The more I learn about programming, the more I realize that no one out there has truly mastered it. Much like meditation, drawing, or cooking, you can never truly attain mastery, but you can fine-tune your skills, and become extremely proficient at what you’ve practiced.
When I started on the path of programming, I took it in what I believe is a fairly common direction, game development. Specifically, I wanted to make mods for games like the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, or The Sims, or a variety of other games. The ability to change the work of others was fascinating, exciting, and most of all, a creative outlet that I desperately needed.
I always thought that I wasn’t overly creative. It turned out that I just needed the appropriate outlet. Programming, even when not done for the creation of a game, can be as artistic as a painting hanging in the Gallery of Modern Art. You can automate tasks, you program the creation of custom content, you can even develop AI programs.
The best part of all, everything you’ll need to learn how to program is available and ready, 24 hours a day, online. Most of it is even free.
How to Begin Learning to Program
It’s a big question, and it does depend on what aspect of programming you want to approach. Are you interested in Web Development? AI? Automation? Data Manipulation? There are so many fields, and if you get caught up trying to force yourself into one of those boxes, you’ll run into what I believe is one of the biggest misconceptions of programming.
Learning to program, and learning a programming language or environment, are two different things. That’s right, you can learn to program in one language, and find yourself working in another language professionally down the road.
Languages That Work Well For Beginners
We’ve covered that the various programming languages are merely the tool you will use to complete your art. In much the same way that a picture can be drawn with a pen, pencil, or a rock, you will find that you have a variety of programming languages with which you can begin.
I would recommend a language that is largely self-contained and doesn’t require a lot of frameworks to get started. This is where you’ll have the easiest time learning, and you’ll be the least distracted while you build your programs.
You can start with Visual Basic, Java, or, if you have access to a Mac, try out Swift. Each of these languages can perform very complex tasks but retains the simplicity to perform easy tasks as well.
Resources for Learning to Program
Resources for learning to program are everywhere online. When I say everywhere I mean that they are all over the internet.
For Visual Basic, you could try following Microsoft’s tutorial. The tutorial is conveniently located on their website that also contains all the documentation you would need if you run into any problems trying to use the various functions within your code.
If you’re more interested in Swift, I found a website, CodeWithChris.com, that covers the basics of programming well with a variety of YouTube videos.
Remember! The concepts you learn on any of the above methods will transfer over to another if you decide you want to change directions. Programming knowledge is a cumulative process, and the more you learn in one area, the easier time you will have expanding to other areas.
Originally published at https://patrickfluke.com on February 9, 2020.