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How I taught myself how to do programming and how you can do it too

Posted on 03-08-2018 at 09:44 by Alex Bankras

A few years ago, while playing games like Minecraft, Call Of Duty and all kinds of other big titles, I wondered if it would be possible to implement the additions I wanted to see in the games by myself. I was strongly driven to find out how and no matter what needed to be done to accomplish what I wanted, I would do it. Eventually, I found out that I would have to learn the programming language Java. As I said I wouldn't give up, I decided to just give it a good shot and I started to really enjoy the programming itself, maybe even more than the actual game. Now I'm here, four years later with a lot more knowledge of Java and several other programming languages.

 

What exactly can you do with programming?

Anything you can imagine in the field of devices with software in it. You can think of games, websites, text editors and all sorts of applications. You can also program robots or other hardware. As you can imagine, there are lots of applications for programming, but not every aplication requires one ande the same programming language. Nowadays, there are lots of programming languages, but in most cases, you will only need to use one or a few languages to reach your goal. In a few days, I will post another article that focuses on some specific cases that and inform you about what languages you could use to accomplish the task.

 

Where to start learning programming?

There are different ways to start learning how to program and certainly not every method suits every person's needs. I like to learn by watching others with more knowledge than me do it on YouTube, which by the way contains more than enough content to learn programming in a lot of languages. However, I know that this method is definitely not the way to go for everyone, so I made a list of options you can pick from in order to start your learning process.

  1. Videos
  2. Books
  3. Interactive websites
  4. School

 

1. Learning by watching videos

If you like watching someone create something and getting it explained at the same time, this will be a good starting point for you. By watching someone who already knows more than you do, you will pick up things quickly and you should try to create your own variations of their creations. The latter is very important in your learning process. By just watching, you will only trigger your passive knowledge, but when you try to do it by yourself, you will convert that passive knowledge into active knowledge, which is what you will need to accomplish. By trying yourself and finding your own solutions, you will gain the most knowledge out of this method. There will be times where you don't completely understand the tutorials. No panic. It will take time, but if you come back to a previous tutorial at a later date, you will start to grasp it. Not giving up is an important thing while learning.

Some good YouTube video series:

 

2. Learning to program with books

Do you prefer the oldschool book you can hold in your hands? That is definitely a way to go. There are quite a good amount of books available for a wide range of programming languages. I do want to warn you for the fact that some books are a bit aged as programming languages evolve at a rapid pace. I myself have no experience with books related to programming as books have never been my cup of tea to be fair, but I can understand why people prefer having a physical book in their hands. Therefore, I listed a few books I know are good, as I've heard and read about them.

 

3. Interactive websites

Nowadays, there is a wide variety of online learning in an interactive way. It is therefore no wonder that the same goes for programming. I have also used this method in order to test my knowledge and if I learned the right things from the videos I watched, like an extra check. It is also possible to just use this method to learn programming. There are certain differences between platforms that offer this way of learning programming. Some turn it into some kind of game, while others or some more serious and focused on real examples.

 

4. School

Going (back) to school is, of course, also an option. In order to find a job in this field, it is oftentimes required to show some kind of certificate or diploma. It may also be beneficial to you to be in a classroom with others who are eager to learn as well, as this might motivate you in some way. It can also just give you that little extra push you need in order to keep learning and keep improving yourself. In a study related to programming, you will learn a lot about programming in general and you will often focus a lot on a few selected programming languages. It is not like you can create anything you like after you're done with the study. There will always be new things to learn about in this fast-growing industry. My advice is therefore to keep learning.

 

Conclusion

There is no fixed path for every person to learn a programming language. I myself have used multiple of the methods mentioned above. You will have to find out what works best for you, just try them out. You will find out that it won't be a matter of days before you understand everything, more like weeks or months. The most important part is to keep going and learn regularly. So, you want to learn a programming language? Just do it, start now and don't give up.