Pro­gram­ming can be a bit to byte off

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - News - WITH CHRIS FEBVRE, NEM CREATIVE DE­SIGNER cfeb­vre@ne­me­dia.com.au

LEARN­ING a pro­gram­ming lan­guage is fast be­com­ing a very valu­able skill in modern times.

Most work­places th­ese days use at least one form of ‘built for pur­pose’ ap­pli­ca­tion to man­age their work­flows.

The abil­ity to cre­ate or edit such a pro­gram can make you an in­valu­able as­set to a com­pany, or make you a fierce com­peti­tor if you run a small busi­ness of your own.

While I per­son­ally be­lieve that those who ad­vo­cate for teach­ing ev­ery child in our schools to code are over­es­ti­mat­ing the amount of jobs avail­able in pro­gram­ming (af­ter all, the pur­pose of cod­ing is com­monly to build some form of ap­pli­ca­tion that is ac­ces­si­ble to large groups who don’t know how to code, or for whom it would be an in­ef­fi­cient use of their time), it cer­tainly won’t hurt peo­ple to look into it if they are in­ter­ested, and if they see a per­sonal need.

But the ques­tion faced by most peo­ple when they are look­ing into the sub­ject is ‘Where do I even be­gin?’

Start by ask­ing your­self why you want to learn a pro­gram­ming lan­guage.

Where you be­gin will largely de­pend on the pur­pose for which you in­tend to learn cod­ing, and how much time you have to de­vote to learn­ing.

If you want to be­come a pro­fes­sional pro­gram­mer, a univer­sity course is likely your best bet.

If you want to build apps or games in your spare time, there is a wealth of free re­sources on­line - from cour­ses, to soft­ware de­vel­op­ment kits, to open-source code mod­ules.

The web­site ‘Bloc’ has a great com­par­i­son tool for help­ing you de­cide which on­line course you could po­ten­tially take, based on your need. Which lan­guage do you learn? Com­pet­i­tive­ness and prej­u­dice aside, there is no ‘best’ lan­guage to learn.

Some lan­guages are more ‘be­gin­ner friendly’, but again, the lan­guage you learn will largely de­pend on the rea­son you want to learn.

For ex­am­ple, If you want to build an app specif­i­cally for IOS, then learn­ing Swift (Ap­ple’s own lan­guage) would be rec­om­mended.

And just like ‘nor­mal’ lan­guages, once you’ve learned one ad­di­tional lan­guage, learn­ing more be­comes much eas­ier, so don’t fret too much. Start with the ba­sics I know you have this great idea for an app.

It merges Face­book and Twit­ter and Youtube and In­sta­gram and SnapChat.

It wakes you up in the morn­ing and makes you cof­fee too.

It’s also a fan­tasy un­til you learn from the be­gin­ning. Re­peat af­ter me: ‘Hello, World.’ Pa­tience isn’t a virtue, it’s a ne­ces­sity.

When most peo­ple start look­ing into pro­gram­ming, they are put off by the per­ceived la­bo­ri­ous­ness and monotony for less than spec­tac­u­lar re­sults.

But if you are de­ter­mined, you will get there, and it re­ally won’t take that long for you to reach a point where it all starts click­ing and mak­ing sense. That’s when it starts get­ting fun. Happy crunch­ing.

RE­SPECT THE SYNTAX: In­ter­ested in pro­gram­ming? There are some great re­sources on­line to get you started. ◆

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