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So You Want To Be A Programmer? Here's How! by SJ Williams

Why Should I Be A Programmer?

Well, you may already have the answer to this question, if you're reading this article. When I originally decided I wanted to work in the IT industry, it was programming and software development that got me interested. I liked the idea that you could create things on the computer based on what you tell it to do. At the time, it seemed incredible and I had more questions than answers. One of those questions was, "why should I be a programmer?" Some of the reasons are:

• Creative expression - being a programmer allows you to express yourself creatively. Sure, it's a highly logical field to work in, and in most cases you're developing based on documentation that has been written, but there is still a level of creativity that goes into developing software.

• Creating something from nothing - The process of writing software starts from nothing. You have a need for software to be created, develop the idea on what it should do, design it, and type instructions into the computer. Once it's finished, it forms a program that can be executed to do the task you told it to do. A program has been created from nothing. This can be a good feeling for you to experience.

High demand - Companies are always looking for ways to improve and enhance their business processes. This is often done in the form of software. Programmers and software developers are the people involved in this process, and as a result, there is a lot of demand.

What Kind Of Programmer Do You Want To Be?

Ok, so you've decided you want to be a programmer. The next step is to take some action. To begin with, you'll need to decide what kind of programmer you want to be. There are many different kinds of programmers, some of which are:

Desktop software programmer - developing software for use on desktops
Web developer - developing Web sites and Web applications
Mobile device programmer - developing software and apps for mobile devices
Database programmer - developing procedures and other areas of databases
System programmer - developing scripts and code for operating systems

You should ask yourself what area you're passionate about. Which kind of programming interests you? If you're not sure, that's OK - the fundamental skills in programming allow you to change courses in the future.

Consider an Introductory Course

A good way to get started in programming is to take an introductory programming course. You can find these at colleges or universities. Many of them offer a beginners or introductory course in programming that teaches you the basics of programming.

The basics of programming include what it's used for, how to write code, various languages that are used, and other programming concepts such as debugging and compiling. I would suggest taking an introductory course if you're interested in programming. Some of them even include developing in several languages or programming areas, so you get a sample of what kinds of programming there is.

Tap, Move, Shake: Turning Your Game Ideas into iPhone & iPad Apps

A reader says, "As a relative newbie, I've been avidly searching for books to help me learn IOS programming. I have to say that up until now, I have been unimpressed with the titles I have tried. That has just changed when I found Tap, Move, Shake by Todd Moore. I wish this book was there when I started! In particular the chapter introducing Xcode is the best introduction on the subject that I have come across. You also get a pretty cool air hockey app at the end of it, complete with your own graphics and sound effects!

"The book walks you through the production of a sophisticated air hockey game. The book covers the basics of Xcode, animation, movement, touch, using sound, physics, and artificial intelligence. In addition the book shows you how to create all the images you need for your game, including icons and iTunes graphics. There is also a chapter on finding and creating sound effects for the game. The final chapter walks through submitting apps to the App Store, including the submission process, how to deal with rejections, and marketing your game once you have created it." Click here to learn more.

Learn a Language Yourself

An alternative to taking an introductory course is learning a programming language yourself. This can be more difficult if you don't have the background in information technology, but it lets you study at your own pace and do your own research. You can do this by buying a book on a programming language - most languages have a "beginner's guide" or "learn to program" book.

You can also find many websites that offer tutorials and guides on how to develop software in a certain language. They also have practical examples that you can use to help your learning. Personally, I have experience programming in a few languages, and if I wanted to learn an additional language, this is the process I would use.

Consider Starting a Side Project

If you're a little more advanced in programming, or feel like learning it yourself, you can always start a project on the side. You can practice concepts and techniques you have learnt or are currently learning. In many cases, there is no better way to learn than to do it yourself. This way your free to develop at your own pace, make mistakes and work out how things are done.

A side project could be a small database, a Web site, a software application, or anything else. I would recommend starting small to begin with - the idea is to learn and practice the concepts, not to develop the next Microsoft Office.

Apply For a Job as a Programmer

Once you have the education on how to be a programmer, and have some self-experience with a certain language, you should now be ready to apply for a job as a programmer. In many cases the kind of job you'll be looking for is a junior role or a graduate role, which are roles that focus towards the less experienced programmer. This is not a bad thing - it's probably the level that you're at. There are many things that you learn on the job that you just can't learn in an online tutorial or university course.

You'll find that once you start working as a programmer, your skills will get better and you'll gain experience in your field. And, most importantly, you should enjoy it! If you've still got the passion and interest you had at the start of the process, that's great!


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