, are built on top of the Java platform. Java can be used to create mobile and desktop apps, as well as used in data science. Java isn’t the most extraordinary language in every situation, but it is the one that gives you the most opportunities as a developer.
- Python: Python is another powerful programming language that went mainstream in the 2010s. Python is well-liked in academic circles and the field of data science. However, there is one drawback: developing mobile applications in Python is tough.
- Visual Basic: Microsoft designed Visual Basic to make programming easier under the Windows operating system by providing a fully integrated development environment.
- C++: It is a straightforward, powerful, and timeless, functional programming language. C++ has been a highly helpful language throughout time, not just in coding, but also in educating new programmers how object-oriented programming works. C++ can help a developer create a wide range of applications, browsers, Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs), operating systems, and games due to its great flexibility and scalability.
Your Steps-by-Step Guide to Start Coding
So, most probably, you will start learning how to code with one of the high-level languages, such as Java or C++. And here are the main steps for you to start.
1. Set Your Goals
When it comes to creating career goals, the first requirement is to be sure that becoming a software developer is what you desire. Next, you need to define your specific goals or outcomes once you’ve made up your decision. These goals could be:
- Start working in a big company
- Starting your project in IT
- Implement an idea you may have, etc.
There are no “good” and “bad” goals, obtaining a well-paid job in a big company is also one to consider, but you need to clearly understand what’s in it for you. This will define your further development as a programmer.
2. Decide the Field for Your Development
Programming comes in several shapes and sizes. So when you’re trying to figure out how to learn to program, you need to consider what field you want to work in. The following are some of the most common categories to choose from.
- Server-Side Enterprise Apps Development. When we refer to server-side app development, we refer to a website or application that operates on a server and employs a programming language. Web pages are generated (rendered) on this server, and the output of that rendering (HTML) is transmitted to the browser, where it may be seen immediately. Java is the best language to use for creating such programs. Check out Java coding practice on CodeGym if you are considering learning Java.
- Back-end Web Development. Back-end programmers write code for web applications or programs that provide the structure for a website or app to function on. To create such apps, Python, PHP, and Ruby are the preferred programming languages.
- Data Science. Typically, data scientists work in research or academia. These experts frequently utilize code to assist them in their work. The most popular programming languages used by data scientists are Java, Python, Scala, and R.
- Mobile App Development. Mobile app development is fast becoming one of the most rewarding programming areas, particularly for those who enjoy working independently. Kotlin is mostly used in Android app development, while Swift is the most popular for iOS apps.
- Game Development. Gaming is a growing trend in today’s fast-paced world, with demand for computer and mobile games at all-time highs. If you’re interested in game development, you’ll need C++ and engines like Unreal for large, rapid projects and C# and Unity for indie games and smaller projects.
3. Get the Right Text Editor
To begin practising, you’ll need a text editor as a place where you’ll write your code. And when it comes to text editors, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. You should conduct your research to choose which one is ideal for you, but to get you started, here are a couple of options to consider.
- Notepad++: This is one of the quickest and lightest text editors available, with a reputation for being quite simple and ideal for complete novices. It supports more than 7-0 programming languages and is one of the most popular text editors to use.
- Sublime Text: This editor has been trimmed down to make learning as simple as possible. There are fewer gimmicks to shorten the learning curve. Similarly, most programming languages include extensions.
- IntelliJ IDEA: IntelliJ IDEA has been developed to increase developer productivity in every way. Sophisticated coding help and ergonomic design come together to make development not just efficient but also pleasurable. Furthermore, IntelliJ IDEA has versions for every programming language. As a result, it is an excellent choice for developers.
- NetBeans IDE: Apache NetBeans emphasizes source code syntactically and semantically with various valuable and practical features, allowing you to modify code quickly. It also includes templates for creating apps in Java, PHP, and a variety of other languages.
Get Support & Learn from Communities
It may be incredibly tough for novices to navigate the complexities of learning how to code independently. And regardless of the programming language and the training course you choose, there will be moments when you require assistance.
Joining an online support board or coding forum can provide you with networking and sharing who can answer your queries and assist you in overcoming any obstacles. In such situations, these two platforms may be incredibly beneficial.
- Stack Overflow: Stack Overflow is a programming question and answer platform for beginners and professionals. It contains answers to the questions on a variety of computer programming subjects.
- Github: GitHub is a web-based platform that leverages the use of Git, an open-source system that allows many users to make adjustments to web pages simultaneously. It enables real-time interaction and motivates teams to collaborate on web page creation and editing.
For beginners, learning to code can be enjoyable, stimulating, rewarding, and challenging at the same time. In addition, it may offer you valuable abilities that you can use for the rest of your life if done correctly.
To become a competent coder, you only need to define clear goals and select a programming language. After that, you need to study and practice a lot. It all boils down to taking the proper attitude to learning. And we’ve discovered it. Programmers are created rather than born.