How can older people learn to code

How do you start programming?

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Welcome to my guide on how to start programming as a beginner! This guide was created to give a beginner the best possible introduction.

I often get the question: How do you start learning to program?

In this article, you will learn how to get started with coding.

If you're struggling to distinguish PHP from JavaScript or hosting from domain names, this is the place for you. Let's learn how to program!

Why should you get involved in software development?

Before I start teaching you how to start programming, it is useful to first know why you want to learn how to develop software. There are many good reasons why you should learn to code.

Here are some of them:

  • Programming is a skill that is in great demand in the technology industry.
  • Jobs as a coder can allow you to work anywhere, no matter where you want. All you need is a computer and the internet!
  • Coding is one of the most important skills to work in the modern professional field. Many of the most attractive jobs in new professional fields today are in the field of cryptocurrencies and artificial intelligence. Programming is crucial for both systems.
  • Learning to code is a challenge that quickly pays off. You will be amazed at what you can program with after a short time.
  • The skills you learn will become more relevant in the future. The tech industry is just getting bigger and bigger.
  • Jobs that require special skills such as programming skills are very well remunerated.
  • You don't need a college degree to learn how to write code. Just go ahead.

Programming for Beginners - Getting Started

Before we learn how to start programming, it's important to address a little warning first. In the beginning, programming will be challenging - you're essentially learning a new language to share ideas! There is no best way to start as a beginner.

If you are completely new to this, it will all feel a little strange. Stay tuned. The longer you code, the more likely it is that you will get an important "wow" moment, and it will all make sense.

Programming is all about problem solving. It's not so much about remembering all of the functions that produce different lines of code (although that's useful, of course). You can look up the features if you forget how to do something specific! Your skills as a problem solver will develop over time.

How to start coding - The basic principles

For many, computing and programming seem like alien skills that are impossible to grasp. That's why this beginner's guide starts at the beginning. While you should already understand how networks and computer systems interact with each other, it is still a good idea to give yourself a quick refresher from the list below.

When learning to program, there are a few things you should understand:

  • Learn the basics of computer science. There are many great resources out there. Before you start programming, you need to have a solid foundation in how computers actually work!
  • It is important to understand how different computers can interact with each other on different networks. This makes it easier to understand concepts that come up later.
  • Familiarize yourself with the command line (cmd.exe in Windows). Finally you will feel like a top level hacker! Typing into the command line can be a bit daunting at first. However, it is very difficult to make a real mistake!
  • Next, it is important to know how to develop a website and connect it to a domain. This topic won't overwhelm you, but it is central to your path to becoming a developer.

Difference between software and hardware

Any part of a computer that you can touch (and sometimes kick and throw) is called hardware. Programs that you use are running on your computer. For example, you are currently using a browser or an app.

These programs are stored in the computer and are therefore called software. Software because you can't touch it. Even if the software sometimes tempts us to curse the hardware. You want to learn to program, that means you want to learn how to develop software.

Learn the basic programming languages

No matter what you want to code, you have to master at least one tool. And that is the programming language.

Today's programming languages ​​all work according to a similar scheme and have the same basic elements. If you have learned these basic elements and have gained enough experience with them, then you can switch to another programming language relatively easily. It doesn't really matter which programming language you choose first when learning. Every programmer has his first favorite programming language and will suggest it to you. What you should consider when choosing the programming language, you will find out in a separate article, because here it goes directly.

The first thing every novice programmer learns is that they have to learn a programming language. The programming language is just a tool.

The problem with this is this: You are taught to use a hammer and then you are asked to use the knowledge to build your own house. You wouldn't make it, would you? That is exactly why many fail at the beginning.

There are still a few things missing that you should know before you can build a house. You cannot design programs with the programming language tool alone. You also have to learn which thinking and planning work you have to do.

Or simply put: You have to learn how to solve problems and tasks logically. Sounds complicated? Sometimes it is: This makes it all the more important to learn this skill.

What would you do if your program threw an error code 42 and didn't do what you wanted? This will happen to you every day while programming.

In addition, you will almost daily solve tasks such as: Create a function that accepts certain data and converts it into the standard format so that your app can display certain information. You can only do that if you think like a programmer.

Now that you've got the basics above, it's time to start programming for real applications

You can find them below three most popular programming languages (HTML, CSS and JavaScript), which are particularly good for beginners.

HTML

If you have no prior knowledge of web development, you should start with HTML.

HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. In short, HTML is used to create web pages. It is not a pure programming language. However, if you are completely new, it is the cornerstone of the web.

Whenever you see images or text on the Internet, they were mainly created with the help of HTML. HTML enables you to publish texts, images, videos, music and other content on your website with the help of so-called "tags".

HTML isn't really flexible, but it's available all over the internet. It is therefore important to understand HTML well before embarking on your professional career or hobby as a web developer.

