In this fast-paced world, computer programming means a great deal. We stumble across coding in every aspect of our life, from banking apps to online video-sharing platforms like YouTube. Coding is considered one of the fundamental skills of modern life. In fact, according to Bill Gates coding must be included in schools as an integral component of the curriculum, just like math or literacy.
We live in an electronic era where learning how to code has become highly essential. Learning programming is like learning any other skill, like swimming, horse riding, or cooking. However, to learn to code, it is not necessary or mandatory for you to have a computer science background. Also, it is never too late to start learning any computer-aided languages. For example, to master web design services you should first determine which web development language you wish to learn.
Now, if you are ready to give coding a shot and want to know how to start coding from scratch, this piece of article is for you. It will provide you with detailed technical guidance on learning programming as an absolute beginner. In a nutshell, this stepwise guide to programming will help you start coding from ground zero. So, let’s get the dice rolling!
A step-by-step approach on how to get started with coding
Web design companies hold two things to great importance – computer programming and the internet marketing. So, whether you want to turn your idea into an app or build next-generation software, you need to know how to code. Here are the steps to learn to program with prudent resources that will take you from a total beginner to a coding connoisseur.
Step 1: Get yourself acquainted with coding fundamentals
The first and foremost step is to dig up the fundamentals of coding that build the bedrock for learning any machine language. There are a bunch of computer-oriented programming languages in the IT world. And most of these languages have got the same foundational elements. So, before jumping straight into code writing, you must perceive basic coding concepts. Let us see some of the remarkable programming language building blocks.
In every program, data gets stored in the form of variables. As the name suggests, variables are values that do not remain static and change with the ticking of a clock. They are considered containers that can hold more than one value in them.
For instance, when you enter your password to login into any page in chrome, you are asked if you want to save it or not. By hitting the ‘Save’ button, you allow the computer to save your password as a variable. Later, when you open that webpage, you don’t have to enter the password all over again. The web page has already stored your password to automatically log you in every time you visit the page.
Every programming language has an elementary syntax exclusive to that specific language. Simply put, the syntax is nothing but a predefined set of rules that represents the structure of letters, symbols, and punctuations of a language. Without these sets of rules, it is difficult for a compiler to comprehend the code. In other words, without the syntax, you will not be able to write clean and functional code. Therefore, adding a syntax is incredibly important to maintain the four C’s of coding:
- Code integrity
- Data type and structures
Data types are a means of categorizing the data stored in a variable or an object of a computer language. It can help you to implement, formulate or transfer variables to other computations safely. Most programming languages support the following familiar data types:
|Integer||Whole numbers||– 5, 100, 5|
|Boolean||Logical true or false||True or False|
|Floating point numbers||Fractional numbers||– 56.7, 0.0, 3.14|
|Characters||ASCII 0 to 255
|‘a’, ‘101’, ‘$’|
|Arrays||A group of same data types||C++ – int ages;
|String||A sequence of characters||“Hello world!”|
Data structures are a cluster of data types that help developers to systematize and store data in the repository. Using data structures, you can execute different functions on the stored data rapidly and more effectively. In the programming world, not a single program exists that does not contain data structures. Here are a few run-of-the-mill data structures:
- Binary tree
- Linked lists
Step 2: Learn about computer science principles
To be able to code gives you the freedom to do anything in the IT world. So, the second step to procuring coding skills is learning the basics of computer architecture. However, knowing computer science principles is not just about learning coding and programming. It is also about knowing how the internet works, how data is collected, stored, and shared, and how security works. If you want to learn the ropes, you must put the following computational thinking practices in place:
- Code analysis
- Responsible computing
Programs that you learn utilize RAM, CPU, input/output devices, storage units, and other components of computers. So, before you learn to write code, you must gain a rudimentary knowledge of computer architecture. As a fact, computer science principles will not only enable you to create and design software/apps but also solve development problems. For instance, after learning the basics of computer science principles, you can figure out why your smartphone slows down periodically. Also, if you wish to create fancy apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, having foundational computing skills is a must.
Step 3: Build the foundation with basics of programming languages
Drawing a bead on the basics of programming languages is as essential as laying the foundation of a house. The foundation is a substantial part of your code learning development process. To begin programming in any language, you must have a basic understanding of all programming elements. Once you explore the core concepts and structure of coding, you can easily fathom what is under the hood.
To lay a solid foundation, you can start with the bare essentials of programming. It means understanding the working of if-else statements, switches, source codes, and loops. Apart from it, you should get familiar with lessons on how to apply classes and functions corresponding to respective coding languages. Just as important, get your bearings on these two primary computer programming languages:
- Low-level language: It is a hardware-dependent language, which is a little hard to comprehend as it involves machine and assembly languages.
