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How To Start Your Adventure With Programming

Do you want to learn programming? However, do you associate it with movie scenes in which hackers furiously tap their fingers on a keyboard? Unfortunately, these types of scenes complicate the idea of programming for people who have never done it before. Please know that programming is not reserved for only a small group of computer geeks. You too can start coding, even if you don’t have any IT experience. Here's how to take the first step.

Movies aren't real life. Most of us don’t partake in car chases or jumping on trains to escape from mutants. This also includes "movie coding." In fact, such overwhelmingly complicated scenes only represent a small percentage of programming applications.

Usually, we use programming to solve everyday problems. Communicating with and retrieving data from a database, automation of sending emails, and finding the best route to your destination are some examples of programming applications.

There are various reasons why people hesitate to learn programming. Some of the common ones are the large number of programming languages, not knowing where to start, and the potentially complicated appearance of code.

What’s preventing you from taking the first step into your learning journey? Have you thought that you maybe shouldn't learn programming? In my experience, it just takes a good start to overcome these obstacles.

After you learn the basics, you will discover that programming is not what it looks like from the outside. You will soon be writing simple code. And accomplishing small tasks with programming will further motivate you.

You might even find it fun!

Why Programming?

Programming is about automating tasks. We tell a computer how to complete a given task in clear and concise steps. If we do our job well, the computer will complete the task accurately and extraordinarily quickly. The computer might be a chip in our mobile phone, a server on the cloud, or a CPU in our laptop.

How to start programming

There are several advantages of automating tasks with programming. For instance, computers can complete tasks way more quickly than humans. And computation power has experienced a tremendous increase due to recent advancements in technology.

Also, once you have a well-designed and implemented code, the chance of an error or failing a task is almost zero. On the other hand, people are prone to making mistakes on repetitive tasks.

Programming is not just about building complex software tools. Many businesses from a variety of industries use programming to a certain extent. For instance, software tools and packages are heavily involved in data science applications.

We typically have enormous amounts of data that can be used to solve problems or create a data science application. It is impossible to maintain and analyze such data without software tools. Thus, data scientists are expected to have programming skills to a certain level.

Also, if you plan to develop a product in your domain of expertise that involves automating a task, you will need to use programming. Thus, it is a valuable skill whatever your profession is.

The Best Programming Language for Newcomers

What might seem complicated is the coding part. Code is the language we use to communicate with a computer. We cannot give directions in plain English.

Instead, we need to use a special syntax to tell a computer what to do. Each programming language has its own syntax. The programming language takes the directions from us and makes the computer execute them.

There is a rich selection of programming languages, including Python, R, and Java. Although some concepts are shared among many programming languages, each has unique properties as well. The performance, syntax, and range of applications are the typical differences between programming languages.

The programming languages with easy, intuitive syntax are the predominant choice for novice programmers. Python is one of them. It was created by Guido van Rossum in 1991 with the following goals in mind:

  • An easy, intuitive language that’s just as powerful as major competitors
  • Open source so that anyone can contribute to its development
  • Code that is as understandable as plain English
  • Suitability for everyday tasks, allowing for short development times

These goals clearly demonstrate what kind of programming language Python is. Its target audience is novice programmers. Whatever your profession is, Python offers a path to learning programming with minimal obstacles.

It is safe to say that Guido van Rossum has been successful at reaching his goals. A substantial portion of Python users do not have an extensive background in programming or software development.

The main reason people choose Python is the easy-to-learn structure. However, there are also other reasons why you should learn Python in 2021.

Python is so easy to code and read that, in some cases, it will be like reading a script written in plain English. Consider the following code block as an example.

names = ["John", "Jane"]
scores = {"John": 90, "Marry": 85, "Jane": 95}

for name in names:
  print(name, scores[name])

John 90
Jane 95

We have a list of names and a dictionary that stores the score for each name in the dictionary. The next two lines constitute a for loop. For each name in the names list, it writes the name and associated score taken from the scores dictionary. Pretty clear, isn’t it?

It is important that code is easy to read because we do not always write every piece of code by ourselves. We often use code written by other developers.

To implement other people’s code in our scripts, we need to have a clear understanding of what it does. Thus, readability is a key factor when selecting a language.

