5 Things to know before learning any programming language

What are the prerequisites to start learning any programming language in 2021. I would say the interest in computers, problem-solving interest, willingness to practice everyday and learning new technologies.

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Let’s start this article with a famous quote:

“Everybody should learn to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.”

– Steve Jobs

So, you are new to coding? Are you intimidated or overwhelmed on the www in search for the best techniques and prerequisites to learn to program? Yes, you will be full of questions about it.

It’s important to ask these questions before you jump into programming!

Learning to code is not so difficult as we think it is, it can be a new skill set to your existing career goal.

While programming terminologies can be intimidating, they’re often easy to learn.

Based on statistical data, in the last 2 years, we have seen substantial growth in the software and application development market, and I believe we are entering a new era of software development, with the evolution of online learning portals like Udemy, Edureka, Guvi etc

Prerequisites before learning any programming language

If you have a career goal in programming or always wanted to learn to code, but you are worried about learning a programming language, follow these tips to help you break into this field.

  1. Learn basic concepts of coding first

    A program is simply a way of telling a computer to carry out a certain task with help of some instructions and predefined rules. With this, you should start your learning journey with the backbone of any programming language that is Variables & Types, Control Structures, Data Structures, Syntax, Tools.

    You will also learn the logic and flow of data in and data out, which refers to input data and output data in the process or program, knowing how data types are stored/accessed/manipulated in the memory e.g. numbers or strings, arrays etc.

  2. A basic understanding of how computers work

    A computer is a device composed of hardware and software components. There are four main equipment functions of a computer system: Input, Processing, Storage and Output.

    In the context of programming, we should learn how the flow of input i.e. data types are processed and stored in the memory temporarily or persistent and then provide an output.

    You should evaluate which are the best data types for our variables, the efficient use of loops and conditional expressions to run a program.

    This will help in running the program and computer Memory & CPU resources efficiently. Learning OS-specific commands like if you are using Linux then try exploring the use of reading/writing files, CURL, file permissions, compilers, installing software & drivers etc.

  3. Maths and binary

    Maths or arithmetic operation involves traditional operations of numbers/decimals: addition, subtractions, multiplication and division. This also includes negative numbers, decimals, and fractions.

    Programming doesn’t require as much math as you might think. But it’s important to understand the concepts of math that give coding its foundations.

    In the binary number system, these two objects are the numbers 0 and 1. These two numbers can represent a variety of things. For example, in computer logic, 0 represents “false” while 1 represents “true”. Example: Every time we divide the number by 2, the reminder has to be either 0 or 1. The reverse of the reminders will be the binary number converted from the decimal number.

  4. Try writing code on paper

    When you start learning to code, you will start to write simple programs that perform simple tasks like arithmetic operations program or file I/O programs, this will help build confidence and experience in writing code.

    You should start by writing the program in the form of a pseudo-code or with some programming language on paper. This helps you evaluate your code and you can grasp the program flow better.

  5. Start with a popular language if possible, based on your goals

    When it comes to choosing a first programming language, there’s no shortage of options in the market, you can easily search for “top 10 programming languages in 2021“.

    So, if you’re looking to start a career in Frontend technology then Javascript/Typescript is the perfect language to launch your career. And if you want a career in backend technology PHP & Python undoubtedly tops the list. But in today’s age, you need to have a Fullstack profile that is widely accepted, this includes Frontend & Backend Technologies both.

    In 2021, Python, PHP, C/C++, JavaScript are voted among the top programming languages to learn.

Conclusion

I cannot emphasize more, the importance of programming fundamentals before you start coding. Practising your coding skills and not just reading them, is also important. If you create a habit and stick to it, you will see daily improvements.

The best way to test your skills is by either building your own projects like – calculator, todo app, CRUD form etc or by contributing to some Open Source projects, like on GitHub.

Beyond these, there are no other major prerequisites for learning to code.

I wish you all the best of luck in your programming endeavours and hope to see a great coder!

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