Beginner’s Monday: Mash up!

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Hey lovelies!

Monday again huh? Well, let the beginners rejoice because…well, it’s Beginner’s Monday πŸ˜€

The last two articles we wrote about something we consider very important for every aspiring developer to understand even before writing their first line of code. It may be a concept difficult to grasp at first, but with time you get to appreciate it. I knew about Version Control when I was beginning to take programming seriously and I had a little bit of a hard time understanding it’s use. Now, I don’t see how I can survive without my GitHub repositories πŸ˜€ In case you don’t know what Version Control is and why you need it, you can read about it here and here. Plus, the articles come with tutorials. Just so you don’t see, but also do :)

Today, we switch up to something different. To our avid readers who have been following the series, I can almost hear you asking ‘But what about git?’

Here’s my answer: Self-learning is a tool and skill we highly encourage in every developer. I can almost bet a developer is the most active googler in comparison to other professions πŸ˜€ I stand corrected though. The two articles were a solid foundation on Why you need Version Control and How to use Git. That was to jumpstart you so that you don’t wallow in confusion for too long. From there, you are good to go on your own. Either way, feel free to drop us a question :)

Today, we delve into programming! Finally, we can start writing LOC (Lines of Code) to push to GitHub. But wait, where do we start? There are many programming languages out there than my Grandmother’s cats so how do I pick one, and what informs that choice? This is a question many new beginners struggle with when starting out. Here are my two cents on this. If you are starting out as a programmer with interest in web applications, you can choose to start with HTML and CSS. When you are done mastering those, you will quickly learn that these two are not actually considered as programming languages by programmers. But they are very essential skills to know. You will need them to design your UI (User Interface), and UI is the selling point of any application.

From there I have no criteria for what language you should start with. My first ever function that I wrote was one that added two numbers and I wrote it in C. C helped me understand programming concepts and principles. After that I moved to Java and now JavaScript. The principles are similar across the languages so whichever language you choose, the basic idea is to grasp programming principles. Yetty started out with PHP :) I know people who started out with Java, Ruby, JavaScript and even Pascal. So, what I am passing across is, once you get the principles, you can switch to whichever language and you can now start forming opinions and ideas over which is the better programming language :)

With that said, let’s get to begin learning our programming language. I am obviously not going to do a tutorial for every language out there, but I will give links to awesome sites that will kick-start your self learning.

Codecademy.

I started out with this when I was learning JavaScript. It provides step by step instructions and provides a console too where you can see the output of your work. It contains a vast array of languages to learn plus it also has projects that will help you sharpen your knowledge. The courses are free but some projects are pro, meaning you have to pay.

Treehouse.

Treehouse teaches through projects. E.g if you want to learn web programming then you are provided with a website to build. Through the process you get to learn the language plus also have an awesome project :) After the first stage of a project, a learner is required to pay some amount to proceed.

Andela Homestudy.

Andela Homestudy does not only provide coding material but also an introduction to what Computer Science is. Basically it aims at helping a learner understand programming principles and also Computer Science best practices. Currently the language available is Python.

Khan Academy.

Khan Academy provides HTML/CSS and JavaScript material for those interested in Web Development. The material is broken down into small doable tasks that will give you the accomplishment feel when you are done with one :)

The above are just a few of the many sites that exist online to help you master your craft. Aside from these, there are books too, for those who love to read. There are also video tutorials everywhere plus Google is your friend. My point is that, with the internet, you can learn whatever you want to learn. (Side note: I have a couple of JavaScript books, you can drop us an email or a tweet :))

But before we begin learning the programming language of our choice, let me introduce you to a special kind of programming language that I strongly believe every novice programmer should start with. A Visual Programming language called Scratch. Scratch is awesome, fun, entertaining, interactive and a great learning tool. Scratch makes you creative and it very well introduces you to programming principles. Doing a couple of mini projects on Scratch will give you an idea of programming principles.

We shall do a simple tutorial on Scratch in the following post, right now you can go ahead and sign up here. Also, I will leave you with my first ever Scratch project that I did :) Here it is.

See you next time beginners :)

 

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