How To Learn Python

It is relatively easy to choose a programming language for beginners. The decision is almost always Python. In addition to being an easy and intuitive language, Python has numerous useful and efficient third-party libraries.

The third-party libraries play a key role in making Python the go-to language in the data science ecosystem. If you plan to work in this field, Python will be your best friend. Pandas, NumPy, Scikit-learn, Seaborn, and TensorFlow are some of the Python libraries used in data science.

Once you decide to learn Python, the next question is where to start your adventure.

Python is a general-purpose language with a wide range of functionalities. And there are a ton of resources available for learning Python. Because there are so many options, I recommend following a well-structured path. Otherwise, you will end up spending your time unproductively.

So, how do you choose among the many online resources? One option is to take MOOC courses from platforms such as Udemy and Coursera. There are also YouTube videos and blogs about Python.

Another resource is LearnPython.com, which offers several interactive Python courses. The interactive courses provide an online console that can be used to test everything you learn. Implementing your solutions as you learn will help you improve your analytical skills and think like a programmer.

Practice is essential for obtaining a comprehensive understanding of Python concepts. Thus, learning from interactive courses is far more efficient than watching video presentations.

How to start programming

Lectures have the potential to clearly explain terms and concepts. However, when it comes to programming, understanding terms and concepts is not enough.

Being able to write code to solve tasks requires a different kind of skill. The best way to improve that skill is through practice. You can get lots of practice in the interactive courses on LearnPython.com.

If you do not have prior programming experience, it is best to start with the basics. The Learn Programming with Python track is a great choice for starting your adventure with learning Python. It covers the basics then gradually increases in complexity to provide a seamless learning path.

You will learn the fundamentals of programming and the building blocks of a computer program. Then, you will see how a program makes decisions with if statements, for loops, and while loops.

The Learn Programming with Python track also covers how to read and save information from files. This is an essential task in programming because computer programs usually receive data from outside files and resources.

The track finishes with one of the most important parts of learning Python: data structures. You will learn about lists, dictionaries, sets, and tuples as well as how to manipulate and interact with them.

Dedication and Consistency Are Key

Throughout this article, I have mentioned that programming is not something to be afraid of. In fact, anyone with a dedicated mind can achieve the skills required to be a successful programmer. However, it is not something you can accomplish in a day or two.

Similar to many other skills, it takes time and effort to learn programming. Consistency and dedication are of crucial importance.

Avoid taking long breaks in your learning process. You do not have to work long hours, but aim to study or practice every day, even if it is just for 30 minutes.

Also, practicing frequently is one of the key ingredients to learn programming. Interactive courses on LearnPython.com give you the opportunity to practice while learning new concepts. Thus, they expedite your adventure and help you reach your goals.

The First Step Is Important

The first step is about learning the basics and getting familiar with the idea of programming. I can assure you that once you obtain a comprehensive understanding of the basics, the rest becomes relatively easier.

Put aside the rumors about programming, and start your journey. The more you postpone, the harder it will be to start.

The steepness of your learning curve will increase dramatically after you get into the field. Thus, your first step will affect the rest of your learning journey. The Python Basics track serves as a great first step for learning Python.

Here's what you need to do to start learning:

  • Go to com, and create a free account
  • Choose the appropriate course (for starters, I recommend the Python Basics track)
  • Start the course, and complete the interactive exercises

You don't need to install or set anything up. All you need is a web browser and motivation to achieve your goal!

Final Thoughts

Programming can help you with your daily tasks, take over some of your responsibilities, and make your work easier and more efficient. Do you not believe me? Read this article.

Although programming is a highly valuable skill, many people hesitate to learn it. The first and foremost reason why people avoid this profession is the idea that programming is only for “superhumans” and math geniuses. However, this is not so.

It might seem like magic from the outside. But once you take the first step, how you view programming will change. It is not a difficult skill to obtain, but it does take dedication and consistency.

Although there are several programming languages to choose from, Python is usually the number one choice for newcomers. Its simplicity and clean, readable syntax are the main reasons. Do you want more? Check out 5 Reasons to Learn Python in 2021.

I recommend finding a well-structured resource for learning Python. LearnPython.com offers tracks that will expedite the learning process and make you feel comfortable with programming.

Give it a try! Start with a free trial, and see for yourself that you can become a programmer too!

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