There is only one thing to do and you know it: dive in. If you do not have a heavy computer science background, I am afraid learning to code will require you to get out of your comfort zone; but, when has that ever been a bad thing? You might be thinking, middle school. It was a bad thing to leave the comfort of the folding chair or leave the wall to support itself during that first dance. The butterflies, the admiration for another person. Well, scotch the awkward middle school dance situations from your brain! Besides, you are forgetting that “Bust a Move[i],” and “Cherry pie” never sounded sweeter than when you threw caution to the wind and reasoned, “I do not care what anyone thinks, I am going to cut loose, and scuff up these tacky Kenneth Cole shoes.” And, I would hazard a guess that approach worked for a lot of people. If I am wrong, caution me.
So, sure, it can be tough get knocked around and feel overwhelmed; however, after a while those feelings will surely give way to confidence, calm, and familiarity. Your skillset will improve. You will know vastly more than the average person, and hopefully, enough to deem what you learned a marketable skill. But only if you truly put yourself out there. As human beings, much of what we learn in life teaches us that, what you tend to get out of something is strongly related to what you put in—not always, but generally. You will reach a point of enlightenment but only if you find yourself willing to take losses here and there. I had to give myself similarly cheesy pep talks when I signed up for a Database Administration (“SQL”) class last Fall. I was a fish out of water. Today, I know more about SQL, but not nearly enough to stop there. I need to get other programming skills under my belt, too, and I want to share what I wish I studied first.
Python is frequently cited as the best program to learn first. Python is easy to learn; is a great stepping stone to other programming languages syntax-wise;companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google all utilize the program; and, you can get away with using the program exclusively to build websites and applications. The use of white space and common expressions has eliminated the need for tedious variable declarations. Python also requires less code to complete simple tasks, making it an economical language to learn as well. What is more, Python’s code is oftentimes 3-5 times shorter than Java, and 5-10 times shorter than C++!
I did not even mention Raspberry Pi yet. Raspberry Pi is a card-sized, inexpensive microcomputer that is being used for a surprising range of exciting do-it-yourself uses, such as robots, remote-controlled cars, and for video game consoles.
Aside from Python, Ruby on the Rails is frequently cited as the next, user-friendly language to learn. One does not need to learn a massive base of commands or specific vocabulary to start coding in Ruby. The app is remarkably flexible and supports functional and procedural programming. The official website for Ruby offers a 20-minute quick start guide that can help you to get familiar with some of the basics. Ruby shares some similarities to Python and Perl.
In short, these two programs probably offer the best starts to people who wish to begin coding and build a prototype. Other than this, people recommend finding a mentor, reading programing books, or taking one of the many free programing course available online. There is definitely a growing demand for people who know how to effectively use Python. But do not stop here. Looking into PHP, C, SQL, Visual Basic: find out what interests you and go for it! If you want to build a social media site, I think Python and Ruby are the right places to start. Computer Science majors and naysayers, do you think this is false information? Is there something to gain from using something as minimal as Scratch?
[i] There will never be a time when such classics are withheld from a playlist during a dance in this region. Also, Pour some sugar on me! No one can disabuse me, that one is constantly played ‘round these parts, too.