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How Do I Get Started in Computer Programming?

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  • Written By: Eugene P.
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 25 August 2016
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Getting started in computer programming requires finding and learning the required knowledge as well as acquiring the tools‭ ‬that are necessary to actually create a‭ ‬program.‭ ‬A computer programmer must know how the operating system and the hardware of a computer function.‭ Some knowledge of computer theory is needed to understand the complexities of programming,‭ ‬as well as a good understanding of basic mathematical concepts.‭ ‬The tools needed for computer programming are an adequate computer,‭ ‬a compiler and most likely an integrated development environment‭ (‬IDE‭)‬.‭ ‬Finally,‭ ‬books,‭ ‬tutorials and patience complete all of the elements required to get started in computer programming.

One of the most important tools to learn to use before all else‭ ‬is‭ ‬the computer and‭ ‬the‭ ‬operating system that will be‭ ‬for programming.‭ ‬Programming requires knowledge of how‭ ‬the file system works,‭ ‬how the hard drive works ‬and at least a basic knowledge of how the internal electronics operate.‭ ‬Compilers and other tools will use low-level parts of a system that are not normally accessed by standard users.‭ ‬Knowing the operating system‭ ‬and the computer is vital.

Computer programming tools are much more demanding on a computer than most other applications.‭ ‬All allowable system resources can eventually be consumed by‭ ‬the suite of development tools.‭ ‬For this reason,‭ ‬it is important to have a computer that will be able to simultaneously run an IDE,‭ ‬a compiler,‭ ‬a debugger and possibly the program being written.

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When starting to learn computer programming,‭ ‬the first decision is which language to learn.‭ ‬There are many‭ ‬programming languages.‭ ‬Although some are industry mainstays,‭ ‬others are used only for specific purposes.‭ ‬Numerous people‭ ‬begin‭ ‬learning‭ ‬with an object-oriented interpreted language.‭ ‬These languages allow a new programmer to focus‭ ‬exclusively on the logical and structural aspects of programming without worrying about details such as memory allocation or input and output.

After coding has started,‭ ‬it is important to focus on learning the basics of data structures and algorithms.‭ ‬Data structures are the heart of a program.‭ ‬They are responsible for storing data,‭ ‬collating data and maintaining a relevant connection to the user and other processes.‭ ‬Algorithms are vital because they are the sequence of operations‭ ‬that allows a program to manipulate the data effectively.‭ ‬Without‭ ‬knowledge‭ ‬in these areas,‭ ‬the programs created will remain‭ ‬nothing but‭ ‬trivial exercises.

One of the best courses for getting started in computer programming is to attend computer science and programming classes.‭ ‬These classes not only provide a comprehensive overview of all needed information,‭ ‬they also can allow access to programming resources‭ ‬that might be hard to acquire otherwise.‭ ‬If a career in computer programming is the ultimate goal of learning,‭ ‬then there are a host of certifications‭ ‬that can be gained through testing that will act as evidence of proficiency in whatever field of programming is ultimately chosen.

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