Updated on November 18, 2022
So, you’ve decided you want to start programming—you’re excited and ready to learn, and then you ask yourself, “Which language do I start with?” It’s certainly something I struggled with when I was starting out. That’s why today I want to dig into straightforward, useful advice you can work off immediately. And by the end of this, you’ll hopefully be a few steps closer to some cold, hard programming.
What is Coding?
How to Write Code
Learning how to write code will depend largely on what it is you wish to accomplish with this skill. For example, are you looking for a few simple tricks for your website, to create an app, or build a career? There are basic coding principles anyone can easily learn, but for more advanced activities, you will benefit the most from courses or an IT degree program.
10 Tips for Learning to Code
- Desire to learn: Decide why you want to learn how to code and what you hope to accomplish. Factor in the amount of time and money you are willing to invest in the process.
- Choose a Language: Determine which coding language you will need to learn to achieve your goal or whether you want to learn multiple languages.
- Choose how and where you want to learn: Online courses from home? College degree? Just the basics from books, YouTube videos, and online articles?
- Choose and download a code editor so you can write code from home after completing your courses or during the home learning process.
- Start creating and practice, practice, practice!
- Use Resources: Join online communities, attend live workshops, or find something else that allows you to discuss ideas, ask questions, and get feedback on your work.
- Learn from others: Find other people’s code and study it to make sure you understand what each item is and how it works. Look for ways you would change or improve things and then share them in your online communities and ask others to comment, or critique your work.
- Continue the learning process and repeat steps if needed. Each new skill mastered can be added upon until you are comfortable completing whatever projects you are interested in.
What is the best programming language to learn?
Typically, language is the number one thing I hear people worrying about when deciding to start programming. You might be concerned the language won’t be right for your chosen industry, that it won’t suit your projects, that it’s not fast enough, or that it’s not powerful enough. And yes, some languages are powerful, some are fast, and some are industry standards, but the honest truth is none of this matters when you’re just starting out.
What does matter is starting to think like a programmer. Programmers are problem solvers, and the language itself is simply the tool you use to solve the problem. There really is no right or wrong programming language to pick when you’re starting—what’s much more important is getting used to thinking differently, being open, and being ready to learn from your mistakes.
My main advice for anyone wanting to know how to start writing code is to do exactly that—just start. As soon as you get your hands dirty and actually write some code and get it running, you will already have gained an enormous amount of knowledge. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes—some of the most important things I’ve learned have come from breaking my own code.
In the next section, I will show you some example snippets from a few common languages, which will clearly illustrate why the choice between languages really isn’t important when you are starting out.
The Best Programming Language to Learn Based on Your Needs
There are a few types of computer programming languages, including functional languages, that are more suited to manipulating large amounts of data and procedural languages. They’re better used to perform low-level system tasks, but for now I’m going to focus on the more commonly used object-oriented programming (OOP) languages.
While all languages have their best uses, I’m going to make the bold statement that, for now, I think object-oriented languages are kinder to beginners. Why? Because the basic principle of almost all object-oriented languages are the same—you’re making objects and doing stuff with those objects.
Here are a few OOP languages to help you get an idea of what each is generally used for and how it works.
Python can be used for building websites, software, games, and desktop graphic user interfaces (GUIs), as well as providing database access. Python can be used on its own or as part of another framework, such as Django. It has a vast and diverse library, making it especially useful for niche tasks.
C# is a fully OOP language for Microsoft applications based on the C language. It is a very popular language that is used to build .NET applications. If you plan to create a lot of software for Windows, you might want to start with C#.
C++, developed as an extension of the C language, is used to create software, games, and apps. Unlike C, it is compatible with multiple platforms, including both Apple and Android, as well as Windows and Blackberry.
How to write code (in different languages)
Here’s a basic program written in a few different OOP languages—this example is the most basic program to write, called “Hello, World,” and it’s something programmers often use to get an idea of a language’s most basic features.
First, create a string and give it the value: “Hello, World”
Now, let’s do something with this value by writing it out onto the screen somewhere (NOTE: This isn’t about understanding all of the code, it’s just to take notice of their similarity).
While they all have their own way of expressing the same thing, we can quite clearly see they all use very similar patterns. The main benefit to this is if you know one of these languages, looking at another one shouldn’t (normally) be too hard to figure out. With a little reading, you can probably figure out what’s happening, even in a language you haven’t seen or used before.
The first language you learn might not be the one you stick with forever, but it’s important to just choose something and begin your journey into programming. Thanks to their similarities, you’ll find it easier to transition between languages, where you will be free to explore and enjoy all the perks and quirks of each.
More Tips To Learn How to Write Code
Did you know there are coding games you can play to help you develop your skills? Check out CodinGame, Hour of Code, or Minecraft: Education Edition.. And don’t forget the wide range of YouTube videos out there, which you can watch on your lunch break or in your spare time.
Pluralsight Courses on How to Code
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