6 Trusted Ways For Newbies to Learn a Programming Language
Whether you are new to programming or an accomplished developer with some years of experience in the bag, having to learn a new programming language will always be something you would have to do in your tech career.
For newbies, it can be confusing to figure out the programming language to start with. Advice from several developers could leave you more confused than ever before. When you have no advice to stand as a guide, you throw yourself into the programming world, stir your course on your own and see where it all leads.
No matter what, there are six tested and trusted ways to help you learn a new programming language. You are about to do something that is no easy feat but knowing the available mediums to help you with your learning goals is not a bad idea. Most courses you would take would also come in one or more of these ways. You would also find the pros and cons of each.
If you are interested in learning web development, read to the end. There is a comprehensive resource for you as a newbie.
Video is audio-visual and it is one of the most captivating ways to learn a new programming language. With a quick google search on any programming language of your choice, you would find tons of videos, especially on YouTube, showing you what you need to know. You could even find a YouTube playlist of well-arranged knowledge taking you from the basics to the complex concepts of a programming language.
Videos could be short or long. It depends on the video creator. Some web platforms like Codewithawa, Udemy, and Udacity make use of videos for their mode of instruction. Their content is also well-structured for you so you don’t need to think of what to learn first and what to learn thereafter.
Learning with videos requires strict discipline on the part of the learner to follow through. When a video instructor is creating a project in a particular language and you want to replicate the same, you would need to follow his every step by typing and testing codes as shown in his video. This requires some form of discipline and passion.
With videos, you can get started with learning a new programming language. Although, there is no guarantee that you will find structured content but it can provide you with the foundation for more learnings.
If you were a lover of books, then you would love to learn a new programming language through books. Books are comprehensive, very structured, and straightforward. The knowledge in programming books is organized for you to learn all you need to know about a programming language.
Programming books can be bulky but you can be sure that you will find most of what you need to know about a programming language. Hard copies or PDF - they serve the same purpose.
Similar to books are written content on websites that teaches you a programming language. Take a look at w3schools and tutorialspoint — they have rich written content broken down for you to learn step by step.
With books and written content, you can easily find a programming concept to learn. You can do quick searches on books and platforms with written content to start learning. This is not possible with videos because it can be time-consuming to watch a full video with the hope of finding what you want — only to realize that it’s short of your expectations. This is the beauty of books and written content over videos.
3. Interactive coding platforms
Interactive coding platforms are what I call “see-and-do”. These platforms have been configured to get you coding in a new language. They save you the stress of setting up your coding environments yourself. Learners of a new programming language can start practicing on the go.
Interactive platforms also take care of errors for you by informing you of errors you can debug in your codes. This is not the case when learning with videos or books. You are solely responsible for writing and debugging your codes.
Interactive coding platforms are great for newbies who want to figure out if a programming language is one they would love or not. This is fine for starters but as you progress, you need to understand that you do not choose a programming language for your projects because of the simplicity of its syntax or base this choice on personal preference. The task to be done determines what programming language will be best to accomplish it.
Codecademy is a great interactive coding platform for learning a new programming language. Freecodecamp is also another one. As you write your codes on their code editors, you can see the results immediately. This is motivating for newbies who do not know what to expect from a programming language but you need to learn how to set up your coding environments yourself.
This is one of the great ways to learn a new programming language. It is learning from another who knows the language and is willing to pass the knowledge to you. Mentorship does not necessarily mean that the mentor in this case will teach you everything you need to know but they can point you to great resources and give you directions on how to hasten your learning. Their recommendations can make all the difference between learning on your own and having a guide.
A mentor would also be willing to sometimes look over your codes to ensure that you are writing clean, clear, and quality codes and with their experience, you can make great strides in your pursuit of learning a new language.
Programming mentors have codes to deal with and this can make them busy, so don’t expect to have 24/7 access to them but if you do find a committed mentor who cares about your success and learning, that’s golden for you. Cherish every moment, ask questions, and milk the opportunity.
5. Coding bootcamps
A coding bootcamp is an intense environment of learning and collaboration. Depending on its structure, it can be a physical bootcamp or a virtual one. You mostly apply to be a part of a bootcamp. With an application, a rigorous selection process could be employed to determine those who will be a part of it.
Besides being an intense environment of learning, it is also a great place to network with other learners and newbies like you. You also have mentors and instructors to help you every step along the way. You should also be ready for projects and assignments, which also makes it easier to build a portfolio in a new language. It increases your accountability and commitment to learning.
Coding communities organize some of these bootcamps as well as NGOs or training organizations. It could be free or paid and they could last from one week to three months and more. Be on the lookout for them and you will find some around you to be a part of. A coding bootcamp will also give you ample opportunity to be in a community of developers during and after the bootcamp, thereby giving you a handful of people to ask your coding questions when you run into trouble.
This sounds like the hardest way to learn a programming language because of its barrier to entry for newbies. Getting an internship is real work and as a newbie, you don’t feel that you have done enough to work in a company or an environment of programmers whose daily work is to churn out codes. That’s the impostor syndrome staring you in the face. You can find more about how to overcome it in another of my articles.
Something to remember is that programmers are learning new things everyday, whether they are a newbie or not. Some of those learnings involve learning a new programming language, so you are not alone.
With an internship, you can get a dedicated mentor as a team lead working with you on tech projects. You could also get a paid internship where you are paid to learn. That’s a double gain for you. Internet connection will also be available for your learning and you will be surrounded with real energy for continuous learning. It comes with many perks.
If you have been through a coding bootcamp, you might get the chance to start an internship if there is provision for such. If that’s not the case, be bold to submit applications to startups or companies where you can learn as you grow to become a better developer and programmer. Be prepared to attend interview sessions where you let your passion shine through.
Don’t get discouraged if no internship is forthcoming. Keep trying and you will get some. Build a great network with developers who can put in a word for you or let you know of internship opportunities in their space. Tell them what you are learning and they will remember you when the time comes. You can read about my tech internship experience here.
Learning is tough and learning a new programming language can be tougher. Applying tested and trusted ways of learning could flatten the learning curve and get you learning so much within a short time.
If you have tested any of the trusted ways highlighted here, which ones stood out for you? Which ones were helpful? Which ones did you find very comfortable for your personality and learning style? Let me know in the comment section.
You have come to the end and it is time to unveil the learning resource I promised at the beginning.
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