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How to learn programming from scratch

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Detailed instructions to help you write good code.

1. Independently

If you have iron willpower and burn with the desire to become a programmer, then you can achieve your goal through self-education. This is not the easiest and shortest way: you have to figure out the information chaos yourself and fight procrastination. But you can study at a convenient time for relatively little money or for free.

The easiest way to get started is with online courses. There are many sites on the Web, the materials of which explain the basics of programming and determine the direction for further development. Pay special attention to those courses that teach examples of real projects, that is, they tell you in stages how to create a specific program or website.

Platform with free courses on web development freeCodeCamp

Remember that you will not succeed without practice. Study in project-oriented courses and try to write the programs and sites disassembled in them yourself. Look for lectures on YouTube with a discussion of the projects you would like to develop. First, copy other people’s work and analyze it. Then try to move away from the original, experiment, change individual elements until you can create something unique.

In addition to courses and video lectures, official documentation available on language sites and books is at your service. When you get the basics right, look for the latest publications with the subtitle Best Practices for your chosen programming language. Such books contain the best techniques in development.

Be sure to set a goal to create your project and constantly work on it.

This will help consolidate the knowledge gained and understand what information you still do not have enough. Your skills will develop along with the project. When you finish it, work on the new – more complex.

If you have any difficulties in the process of training or development, you can always turn to any community of programmers like Stack Overflow for any question. For example, they will help you to solve a problem, choose a good course or point out errors in the code.

It’s convenient to hone your skills at special venues where you can compete with other programmers, solving various practical problems using the code. These services include CodewarsTopCoder, and HackerRank.

If you feel that your development is at an impasse, or want to speed up your learning, try the following options.

2. Using a mentor

Mentor – a personal mentor who points out errors, warns of pitfalls, helps to plot a course. A useful recommendation received at the right time can save you many problems and save a ton of time. Therefore, the mentor will not hurt anyone.

Find out if there are developers among your friends. Some of them may want to help you. If you don’t know such people, you can search them in the programmer communities. For example, on the same “Toaster.” Only mentoring services are not cheap, and for no reason, nobody wants to spend a lot of time on strangers.

3. At teachers of “live” courses

Distance and face-to-face courses with teachers who train programmers from scratch have become incredibly popular in recent years. Within this format, you also have a lot to work on your own. But you will be engaged in a professionally prepared program, and the tasks will be checked by a living person. The disadvantages of the courses include the high cost of training.

4. At the university

If you have a lot of time left and you are sure that you want to connect life with programming, you can study computer science at the university. But keep in mind that traditional educational institutions are lagging behind progress, so you will have to learn modern programming languages ​​and other technologies yourself.

On the other hand, the university will provide fundamental knowledge of mathematics, algorithms and other fields that will help you become a high-class programmer. Over the years of hard study, you will form the right type of thinking, thanks to which you will grasp everything on the fly in the professional field.

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How to choose a direction and language

There are several areas in the IT industry, each of which uses its own set of languages. We list the main directions in increasing order of complexity:

  1. Web development. Popular languages: JavaScript, PHP, Python, Ruby.
  2. Mobile development . Popular languages: Java, Swift.
  3. Development of games and programs for desktop computers. Popular languages: C ++, C #, C.
  4. Big Data, machine learning . Popular languages: Python, R, Scala.

What to look for when choosing

To make the right choice of direction and, in particular, language, consider the following factors: the difficulty of mastering and the number of training materials on the Web, your personal preferences (what exactly you want to develop) and the relevance of the language in the labor market.

Schedule of the demand for languages ​​in the international labor market / research.hackerrank.com

The demand for language in your area is easy to check on job search sites. Just open the section for software developers and see the number of available vacancies.

If you can not decide

If you’re confused, take a look at JavaScript, a language that spans almost the entire web. Many organizations and programmers advise beginners to choose this particular language as the first one.

For example, Quincy Larson, founder of the freeCodeCamp educational resource, recommends JavaScript to all beginners. Larson gives very simple arguments:

  1. JavaScript is relatively easy to learn. And to write something and run in this language, it is enough to have a code editor and a browser.
  2. JavaScript is the most demanded language in the international labor market and has great prospects. Big companies like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are investing in the JavaScript ecosystem.
  3. JavaScript has a very wide scope: from websites and browser games to mobile applications.

In addition, a large community of developers has formed around this language. High interest in JavaScript provides a huge number of courses, books and other educational content.

What else should a programmer know: mathematics and English?

Any programmer will not hurt a deep understanding of mathematics. For areas such as the development of game graphics or big data, a mathematical mind is a necessity. But as for web development and the creation of simple programs, in most cases, you can do without math. Although among professionals on this subject there is no consensus.

But an understanding of English, at least at the level of fluent reading of the documentation, is mandatory for all programmers. Official documents and most of the educational materials appear primarily in English. Books often become outdated even before the translation comes out. In addition, knowledge of English opens up prospects for working with the whole world.

How to get your first experience and first job

To find your first job as a programmer, you must have a portfolio. This is a project you created or rather several that demonstrate all your developer skills. Most courses include developing projects that can be part of your portfolio.

A very valuable item in the resume is the availability of work experience, especially team development. But where to get it if you are looking for a first job?

  1. Complete several orders on freelance exchanges. It can be Freelance or Upwork. Offer your services for free, then the first customers will come to you.
  2. Find like-minded people and create a common project with them. People come together for such purposes in almost every educational site where there are programming courses.
  3. Choose courses whose organizer helps with employment.

Before the interview, do not forget to search the Web for lists of tasks and questions that are often asked by applicants.

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