Computer programming is the process that professionals use to write codes that instructs how a computer, application or software program performs. At its most basic, computer programming is a set of instructions to facilitate specific actions. Computer programmers create instructions for a computer to execute by writing and testing code that enables applications and software programs to operate successfully.
Computer programming is also a way of giving computers instructions about what they should do next. These instructions are known as code, and computer programmers write code to solve problems or perform a task.
The end goal is to create something: that could mean anything from a web page, or a piece of software, or even just a pretty picture. That’s why computer programming is often described as a mix between art and science; it’s technical and analytical, yet creative at the same time.
When I first started looking for courses to teach myself how to code, I realized just how much I didn’t know. My brothers work as programmers, so I’d seen the lines and lines of symbols and letters they wrote, but I had no idea what they all meant. I didn’t even know how what I saw on my screen when I was carrying out simple tasks such as shopping online or browsing social media related to these mystical languages.
I researched the subject thoroughly, but most of the articles I read were full of technical jargon that I didn’t understand. In what is a pretty common problem in the B2B tech world, I couldn’t find anything that explained it clearly and simply.
The definition above is my attempt—as a journalist first and techie second—at explaining exactly what it is, as simply as possible.
Becoming a programmer
Becoming a programmer is a cumulative process that builds up your skills day after day and year after year, and programming can be fun and rewarding (mentally, spiritually and financially). This guide does not promise to give a magically easy way to becoming a programmer, and the ordering of the steps is not sacred, but you’ll get a general outline of how to become a programmer in one of the modern programming fields.To actualize your dream you have to do the following
Take an introductory course in one (or all of them) of the following disciplines:
- Discrete mathematics
- Programming language (take a part into the different programming paradigms, starting from sequential/procedural to object oriented, after functional and logical programming. Preferable Ruby/ Python/Pascal for beginners and after some good understanding go deeper into C++/C#/Java )
Learn database concepts such as tables, views/queries and procedures. You can use any simple database package to do this, such as:
- MS Access
- DB V
- Fox Pro
- MySQL is a good database to learn because it’s free, commonly used, and databases are commonly accessed with SQL queries
Decide what type of programmer you want to be. Programmers generally fall under one of the following categories:
- Web Programmer
- Desktop application programmer
- Operating System (OS) oriented programmer(tied to a single operating system or set of operating systems)
- Platform-independent programmer
- Distributed applications programmer
- Library/platform/framework/core programmer
- System programmer
- Kernel programmer
- Driver programmer
- Compiler programmer
Know the strategies in Web programming. Web applications are software components designed to work on top of the internet architecture. This means that the applications are accessed through a web browser software such as Firefox or Internet Explorer. Being built on top of the Internet architecture does not necessarily require an active connection to the internet. It means that Web applications are built on top of standard web technologies such as:
- IP protocols
Take a course on graphics design. Try to learn at least one graphics editing/manipulation software package (optional, but strongly recommended)
Learn the basics of the internet appreciation. This includes getting a basic idea about:
- Base Web services protocols (HTTP, FTP, SMTP, and POP3 or IMAP4)
- Web server software (preferably, one for the platform you will be working on mostly)
- Web browsing software.
- Email server and client software
Learn at least one server-side programming language. If you choose to restrict yourself to one server software, learn one of the programming languages supported by that software. If not, learn at least one programming language on each server software.
ake a more advanced course in your chosen programming language. Make sure you understand the following concepts well and that you can apply them with relative ease before going forward:
- Inputting and outputting information to users of a program.
- The logical flow and the execution flow of programs in procedural languages.
- Declaring, assigning and comparing variables.
- Branching programming constructs such as if..then..else and select/switch..case.
- Looping constructs such as while..do, do..while/until, for..next.
- Your programming language syntax for creating and calling procedures and functions.
- Data types and manipulating them.
- User defined data types (records/structs/units) and their use.
- If your language supports overloading functions, understand it.
- The memory accessing methods of your language of choice (pointers) peeking, etc.)
- If your language supports operators over loading, understand it.
- If your language supports delegates/function pointers, understand it.
If you follow the above steps you can be sure of becoming a successful programmer.
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