The most sought-after skill today is programming. Indeed, “Software Engineer” is the industry’s top demand position. Considering the huge demand for skilled programmers, it makes sense for job-seekers to learn to programming.
To many it seems difficult to learn programming. This is often due to the incorrect approach to code learning. People aspire to make complex applications and are often unfamiliar with basic programming. This has also happened to me. I attended a college Android workshop without even knowing Java’s basics. It was not surprising that at that time most of it went beyond my comprehension. Many people may have had similar experiences, and therefore thought it was difficult to program.
Now, I realize that this is a very common problem when I reflect on that incident. I would therefore like to share a less frustrating, and indeed fun, approach to learning programming! The whole assumption of this article is that if the right way is done, learning programming can be fun! We’ll see in this article how to learn how to program properly.
For both job seekers and students, this article would be useful.
1 – Understand programming language
The first step towards learning programming is to be comfortable with a programming language. Often people begin with C, C++, Java, or Python. In the beginning, I personally prefer C++ as it is neither too simple (as is Python) nor too library deficient (as is C). C++ is pretty fast and has a good library support too–best of both worlds! C++ is also a good choice for competitive programming as it is relatively fast and is supported by the Standard Template Library (STL).
First language choice is highly subjective based on your interests and objectives. You may be interested in the development of front-end, back-end, mobile apps, game, data science, etc. You can begin by learning the basics–syntax, types of data, variables, loops, arrays, etc.
To familiarize yourself with these basic concepts, try to solve simple implementation-based questions.
2- Learn (DSA) Data Structures and Algorithms
The next thing you should do is to learn data structures and algorithms once you are comfortable with any of the languages mentioned in the above section. Data structures and algorithms help to build the correct programming aptitude. Knowledge of data structures will help you choose the right one for the problem you solve–not everywhere can all data structures be used. You will be able to understand the working mechanism of many library functions when you learn about the algorithms, which would otherwise come across as black boxes.
There are a lot of good online courses from which you can study. Algo Part 1 and part 2 algorithms are good starting courses. It is important that you spend time thinking about implementing these algorithms and data structures in order to be comfortable with them. You may think it may not be important to learn their implementation as the library functions are ultimately used. This is one of people’s most common misunderstandings. Understanding the implementation will help you assess the complexity of the time, which will help you optimize your code further.
3 – Competitive programming
Once you have learned data structures and algorithms, problems on websites such as SPOJ, Codechef, Codeforces, Topcoder, Hackerrank, Geeksforgeeks etc. should be solved. The more issues you solve, the better. However, it is better to solve problems in increasing difficulty order. In decreasing order of the number of solutions submitted, you can sort the problems and start to solve them. You will become confident about your programming skills after solving around hundreds of mixed variety issues.
You can then start participating in various online programming contests after you have become comfortable with solving the questions and coding the solutions. This will greatly improve your programming skills.
4 – Develop Solutions
Now that your problem-solving and programming skills have been enhanced, it’s time to create some useful applications. You can pick up and make a project using some popular web development framework (Django, Flask, Ruby on Rails, etc.). Making an application will give you a sense of real development of software, which is what most programmers are doing.
You may want to try your hand at Android or iOS development once you’ve made some web development projects. Don’t limit yourself to learning anything you want!
5 – Research – Explore – Learn
Once you are confident of your programming skills and have made some projects, you should now continue to explore computer science’s different domains and see what fascinates you most.
Computer Science, with many interesting sub-fields, is a vast and rich field. Some of Computer Science’s popular domains are Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cryptography, Cloud Computing, Systems Programming, Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing, Block-chain, Virtual Reality, Web Development, Mobile App Development, and many more. In order to know where your interest lies, you should try to explore as many fields as possible but must learn “Software Engineering SOLID Principles“.
There are currently plenty of online resources available to study any of the above fields. But with plenty of available resources, finding a great tutorial out of so many options is difficult for a beginner. Whatever your interest, you can find the best tutorials for that language / framework on Hackr.io, TutorialPace, TutorialsPoint, recommended by the programming community.
Try to do a project related to it once you’re studying something. Projects help to reinforce the concepts learned. They are also good from the point of view of making a resume.
We saw an approach to programming learning in this article. That’s how I learned to code in short a while. Since you’re reading this article, I presume you’re serious about programming learning, which is good! Hopefully you found this article helpful. The best for your learning journey! In comments, please feel free to ask me your questions or doubts.