Fastest way to learn programming (2022)
Today you will get to know what is the efficient way to learn programming. You will get to know what it takes to learn programming, what are the needed skills and how long can it take you to grasp the basics of the software development.
Before we start it is worth noting, that if you are just starting out, it may be a bit challenging to get into software engineering and the amount of time you have to put in depends on your end goal, dedication and talent.
If you are motivated to start learning programming, it is good to know some tips on how to learn it the fastest.
1. How long can it take to learn programming from zero?
The amount of days it will take to learn programming is dependent on few factors. Everybody is different and learns at different pace.
Short answer is that it can take between 3 to 6 months to see the effects of your work.
The amount of actual time you will put into it
The more time you can dedicate to learning new skill each day will lessen the amount of days it will take you to accomplish your goal.
Your ability to focus for a longer period of time.
Software development is a task that requires you to sit at the computer for extended periods of time. It is especially visible in the early days of your programming.
There is a lot of things you have to understand and unavoidably a lot of things do not work as you might thing it would. So brace yourself to spend a lot of time in front of the screen if you want to get good at programming.
Your familiarity with computers.
This one is important, but also it is a minor one, since I know most people who read this are already familiar with how computers work. You need to know how to install software and be familiar with folders and file structures. I won’t be getting in depth here, you just need to be comfortable with computers in general.
Software development is a skill that requires ability to think analytically and to be able to follow logic in what you are writing. It is more of a talent than a skill, but it can be improved no matter where you are in your journey with learning of analytical thinking.
2. Choosing programming language.
Chances are that you already chose programming language you want to learn. If you are here to grasp the basics of software development, then language that you choose doesn’t matter as much. If you want to develop your skills to start working as a software developer in the future, then the choice of language will be mostly determined by what programming languages are used in the branch that you intend to pursue career in.
In the end, for understanding concepts of writing software, the language choice doesn’t matter much, it is your personal preference, but if you want to start learning in certain direction, then it does matter what programming language you choose.
3. Understanding basics.
It is important to know basic concepts of software development. You should read about functions, variables and objects at the very least to start.
4. Finding a project that you want to work on.
This one is a little bit different advice than you will find in other places. Usually it is recommended to write simple programs that are executed in command line. From my point of view it is an extremely boring approach.
You will find more motivation to work on something that excites you more, that is more visual, where you see the progress faster. Thats why it is best to find a project, that you want to finish, it shouldn’t be too complex or you will get discouraged from continuing your software development journey.
For me and many other people first program that was an inspiration to start programming was making games. Games are something that is fun, has a lots of moving parts and is visually pleasing. It is inspiring to see your program make things move on the scree. The downside of starting with games is that they have a steep learning curve and oftentimes require you to install additional software, like a game engine.
Another project that might be a motivator to you is a simple web application. It doesn’t need much tools to start and is something that is easier to start than games. You will also understand how a web works a bit more, which is already a first step in becoming a web frontend developer.
Ultimately choice is yours and it is better to choose something hard, that will motivate you, than something easy and boring that will make you lose your inspiration. You know yourself and what makes you inspired to put the work.
5. Install tools necessary to learn software development
After you know direction in which you want to go with in your journey, it is time to pick right tools to get the job done. Tools will vary depending on the niche of your project, but I will list out the ones that are needed as a bare minimum.
Self explanatory, to develop software you need a computer, it doesn’t have to be the latest and greatest, any computer will suffice to start learning programming.
You need it to do research, to look for answers, to read documentation. If you decided to work on a web app, browser will be also needed to test and debug your code.
To write programs, it is necessary to have a tool to do so. Computer programs are made using text editors. It can be done using any text editor, but it is not the most efficient way, that’s why smart people came up with code editing software. It is suited to editing code, highlights parts of code using colors, autofills commands and has many other features, depending on which one you choose to use.
Some of the most used code editing software (of course there is more of them, research and choose the one suiting you the most):
- Visual Studio Code
- Sublime Text
5. Start working on your project.
Now, it may seem like being put into the ocean before in order to teach you swimming, but it is not so. You are in front of your computer, in a comfortable place, and not drowning and fighting for your life. You are here, cause you have time to figure things out.
You know what you want your program to do, you know what variables are and functions. Now you want to use this knowledge and your search skills to build your software.
Let me show you example questions to Google when starting to work on a web app:
When searching those terms you will see that there is a lot of resources online. Most popular ones are for sure [w3schools.com] and [stackoverflow.com].
The idea is that you want to divide your project into small steps and learn necessary things to accomplish each of these steps. You will learn much faster than following tutorials on the things that do not even interest you.
6. Do not get discouraged.
At the beginning progress is very slow. Most of the time is spent of reading how to achieve the simplest of things and it may seem like goal of learning programming in a finite time is impossible to reach. This can’t be further from truth though. By following steps needed to create the project you enjoy, you learn the most important and useful skills of a software developer. After finishing your project, the next one will be much easier. The things you have learned are reusable. All it takes, is to complete once project, with the understanding of what you are doing to get into programming. One project can even be enough to start a job as a software developer or at least get an internship. Do not waste the time of making a project, do not thoughtlessly copy and paste code from internet without understanding. Do things with intent and understanding and you will get to know how to create own software and understand how it is done, even after achieving a goal of starting and finishing one project fully.
You just got to know how to start your journey with programming. It is the way I started and it took me 3 months to create my first computer program. I put in the time and effort into understanding what I am doing and it let me to understand how to make my own projects and most importantly how to quickly learn concepts that I need to finish small steps of different projects.
Do not get discouraged and you will be able to learn programming. Most important thing is to know whether you really want to learn programming and whether your reasons behind it are good.