It’s a great idea to learn how to program, especially if you find a language you can pick up quickly. The world is becoming increasingly digital, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts job growth for computer science and information technology will outpace the growth rate for all occupations nationwide with a predicted 11% increase from 2019 to 2029.
Having a reason or inspiration also makes it easy to focus on a single idea for a project for you to learn to program. Let’s say you’re interested in finance and want to build a budgeting app. The first thing you could figure out how to do would be to calculate the current balance of an account. Assuming you have the value of each transaction stored in an array, you could write a script that sums all the elements of the array together and prints out the balance.
It’s important to understand a few basic things about programming, for example, what a method or function is as well as what data types are. After you have gone through examples of how to create and use variables and understand what different operators do, take a look at what a class looks like. Understanding these simple mechanisms will speed up your overall learning journey.
You must bite off appropriately sized challenges, and many courses can provide you with the support you need while challenging you appropriately. You don’t want to only code simple things, as you won’t learn much. However, if you jump right into more complex projects or even just complicated problems, it can become quite discouraging if you’re banging your head against the wall for too long.
These websites are great because you don’t have to deal with any of the overhead of getting a website running or setting up a programming environment. You just need access to an Internet browser. It’s great practice, and they’ve got tons of exercises.
Make sure you spend a good amount of time working through the exercises on these sites. Don’t be afraid to revisit exercises you already solved a little while ago. We quickly forget the exact implementation we used, and it’s a quick way to practice programming again without having to think through the entire problem. However, it’s important that you don’t try to memorize solutions. This is counterproductive and will not help you in your quest.
Leetcode and Hackerrank are also great practice for coding interview questions, so if your goal is to eventually get hired as a software developer, it can be handy to prime yourself for how to think about these kinds of questions.
The best thing about programming is that it has so many applications. Computer science can be used in agriculture, healthcare, education, social interaction, automation, manufacturing, entertainment, and more.
Programming is a muscle that you have to flex if you want to be successful at it. You need to practice designing complex systems. If you don’t take the time to think about how to store your data, how to process it efficiently, how your different classes will share central information, and other critical architecture issues, you will never build successful applications. You are going to fail and create flawed designs. That’s why the computer science world invented the idea of agile software development. You’re going to learn better ways of doing things and iteratively improve on your system as you go along.
Having a bigger project to work on can be really helpful for motivating your learning. If you’re creating a small mobile application and you want different users to be able to log in, you’ll need a database as well as a backend.