How to Learn Programming?

  • #1
I am a sophomore and I want to learn coding before I start college. I don't have much money and I need to know what resources I could use to learn a language. I have tried free online sites and apps but the abstract nature of the teaching and the lack of "real" coding makes me lose interest quickly and I don't feel like I have learned much.
I think the best option would be a summer program but those tend to be expensive :( Should I just bite the bullet and go to a summer program like iDtech or are there any better ways? Maybe I could talk to my counselor about college courses during the summer semester? I am 100% clueless about this. If you are a programmer it would be great to know how you learnt!

Answers and Replies

  • #2
If you can spare $20, pick up the book "Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science" by John Zelle.

If you are a programmer it would be great to know how you learnt!
I first learned how to program many years ago by purchasing a book on the C programming language. I worked through the whole book including many of the exercises.
  • #3
Nearly all physicists have to be proficient at programming, but a lot of it is acquired on the job or in the lab. I wouldn't spend my money on any kind of boot camp,, but would follow the previous posters advice, or work through some tutorials online, such as those at The Internet is very rich in this regard. You could also download college lecture notes on the language of your choice. Sometimes professors even will provide code along with their course material.
  • #4
I'm not a programmer, but you could try one or both of two things.
  • A beginning programming course at your college, university, or community college during a regular semester term - not in the summer term
  • Liberty BASIC or JUST BASIC along with some textbook on BASIC or one of the ones featuring Liberty or JUST BASIC, along with your personal computer (Windows PC)
  • #5
I have tried free online sites and apps

Let's assume that you have the use of a computer. Have you installed something on the machine that let's you run programs ? - a compiler or an interpreter ? an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) ?
  • #6
Not a programmer, but can cowboy code when needed.

I tried a goggle search to see what's out there, and skimmed through this:

It looks pretty good, have you tried it? Python is a good language to learn these days. More and more I'm seeing it. I use to recommend C/C++ first, because that's how I started with programming at college, but I'm not sure that's good advice anymore. Maybe it never was.

I see that you lose interest because you think some of the online freebies aren't "real" programming? What would you consider real?

Hello world is pretty real to me. ;)
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  • #7
I think the first question you should ask yourself is why are you learning programmation for?
If you want a simple introduction to programming languages and/or if you don't care about which language to learn first, I think you should start with Python. It's relatively simple and there are great introductions to the language like Learn Python the hard way. My first introduction to programming was Java followed by C++. I think it's rather personal. If you go down the C++ route, try to find a used version of C++ Primer by Lippman et al.

There's something else I'd like to point out. As soon as you learn the basics of the language of your choice, try to think of problems you want to solve. You want to do math? Learn what libraries the language offers, familiarize yourself with them. Ask yourself what tools are at your disposal and what you can do with them. Be curious. Exercises are good, exercises related to your interest are better, exercises you come up with are best.

  • #8
Hey gmr535.

Do you think you will be sufficiently motivated to do it yourself or do you think you do it alone?

That to me is something you will need to answer before considering the approach and resources necessary to set a course of action.
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