How to Learn a Programming Language
If you have an interest in creating computer programs, mobile apps, websites,
games or any other piece of software, you'll need to learn how to program. Programs
are created through the use of a programming language. This language allows the
program to function with the machine it is running on, be it a computer, a mobile
phone, or any other piece of hardware.
Choose a Programming Language
1. Determine your area of interest. You can start learning with any programming
language (though some are definitely "easier" than others), so you'll want to start by
asking yourself what it is you want to accomplish by learning a programming language.
This will help you determine what type of programming you should pursue, and
provide you a good starting point.
If you want to get into web development, you'll have a whole different set of
languages that you'll need to learn as opposed to developing computer programs.
Mobile app developing requires a different skillset than machine programming. All
of these decisions will influence your direction.
2. Consider starting with a "simpler" language. Regardless of your decision,
you may want to consider starting with one of the high-level, simpler languages.
These languages are especially useful for beginners, as they teach basic concepts
and thought processes that can apply to virtually any language.
The two most popular languages in this category are Python and Ruby. These
are both object-oriented web application languages that use a very readable syntax.
"Object-oriented" means that the language is built around the concepts of "objects",
or collections of data, and their manipulation. This is a concept that is used in
many advanced programming languages such as C++, Java, Objective-C, and PHP.
3. Read through some basic tutorials for a variety of languages. If you're still
not sure which language you should start learning, read through some tutorials for
a few different languages. If one language makes a bit more sense than the others,
try it out for a bit to see if it clicks. There are countless tutorials for every
programming language available online.
1. Learn the core concepts of the language. While the parts of this step that
apply will vary depending on the language you choose, all programming languages
have fundamental concepts that are essential to building useful programs. Learning
and mastering these concepts early will make it easier to solve problems and
create powerful and efficient code. Below are just some of the core concepts found
in many different languages:
• Variables - A variable is a way to store and refer to changing pieces
of data. Variables can be manipulated, and often have defined types such as
"integers", "characters", and others, which determine the type of data that can be
stored. When coding, variables typically have names that make them somewhat
identifiable to a human reader. This makes it easier to understand how the
variable interacts with the rest of the code.
• Conditional Statements - A conditional statement is an action that
is performed based on whether the statement is true or not. The most common form of
a conditional statement is the "If-Then" statement. If the statement is true (e.g. x = 5)
then one thing happens. If the statement is false (e.g. x != 5), then something else happens.