Read through the following guide for HTML beginners.

CSS

The next step in developing websites is learning CSS. But this is still not a real programming language! However, CSS brings more variety to your web pages. Learning the code is an important step to take before starting any of the more interesting programming languages!

CSS gives your HTML code a new look. You can use it to do all sorts of tricks, such as adding color, determining positioning, increasing / reducing font sizes or changing fonts.

A good understanding of CSS and HTML can make a decent website. However, if you want to work as a developer, you have to learn some real programming languages ​​afterwards!

To use CSS like a pro, read this CSS beginner's guide.

Learn JavaScript

If you want to learn to program, you need a good knowledge of JavaScript.

JavaScript is a must on the web. It is everywhere. Nowadays it's almost impossible to find a website that doesn't use JavaScript code to make it more interactive.

As such a widely used programming language, job vacancies are ideal if you are familiar with JavaScript. In a recent survey by StackOverflow, it was found that 62.5% of respondents said they use JavaScript.

In return, this means that the search for a job is also linked to competition. However, it is worth becoming a JavaScript web developer. An estimated 50,000-60,000 € annual salary can be earned on average. Depending on the programming experience and the size of the company, there is even more to it.

JavaScript expands your repertoire as a web developer with interactive functionalities. These can be complete games or reactions to entered texts.

You can start making adjustments to your HTML web pages. This can include welcome messages and image changes. However, with the necessary Javascript experience, you can even program 3D games.

If learning JavaScript is the next step in your career or hobby development, take a look at the following JavaScript guide about this multifaceted programming language.

How to Write Code as a Beginner: Create Your First Website

When you've followed all of the steps in this guide, you should be ready to create a professional-looking website. I estimate it took you two months total to get to this point. If you need a little more time, don't worry. It is more important to understand everything you are learning in the beginning.

There are many ways to take learning further at this point. Some of them are:

  • Learn more about debugging programs and websites with Chrome Developer Tools
  • Attend programming seminars and meetups
  • Find out about synchronous and asynchronous JavaScript.
  • Learn more about event loops - this will open your eyes to a whole host of other great features that you can create with JavaScript.
  • Download node.js & npm. Studied these frameworks. These tools give budding web developers even more flexibility.
  • Familiarize yourself with the programming in React.js.
  • Read through many articles and tutorials on the internet. There is still a lot to learn. But by this point you should already understand most programming terms and abbreviations.
  • Find out more about servers and backend concepts.
  • Buy a Raspberry Pi and tinker with it. With this you can e.g. set up your own server at home.

What content should you learn?

The programming language

The first topic is that Language. Zto program we need a language. I have described which language to use in a separate article.

But I don't want to go into it here either, because in my opinion it is totally unimportant which language you start with. The topics that you have to learn first of all can be learned using any high-level language.

But what topics do you need now?

instructions

First you have to learn what instructions and instruction lists are, the first lesson of my course is about them.

Once you have understood the instructions, you will learn to write your own instructions, so-called functions.

Comments

Comments are important to make a program understandable. You write a comment to document the following program code.

Operators and Operations

Then comes the topic of operators and operations, where you learn the basic arithmetic operations such as addition and subtraction in a programming language.

Further programming basics

After following these simple basics, you will learn other topics such as: Entering keyboard commands and outputting to the screen.

Another topic is the storage of data in the main memory, for which there are the variables, these are available in individual, lists and tabular form.

The topics continue, but stay calm! That sounds like a lot of learning material, but it is SUPER easy to learn these topics.

The problem is that most books teach it as dryly as I have now written it in the text.

Which applications and programs can you program?

In order to learn to program, it is good to know what you actually want to program later. For this reason we should go through what can be programmed.

Mobile apps

Apps are computer programs for mobile devices. The term app is actually just an abbreviation for application. The special feature of apps is that you can install or buy them via an AppStore and they are then available on your mobile device.

Websites and web apps

Web pages and web applications are programs that can be run from a modern browser. Browsers now have so much functionality that entire programs can be made available over the Internet.

Computer games

Video games have been popular since the invention of computers. Where you used to push pixels back and forth, there is now realistic graphic action. But even mini-games that can be programmed by beginners are still popular today.

Desktop programs

Desktop applications are programs that you can run on a notebook, for example. These are mostly tools with a surface that you need for daily work. But command line programs and scripts are also part of it, and programmers in particular use them intensively.

Server-side programs

Server programs are often referred to as the back end of websites. Whenever your programs need data from the Internet, your program has to exchange information with a server.

Hardware programming

Another area is hardware programming, e.g. with a Raspberry Pi. This minicomputer can be used to connect and program things like motors, lights and switches. It is interesting that you can program everything with one programming language, depending on what you want to program with it.

