Learning computer programming can seem intimidating. Already the term “computer programming” is impressive!
For a long time, the profession of programmer was considered that of experts or super talented geeks. However, acquiring skills in this area is now within everyone’s reach. Especially since such knowledge offers several opportunities on the job market, whether you are a freelancer or looking for a salaried contract.
Learning computer programming is also useful if you manage a business and want to develop your own digital tools. All you need to access this knowledge is willpower, perseverance… and the right resources. And it all starts with reading this article!
Why learn computer programming?
Programming consists of designing and developing applications or software intended for computer use. This process includes several tasks such as analysis, coding and generation of algorithms. In the end, you get a function that will be executed by a computer.
Why add this string to your bow?
To find a job or assignments
Almost every business needs computer programmers to write, update, modify, and troubleshoot their core tools or applications. It is no coincidence that, in 2021, 88% of companies have recruited tech profiles.
If there is a field in which the offers of missions or jobs abound, it is that of computing and technologies.
To transmit its know-how
Even if you’re not working as a coder, learning computer programming can be helpful. Do you work in a research laboratory? You will be able to participate in the development of applications for your company, as well as for other private and governmental organizations.
Similarly, a psychologist who knows how to code can create a mobile app to help patients monitor their symptoms of depression and anxiety.
To improve business-related skills
For a content manager or a web editor, computer programming helps to master the HTML language, essential for formatting your articles. SEO and SEA specialists may also need this skill to carry out more in-depth website audits, in order to improve the natural referencing of their clients.
To sharpen your analytical mind
Which helps you sharpen your analytical mind, as well as your ability to find logical solutions to your problems. New skills that are very useful for analyzing your current strategies (marketing, financial, commercial, etc.) and improving them continuously.
The different types of programming languages
A programming language is characterized by a set of instructions written to communicate with computers or smartphones. Its role is to allow the execution of a specific task via a computer tool.
Programming languages are found in all the websites, apps and software you use every day. They are varied, each with their own specificities.
Let’s present the most popular languages below:
Python is the first programming language that many beginner coders turn to. The reason is simple: its simplified syntax makes it easy to master.
Python has several support modules and integration with web services. It is used to develop the server side or the backend of an application. You can use it to build deep and machine learning tools.
Java is the second popular programming language after Python. More than 3 billion devices run apps built with this type of code. It can also be found on the back-end of several popular websites, such as Google, Amazon, Twitter, and YouTube.
It is an excellent introduction to programming. It is also one of the most sought-after languages by companies of all sizes.
Rather complex to use, it remains intuitive, flexible and easy to master once you understand the basics.
HTML and CSS
Technically speaking, HTML and CSS are not programming languages. However, if you are interested in web development, these are the first two pieces of code you will need to learn. You can’t build anything on the web without HTML knowledge.
HTML is used to code the content and structure of web pages. The CSS defines the style of the page. Since these 2 languages do not contain the “programming” part, they remain easy to master.
C and C++
C++ is an improved version of the C language. Nowadays, many developers skip learning the latter, while others believe that it provides an essential basis for mastering C++. It is therefore a personal choice, which depends on your time… and your objectives.
Indeed, both languages are used for the development of applications where performance is a critical factor, such as client/server applications, commercial products and video games.
How to learn computer programming?
For a year of training in computer programming, you must spend between 5,000 and 8,000 euros. This type of training is useful if you want to make it your full-time job or position yourself on major projects, such as the development of video games, for example.
If you’re more interested in mastering the basics, sharpening your analytical mind, or adding a string to your digital freelancing bow, there are free ways to learn to code.
Choose your programming language
We have just presented the different programming languages and their specificities. It’s up to you to choose the one that suits your needs.
For example, as a beginner, Python is easy to learn. However, if you want to improve your website yourself, you will absolutely have to master HTML and CSS.
Take online courses
There are thousands of online courses that cover all aspects of programming: from basic HTML to data structures to complex algorithms.
Make sure your first lesson presents the basics of a language, contains interactive modules, as well as exercises, to guide your learning. It must also be well organized to allow you to assimilate the knowledge in the right order.
We offer a list of sites to learn to code, a little further down in this article.
Watch Video Tutorials
While online courses are great for gaining hands-on experience, online videos can complement your learning and satisfy your curiosity.
Their advantage? They help you progress step by step: from installing an IDE to analyzing source code, and defining the basic concepts of existing languages.
Focus on terms common to all languages:
- Data Types
- Tables or lists
- If statements
- Classes and Objects
- Exception handling
Build a project
An effective technique for learning computer programming is to start a project. Even if it remains private. The goal is to practice.
If you like video games, try coding a little game similar to Tetris, Pong, or Tic Tac Toe. You can also create a website presenting your portfolio or talking about one of your passions (without going through a CMS, of course!).
5 sites to learn to code for free
To help you learn computer programming for free, here are 5 sites offering free courses.
freeCodeCamp is a non-profit organization that provides beneficial content and resources for programmers and developers. It provides articles, guides, and materials for beginners to practice and master coding skills.
It has a platform to learn to code, with a set of tasks to complete to take the next step. You can choose the programming language of your choice and work until you get the results you want.
You receive instant, practical feedback to correct your mistakes and quickly improve your skills.
You also have exercises and lessons that other developers or users can participate in to improve their learning speed.
4. Khan Academy
Our tipWith over 45 million people having learned to code on this free site, CodeAcadem is one of the most popular sites on this list.
Choose a learning platform with an engaged community to get your questions answered.