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How do I Learn Open Source Programming?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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Many people who are interested in a career in programming or application development start by learning open source programming. Open source programs are software applications that are available free of charge. In addition to providing access to the actual software, all the programming source code is also available. This allows programmers and developers to refine the existing code, building new functions or enhancing existing features.

The first item to consider when deciding to learn open source programming is what type of applications you want to work on. There are a range of programming languages used in open source software, and the products available range from full enterprise resources planning systems to animation editing software. Decide where your interests lie and what type of applications are going to be required in the future.

It is important to note that all open source programming is fully developed, mature programming languages. These tools are complex, multi-faceted, and designed for use in a wide range of applications. Take the time to review the options before investing the time and effort to learn open source programming. All languages have a specific time commitment required to achieve a specific level of expertise.

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The second item to consider when planning to learn open source programming is your current skill level as a programmer. If you have never programmed anything before, then take the time to select a programming language that is widely used and quite mature, such as Java® or JavaScript®. Experienced programmers can dive into newer languages, as they have the background to quickly pick up the new language, as they have a solid foundation in the terminology and logical process.

There are many books and online resources available to help you learn open source programming. Online tutorials are a great place to start. They are all free and provide instant, encouraging feedback as you learn. Books are a good resource, but programming is an interactive activity, much like cooking. The best way to learn is to pick a small project and get started.

A range of private, online schools offer courses and tutorials in open source programming. This method is great for people who learn best in an instructor-led environment. Take the time to investigate the academic credentials of the instructor before paying your course fees. These courses are typically $450 to $600 US Dollars (USD) and require six to eight weeks to complete.

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