Start Learning Programming Without Taking Formal Education

Edited by Michael J., Robbi, Lynn, Eng

2 Parts: Steps Comments

Programming or coding is a skill. And like any other skills, it can be acquired through intensive learning. The good thing about learning programming is that it doesn't require you to sign up for an academic course in a reputable academic institution. All you need to have is a decent Internet connection, a decent PC, a knack for analytical thinking, and an immense amount of patience, perseverance and passion to create something extraordinary.

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One of the advantages of learning programming via self-teaching is that you progress at your own pace and will. This eases the pressure off your back and allows you to focus on what interests you the most. The latter is particularly important in the complex world of Information Technology.

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While learning through formal education is definitely not a bad thing, some people just do not have the means and resources to sign up for a university and earn a degree. Others simply hate listening to a preaching professor. Whatever your reason is, this article will help you find your own way toward learning programming.

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  1. 1
    Stock up on good books that enhance logical and analytical thinking and problem solving skills.
    These are the core foundation of programming, so it is almost imperative that you continuously work on these areas. And one of the best things that could give you a head start is a great book. You can look on Amazon for reviews on books that belong to the aforementioned genres, which naturally include books on mathematics, puzzles, etc.; compare their prices and find the best deal that suits your pocket. Most books also have digital versions which are usually cheaper than the print. If you are diligent enough, you can even find free resources online.
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  2. 2
    Spend a lot of time reading them.
    Books are not made for shelf decoration, nor are they props to make you look cool and smart. If you are serious about learning, you have to pay your dues and dedicate lots of time reading relevant books. To become a good programmer you have to have a strong grasp on theory and application. Reading books is the best way to take care of the theory part.
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  3. 3
    Watch free video tutorials on programming.
    You can find free programming video tutorials on YouTube. Channels such as TheNewBoston, Xoaxdotnet, phpacademy are just some of the many channels that offer a wealth of comprehensive and comprehensible programming tutorials on YouTube.
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  4. 4
    Enroll in free online programming courses.
    If you want to infuse a little semblance of formality into your programming foray, you can take online programming courses through Coursera or Code School. These institutions provide a wide selection of paid or free courses to choose from.
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  5. 5
    Register on programming forums and be an active member.
    Programming is such a complex and deep field that no matter how religious you are in reading books or coding, you will eventually stumble upon a problem that will test your mettle. When this happens, asking for help isn't a bad thing to do. And one of the best immediate avenues for programming help is a programming forum. This is where you get to pick the brains of the experts in the programming community. But before posting a question, make sure you have done your research first. The question you want to ask could have already been asked by a fellow member a few years back and has already been resolved. You should remember, programming experts love to help but they hate to spoonfeed.
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  6. 6
    Solve logical puzzles and math problems routinely.
    Do not let your engines rust. Make it a habit to tune up your brain by solving new puzzles and math problems every day. This is a good way to acclimate your brain to the immense amount of logical thinking and problem solving involved in programming.
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  7. 7
    Choose a programming language to start with and focus on it.
    While you are certainly not discouraged from learning more than one programming language, it is advisable that you choose a specific language and narrow your focus on it. There are a lot of things to consider in choosing the initial programming language to learn. This may include your job Outlook, preference, the type of programs you want to create, etc. But if you really have no idea where to start, you might want to consider choosing one from the most common introductory programming languages taught in the academe: C, Java, C++ and Python.
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  8. 8
    Spend equal time with theory and application.
    These two should always work hand in hand. Theory allows you to understand how a process works, while practical application brings you knowledge and wisdom that only firsthand experience can provide. Think of it like this: Theory teaches you how things should work in an ideal world; application teaches you how they really translate into the real world.
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  9. 9
    Don't end your day without writing codes.
    If you are dead serious about programming, you must make it a part of the air you breathe every day. Repetition is one essential key to mastery. So find time to write codes as often as possible, regardless of how simple or complex the program you are going to write is. As the saying goes, "Motivation gets you started, habit keeps you going."
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  10. 10
    Challenge yourself every time.
    When it comes to self-teaching, you probably won't have as many characters that can motivate and push you to the limit as there are inside the university. There are no professors to report to, there are no projects to make and deadlines to beat, and there are no grades that will explicitly reflect your progress. So, you must take it upon yourself to find means for motivation and challenge.
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  11. 11
    Have fun.
    If the steps above are not something that could bring enjoyment to you, you should seriously consider quitting as early as now. Programming can be unforgiving to those who are not patient, dedicated and passionate enough. It is okay to feel daunted or even overwhelmed at first. But what is not okay is not to have fun.
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Categories : Programming

Recent edits by: Lynn, Robbi, Michael J.

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