How to Become a Programmer: The Beginner’s Guide

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What is computer programming?

Computer programming is a technical language that humans use to allow computers to execute a series of instructions to produce an outcome. Programming languages consists of grammatical rules specific to each language, called syntax.

Just as in mathematics, programming languages are formal languages that consist of words and letters used according to a set of rules. Programming languages are either declarative, which is that result is predefined, or imperative, which consists of operations sequenced and executed in order.

Algorithms

To become a computer programmer, you must understand algorithms, how they work, and how to write them. Algorithms are step by step instructions needed for the computer to solve a problem.

Machines are not smart, but they follow directions to the letter and perform tasks very fast. The instructions are performed by the machine, which is the input and produces output based on those instructions.

High-Level vs. Low-Level

Programming languages are grouped into two categories, high-level languages (HLL) and low-level languages (LLL). High-level languages are languages the use syntax that is close to the written word. HLL is easier to read and maintain compiled down to LLL by a complier the computer can understand and execute.

HLL are languages such as Cobol, C, C++, and Java. C Language is a somewhat hard language to learn of the HLLs, but it is a good idea to use C language as the first language to learn because it will make all subsequent programming languages easier. LLL are those close to machine code, which is the only language computers understand. As stated, HLL is compiled down to machine code for execution.

C Programming Language

C Programming is a very robust and powerful procedural programming language. The C language is the foundation of the Windows operating system, UNIX, and Linux.

C language is used to create word processing software, network drivers, a spreadsheet application, and programming compilers. If you are looking to be a programmer using C language, jobs associated with operating system development, and software engineering are a few options available.

C++ Programming Language

C++ is a superset of C language and uses a syntax similar to the C programming language. C++ is an object-oriented language and is used to create various financial applications as well as flight simulation platforms. The Google Chrome browser is created with C++.

Java Programming Language

Java is a general-purpose, object-oriented programming language. The syntax of Java is similar to that of C and C++, but it is considered easier to learn. Java is one of the most popular used languages today; still, under 30 years old, it used to develop an Andriod mobile operating system and many other devices that compromise the internet of things.

Once you feel comfortable, take a Java test for added confidence as many can found online. Java is used to engineer small applications used on servers and web applications.

Pascal Programming Language

Pascal is a relatively easy programming language to learn. Most professionals recommend learning a language like Pascal early in your career. In my opinion, easy languages like pascal should not be learned first as it will give beginners a false sense of confidence because when beginners are introduced to C++ or Java, their world tends to be shaking to the core.

Starting with harder to learn language makes the most easier languages a snitch to pick up. Pascal is used primarily as a tool for teaching and made this list for that reason only.

Python Programming Language

Python programming language is a high-level language and is a lot easier to learn than C or C++. Python consists of many open-source frameworks, which makes it one of the more widely used languages for the graphical user interface (GUI).

Scripting Languages

Scripting languages are sort of like the glue of the programming world, as they are used to integrate and allow communication among various programming languages. Scripting languages are more widely used regarding website development and other tools associated with the internet.

The syntax for most scripting languages are very similar and a lot easier to learn than other languages on this list. Common scripting languages widely used today are:

  • JavaScript
  • VB Script
  • XLNT
  • C#
  • Ruby
  • PHP

Acquiring programming skills will open many doors ranging from OS development to website development and cell phone OS development. Today you don’t need to get a four-year degree to learn to code and have a career, as there are countless online options for free to learn these skills.

I recommend learning to code in C and C++ as these languages will make all languages learnable, as most programmers can code in at least three to five different programming languages. With dedication and practice, anyone can become a programmer, as with most things, it takes consistency.