How do I get started programming?

Puzzled Person

This is a simple question for beginner programmers, but does it have a simple answer.

How do I get started programming?

Here in this post I am going to lay down in simple terms some of my own experiences and what I think is the most effective way to start programming. I will list the various points that I deem more crucial for a successful start in a programming career.

Have a Problem-Solving Mind

Being creative and having an active thinking in search of solutions to your daily challenges is a sign that you can be a successful programmer. If you are good, or if you can be good at finding faults and issues in your house (like electrical tools, appliances, etc.), this is another sign that you can face software challenges and find bugs in your programs. Last, but not least, having a clear mental model of the different steps to solving a problem is a big plus for being a programmer. Let’s say you want to cook a special food with a specific recipe. It is highly beneficial to have a mental roadmap of how and when you are going to add an ingredient to the mix, how much to heat, etc. In fact, being a programmer is a lot like being a chef! Many successful developers have such model of thinking that is also called algorithmic thinking.

Focus on the Art not the Tool

This is a trap some developers fall early in their path. So, don’t. Thousands of junior developers around the world ask on a daily basis which programming language is better. This is a foolish question. The best programming language is your brain! So, instead of trying to find the best, fastest, most efficient language, be a good problem solver. Every language has been born for a reason. I remember a bright-minded friend of mine gave me similar advice back in college. “The language is just a tool.” He said. “What matters most is the solution, and the algorithm.” He added. So, to put it shortly, be an artist, not a paint-brush collector!

Programming is not Just for the Genius

A misconception among many people is that coding is for geeks, geniuses and other super-smart people. Not true! Programming is the art of talking to your computer. Once you know how to do it, you can delegate many of your boring tasks to your computer, you can solve many problems for yourself and others. And that does not require you to be Einstein! For example, imagine you have a list of files to download from a web page. Spotting the links one by one and then downloading them is quite boring. If you want to take advantage of your computer to do this for you simply because it is much faster than you, you can write a simple piece of code that does it for you. All it needs to do is to process the text on the web page, find links that are interesting for you and then launch a downloader app that downloads the file for you. Of course, there are zillions of things you can do with computers, and this was just an example.

Think about Money

I know that you love programming, but it’s pretty likely that you also love money! So, from the first day you set your foot on this path, have a corner of your brain think about how you can make money out of your code. This will make your programming journey even more fun! Examples of how you can make money with programming are countless, but I will mention a few. You can design web pages for people, start a web design business (again it does not need to be super great!), you can create web apps that do something like a file conversion and make money of the ads you show on the page, you can teach programming and charge for it, you can create courses and sell them, you can write programming books and ebooks, you can get employed in a software company and get paid! Believe me, you will grow a lot by working in companies both financially and in experience. This last one should have been probably the first example in my list, but since I am not much fan of being an employee, I put it last!

There is More!

There is obviously much more to talk about when it comes to starting to program computers. Find me from my social links and let me know what you think!