So, You Want to Learn to Program?

Killer Apps

An old friend of mine got in touch with me today and asked:

Hey man… Best idea for beginning to learn programming?

I was actually very excited when my friend reached out because, in my opinion, learning to program is something that can only enhance one’s possibility of advancement in many careers.

But, Before You Get Started…

I don’t doubt for a second that you could learn to program. But, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Sure, in some cases it is fairly simple. For example, let’s write a program that just says “Hello World”.

[code lang=javascript]
console.log( "Hello World" );

Now, let’s print out every number up to 1,000 that is odd in Javascript

[code lang=javascript]
for ( var i = 1; i < 1000; i++ ) {
if ( i % 2 == 1 ) {
console.log( i + ' is odd' );

For funsies, here’s a video that shows you how to run both of these little snippets in your browser.

That being said, while basic programming and writing code itself is fairly simple, being a good developer is much more complex. I’ll defer to Beau Lebens on this subject and link you to his post, “Why Web Development is Complex.”

If you’re still here and are still interested in learning to program – Hell yes! Let’s get on with it then 🙂

Where to Get Started

My absolute favorite place for beginner tutorials on programming, including everything from iOS and Android to web development, is Treehouse. This is a paid website, starting at $25, but is well worth it for how well organized the videos are.

I was very lucky to get a free account for two years when Treehouse had a giveaway for students. That being said, I would gladly pay the $25 per month if I were just starting to learn.

Team Treehouse

Once signing up and logging in, you will be presented with many tracks that you can learn from. These tracks start you off at a very basic level and bit-by-bit teach you the many thing you need to become a beginner developer.

Treehouse Tracks

You want to build the next badass iOS app. Great, do the “iOS Development with Objective-C” track.

Do you want to learn web development? Awesome. Take the “Front End Web Development” track.

Here is an example of the quality of the interface and videos that you will get within each lesson.

Android Development

And Start a Damned WordPress Site

My passion for development all started with me creating a WordPress site. Sure, I supplemented along the way with my BA in Computer Science, but nearly all of web development skills are self-taught by actually building stuff.

So, go get a cheap hosting account. Figure out how to install WordPress. Install some plugins and a theme. Then, when you want to add something cool to your site? Figure out how to program it.

Here’s the thing… The WordPress community is amazing. There is no shortage of tutorials, code snippets, and amazing people to help you learn to program.

2 responses to “So, You Want to Learn to Program?”

  1. Nice advice here 🙂
    I also recommend for people with no tech background to start out with a loosely typed language. This way they’d focus more on the logic than on rules.

    1. I agree with loosely typed being a first language, especially for self taught learning. My favorite are Javascript and PHP, but that’s also likely because I have the most experience with them 🙂

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