You can find out which language I use for this at the end of the article.

Experience counts

So you get to know a few basics of programming, the way you have to think and you're done with the programmer. Even if it all sounds so simple: All the knowledge that you acquire always wants to be used at the right time and you can only learn that by gaining experience.

Solve small problems, read foreign program code and try out projects that are getting bigger and bigger. I have already told you in another article how long something like this can take. It is not for nothing that there is the saying: "Learning to program is easy - mastering programming is the challenge".

The teaching material

The more important is the teaching material that you should use to learn. Depending on what kind of learner you are, you can learn with books, videos or a teacher. Of course, your wallet ultimately determines what you use for teaching material.

From free offers for children to live courses that can cost several thousand euros, there are countless opportunities to learn programming.

It is important that the theory is conveyed to you as understandably as possible and that you can learn a lot of practice. A mixture of everything is ideal because this is the fastest way to get ahead. Then you can decide for yourself whether you want to take a quick look at a topic in the video, then solve the appropriate task and look it up in the book if necessary. And if all else fails, your teacher is just a message away.

If you finally have the opportunity to look into sample programs and are allowed to adapt and distribute them for your own purposes, you can gain a lot of experience in a short time and get closer to your goal even faster.

Learn online

There are countless starting points on the Internet. Unfortunately, these are our forums, what I think of them, I've already mentioned above.

There are really helpful sources on the other hand. When I was 13, I wanted such sources.

I'm talking about video tutorials. That would have taught me the whole subject super quickly.

Unfortunately, I only found the courses that I found to be good in English. I used this example as a guide and produced the first good course in German. I am convinced that our humanity needs! 🙂

There are also a few pages on the Internet that want to teach all these topics as texts.

These texts are online specialist books and deal with a specific language, not with the actual basics.

Huh?

Small example, the texts explain how to define a variable in C ++ and how to use it. But why and when I need a variable and what that is in detail remains hidden.

Learn offline

Of course, interactivity is difficult offline. By offline I don't mean separate from the Internet, but rather separate from the computer.It is a contradiction in terms, you want to learn to program computers, but do you want to do this without a computer? I can understand you, I wanted to start like that too.

The problem?

There are at least twice as many bad books as good ones and when I look in my bookshelf I can't find a book that I would recommend to a beginner. So you can go looking for a good book. If you are lucky, the book you buy is the one where the spark leaps over. As I said, I have a shelf full of books. Hundreds of euros paid hard. I didn't learn programming with books alone.

What should I learn next?

After learning these basic programming languages ​​and concepts, you will begin to get a feel for what you are good at and what you enjoy creating with code.

Below are some of the next few areas where you can continue learning:

  • Learn how to use Git and GitHub. After you have familiarized yourself with these tools, you can create a GitHub account and start your first commits. The employer often prefers active GitHub users.
  • SQL - if you like the big topic of databases, SQL is a great programming language. Since virtually every application uses databases in some way, knowledge of SQL programming is a great advantage.
  • Solidity - the programming language of the Ethereum blockchain is particularly easy to learn. It is used to implement smart contracts, and Ethereum developers with such skills are in great demand right now. It's only a matter of time before someone develops a sensational dApp application on the Ethereum network with Solidity - maybe you are that person?
  • jQuery - jQuery is like a toolbox for JavaScript developers. Basically, it was designed to make entering JavaScript code faster. Many tasks are grouped together so that they can be created with a single line of code.
  • Swift - Swift is the programming language for iOS applications. With Apple products being so consistently popular, it is sure to make a good impression if you are a seasoned Swift programmer. In addition, iOS apps are often more profitable compared to Google Play apps in general.

Find a job as a coder

After a few months in web development, it's time to get started on the job. It is important to add your new skills to your Xing or LinkedIn profile. That makes an impression on potential employers.

You can also see a headhunter. Hopefully your new programming skills will be enough to open up a lot of job interviews for you. Congratulations and good luck in the world of work.

Conclusion and quick start in programming

That was the beginner's guide on how to start programming, I hope you now have basic information on where to start. When you've read to the end, pat yourself on the shoulder.

However, this is only the beginning of your career. The catch with today's technologies is that they are constantly changing. This is especially true for web development. New frameworks and libraries for JavaScript are constantly being released. As a result, there is always the need to learn something new. There are also many other programming languages. Seen in this light, your programming skills are still in the starting blocks according to this beginner's guide.

This guide should first give you a solid understanding of how the relationships in computer science and development are. Everything else is based on these basic programming pillars.

Always remember that this is basically about solving problems. You now have a lot of tools to solve those problems. In the future, new tools and programming languages ​​will be developed that simplify these problems even further.

That's all we can discuss in this article.

How is it going for you now? What is your motivation for learning to code? What programming language will you start with? Share your answers with me in the comments or write me an email!