This is the second part of How to get started with programming. If you haven’t read part 1, I highly recommend you start there as we covered some stuff that I consider pretty important to getting started.
Now that you’ve found your purpose, what’s the best way to actually start wetting your feet in programming?
In yesterday’s post I shared that many of my friends and even strangers like to ask me how they can get started with programming.
And if I have time, I’ll always first reply with the whole “find your reason for learning first, or it won’t be sustainable” thing (as shared in part 1 of this post).
But let’s be real here – there’s no right answer. There’s only the answer that we each think is best.
- Invented in 1995, and is now the de facto language used to build web apps (including simple websites like this blog and tremendously complex ones like Facebook)
- Can and have been used not only for building the front-end (web applications) but also in the back-end (servers)
- Can and have been used to build native apps (for iOS and Android smartphones and macOS and Windows laptops)
Let me tell you, those are attractive characteristics for a programming language!
What was once used only for dealing with what happens when a user clicks a button on a page has now developed into a full-fledged programming language used by million developers everyday in building all kinds of apps.
If someone asked me to recommend just one resource to learn to program, I would recommend freeCodeCamp with little hesitation.
Founded by one of the most passionate and caring programmers in the world, Quincy Larson, freeCodeCamp is “a community that helps you learn to code, then get experience by contributing to open source projects used by nonprofits.”
On there, you learn by coding. There’s no other way to move forward, which is a good thing.
Where freeCodeCamp really shines is its active and supportive community of fellow campers. It’s quite possible to get help from a fellow learner within minutes when you post on their forum.
When you couple a tough stance on “learning by doing” with an active and sizeable community of mentors, you have a formidable combination to get started with programming.
As a side note on other learning portals, I’ve only ever tried Codecademy and freeCodeCamp. Codecademy is too much like a protective parent to be an effective teacher for me; its exercises are littered with overly helpful hints that breed laziness (answers are often just one click away). I much prefer struggling with a problem myself and googling for help online when I’m stuck. That way, I find that I learn faster and cover more ground.
As its name suggests, learning on freeCodeCamp is absolutely free. It isn’t even a Freemium model; it is a non-profit out to do good, and the curriculum and platform are largely built by open source contributors. I’m not sure about you, but this gave me an extra reason to keep learning.
With that, you now have a good roadmap to getting started with programming. It’s time to step into the jungle!
Finally, if you’re just learning to program and would love to have some jungle trekking buddies, consider joining our mailing list. We’re here to learn together. Also, feel free to ask questions in any related posts on this blog. I’d be glad to help you as those before me have helped me!
Bite Size Programming is a segment where I discuss programming one bite-sized topic at a time in plain English. My goal is to share tips, lessons, and ideas from my work as a software engineer, and through that, make programming accessible and fun for anyone who is curious about programming. Join the mailing list to get the latest post delivered to your inbox so you can read on the go.
Also published on Medium.