Interested in Programming? Here’s how to get started.

I have been programming for approximately four years now. Throughout those four years, I’ve taught myself a few different technologies using various websites and a massive amount of googling. My goal with this article is to share those websites with you, explain what they can do for you and share some of my knowledge about programming techniques.


The Basics

To get that “Aha!” moment from anyone interested in programming, there has to be some sort of response to the code they write. Most people who do not program are under the impression that programming means you are developing a Graphical User Interface, aka GUI (pronounced Goo-e). With a GUI, the user moves a mouse to click things rather than type commands, which uses a Command Line Interface, aka CLI (pronounced C-L-I).

What I am interested in here is giving you that “Aha!” moment. This is why I recommend first learning how to write code for the web! Web development arguably has the easiest programming languages to learn and they are used to create a GUI, thus it is a great place to get started. You can find many websites that will teach you how to program for the web, but I believe there is none better than dash.generalassemb.ly.

Dash by General Assembly is a fantastic website about making websites. This interactive guide teaches you how to program Hyper Text Markup Language, aka HTML (pronounced H-T-M-L), Cascading Style Sheets, aka CSS (pronounced C-S-S), and JavaScript in a fun and interactive way. HTML allows you to define the layout where text, pictures, or videos go on your website. CSS is a style programming language that allows you define the style of a website. For instance, CSS can be used to change the color of font, the size of the font and the font type. Then, for the interactive element, JavaScript is a programming language which allows actions to happen. JavaScript can cause a popup to occur when you click a button. This is a brief overview, but if you want more information please check out Dash!

A Simple Yet Powerful Programming Language

If you have ever been exposed to anyone who programs, odds are you’ve heard about a programming language called Python. Python is an incredibly powerful language known for its large community base, ease of use, and human-readability.

Below, I have provided some sample code written in Python. Can you figure out what it does? Take a second, and really try to understand it before moving on.

A small sample of Python code.

If you can understand the code, you’re ahead of the curve! If not, I’m sure with a little practice you’ll be able to read that as plain as English. According to ComputerWorld there are 18.2 million programmers, and the world population is roughly 7.4 billion. This means approximately 0.25% of people know how to code, and now you are one of them. Pretty cool, huh?

Of course, if you really want to learn how to program with Python, you should checkout codecademy.com. Throughout the Python course they teach you the general concepts of programming and concepts specific to Python.

Codecademy offers a great number of courses besides Python, such as JavaScript, AngularJS, React, Ruby and so much more. I highly recommend signing up for an account. It is free, and you can track your progress in all your courses as you grow.


I hope you have enjoyed this article so far, and most importantly have found it useful! I will continue to update this over time, adding more resources and giving tips on learning how to code. If you have any feedback please share it with me! I’m always open to criticism :)

~Austin Ward

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