Learning to program is a goal that many people set themselves and that not all reach. It must be clear that learning programming is not a one-day or a week’s task: learning programming requires at least several months and if we talk about programming at a professional level, several years. We do not want to discourage anyone: in a few days we can be doing our first programs and see the first results, but learning to program is much more than that. We are going to try to present our vision in a suitable way to face the learning of programming.
In the first place, we will say that “learning to program” is a fairly undefined expression. There are hundreds of programming languages and variants, versions, modifications, etc. as well as different approaches regarding the objectives (web programming, management applications, database applications, etc.). Therefore “learning to program” is quite ambiguous: it is like saying “I want to learn to paint”. It would allow us to better focus on defining a more specific goal: “I want to learn to draw manga-style comics.”
The problem for the uninitiated is many times that programming is a very changing field, where there is a continuous proliferation of versions and fights between commercial houses that make languages change very quickly and nobody knows very well what is the most convenient to learn.
Faced with this situation, and for all those who want to start programming, knowing or not which language they are going to orient themselves towards, our proposal is that they use aprenderaprogramar.com as a reference site through which they can take the first steps in programming. Once the fundamentals are acquired and the foundations laid, it will be easier to search for information and choose between the different platforms and existing languages.
We are going to reflect on what we consider to be adequate options and unsuitable options for people who want to learn to program without having prior knowledge, or with very limited prior knowledge.
a) Learn with a book or with notes in a self-taught way:
It is not a bad option for people who want to learn by themselves, as long as a good book is found and there is a will, logical-mathematical basis, and determination to study on their own during an extended period of time. In any case, the book must deal with the fundamentals of programming, with the application (to see the practical side) to some language. If you are interested in this way, we recommend you visit the “Books” section of aprenderaprogramar.com and see the books available on programming fundamentals.
b) Take a course on programming fundamentals:
We consider that it is not a bad option for people who want to study in a guided way. There is a wide range of courses taught face-to-face (by universities, academies, specialized training centers, etc.), semi-face-to-face, or online (through the internet). It is important to make a good selection of the course: that it has good content and didactic material. An “any” course downloaded over the internet does not guarantee us good content or good didactics, on the contrary, it can be a waste of time. The most suitable type, of course, depends on each one of us, and especially the time we have available. If we have time, the face-to-face option may be the most appropriate, since it will allow us to be in contact with other students and to be able to solve common problems, make direct inquiries to teachers, etc. If our time is limited, a semi-classroom or online course may be the most convenient. If you are interested in this route, we recommend you visit the “Courses” section of aprenderaprogramar.com.
c)Carry out official studies in the area of computing – programming:
It is perhaps the best way for those who want to dedicate themselves professionally to computing. This normally requires a full-time dedication of several years, so it is an option that many people who want to approach programming more freely or who already have other jobs discard.
d) Start programming directly
With a language or environment (Java, Visual Basic, C, .NET, J2EE, SQL, etc.) using books, courses, specialized web pages, language help, etc .: we consider it to be a bad option. Before starting to program in a language, we must have programming fundamentals that will serve us for all languages, just as to build a house we must first have foundations that allow us to continue the construction in a solid way. Starting to program directly in a language without having programming fundamentals, we consider that it will take more time and not obtain as good results as if you started with programming fundamentals.
e ) Learn to program by relying on a trusted website:
Some websites have good free or paid content for learning to code. This is the case of aprenderaprogramar.com, which aims to become a trusted page for all those who want to learn to program. If you choose this website as a way to learn to program and start from scratch or with very basic knowledge, we suggest that you learn to use this website to get the most out of it. You will have a magnificent tool at your disposal and a guided learning process. To make the most of what we offer you, it is worth taking a few minutes to learn how it works and how aprenderaprogramar.com is organized. This website is governed by organizational and didactic guidelines, an editorial operation, and coding whose knowledge will allow you to go faster in your learning. If you are interested, we recommend that you read the articles in our section “How to start / How to use aprenderaprogramar.com” to start. In case of doubts, ask your questions in the forums (aprenderaprogramar.com/foros) where members of the portal or other users will help you to make learning programming more bearable.
f) Other ways:
Learn with a friend, family member, etc. It is not a bad option, as long as that person has a good level of knowledge, teaching capacity, and enough time to dedicate themselves.