- High-level language: It is a hardware-independent language that is easier to grasp as reading, writing, and executing the code is in English. It is further classified into structured language, object-oriented language, procedural language, and non-procedural language.
Step 4: Identify the coding language you wish to learn
One of the most significant steps to learning programming is to choose which language you want to learn first. For this, you must remember why you wished to learn coding in the first place. There are several reasons to learn coding, such as:
- Improved problem-solving and analytical skills
- Enhanced interpersonal competencies
- Increased income potential
- Expanded career opportunities and flexibility
Once you know the reason, it will be easier for you to choose the programming language. Let us walk through some of the revolutionary machine languages of the coding world:
|Java||Mobile and web development, server-side, client-side, business||Windows, Solaris, Linux, OS X|
|Python||We development, AI, scripting, scientific computing||Cross-platform|
|HTML/CSS||Graphics, scripting, web pages, apps||Code editor|
|C||General purpose, apps, low-level operations||Common language infrastructure|
|C++||Apps, system||Linux, Mac OS, Solaris|
|PHP||Web development, server-side, apps||Windows, UNIX-like|
|C#||Client-side, server-side, web development, game programming, RAD||Common language infrastructure|
|Ruby||Web development, scripting, apps||Windows, Mac OS, versions of UNIX|
|Swift||General, apps||Darwin, FreeBSD, Linux|
Step 5: Get an appropriate code editor
After deciding which language to learn, the next significant step is to get a suitable code editor. It is a tool that can help you write clear code, allowing you to edit it when needed. Today, several online programming courses provide code editors directly in their browsers. However, it is always advisable to download a code or text editor.
Furthermore, for simple programming languages like CSS and HTML, you do not need any code editor. For writing code in such languages, you can use a simple text document. But for other languages, you must practice writing your code in a code or text editor. As a beginner, you must consider using any of the following popular editors:
|Code editor||Supported programming languages||Features|
|Visual studio code||Several languages, including Java, JSON, C++, TypeScript, etc.||
|Sublime text||Several languages, including C++, PHP, Python, Rails, etc.||
|Vim||Almost all languages||
Step 6: Practice writing your own codes
After downloading the code editor, the next step is to put your knowledge into practice. At this stage, you should pull out all the stops to get hands-on practice in learning to write code. Programming is not a spectator sport. You cannot learn coding by just watching videos or tutorials. You must start writing code on your own with whatever basic coding knowledge you have.
Practice makes progress. Hence, you should practice writing code because the more your practice, the more you learn. Today, there are a large number of online and offline resources that can help you master your programming skills. Some of the best-known online platforms to learn programming for beginners are:
- W3Schools [No follow]
- Code Academy [No follow]
- freeCodeCamp [No follow]
- HackerRank [No follow]
- CodeChef [No follow]
Step 7: Develop debugging skills
Besides writing code, you must also get your hands on debugging. The debugging process is basically to identify an unexpected error in your program. Looking for a bug and solving it is a part of testing. In the IT industry, there is an inside gag – a developer takes 5 minutes to write a code and spends 5 hours to know why it’s not working. So, the point is that bugs and errors are inevitable in the programming world. As a novice learner, all you have to learn is how to be good at the debugging process.
In the product development market, thousands of technical debugging tools are available. You can utilize those tools to locate the error or bug. Many debugging tools can furthermore help you find solutions to address coding problems.
Step 8: Build your first project portfolio
The last step is to build your first programming project. This is the stage where you will work like a trojan. By the time you get to this stage, you will have the requisite programming skills. So, by putting your coding know-how into practice, you can venture out and try simple coding projects.
Right from the beginning i.e. writing code from scratch to debugging the program, your first project will give you a practical learning experience. However, you must select your early coding project sagaciously. Deciding on your first project depends on the language you have chosen. For instance, if you choose HTML or CSS, your first project could be the creation of a website.
Learn how to code today!
Learning to write a computer program is a highly desirable skill of the twenty-first century. Living in the computer era, people from the earliest age have begun to consider learning coding languages. Coding is all about making a product or software run upon step-by-step instructions given by people. Every product or service you encounter today hints at computer programming. Hence, everyone needs to start learning coding languages sooner rather than later.
Brijesh Jakharia co-founded SPINX Digital in 2005 and takes great pride in crafting web and mobile marketing solutions for mid-market businesses to enterprises. Marketing is his passion, and the thrill to build a brand from the ground up has helped him craft successful brand stories for world-class clients. While not at work, he loves to spend his time on research and reading digital content stories.