Thousands of languages are spoken across the world, and in Manchester, England there are as many as 86 languages rumoured to be spoken in the city centre alone. Most of us speak just one languages, sometimes a bit of a second language – but one type of language in particularly has emerged and grown like nothing ever seen before. This type of language is spoken all over the world and is constantly evolving, changing and being taught at an ever increasing rate. The type of language I’m talking about of course, is programming. People of all ages can learn to ‘speak’ to computers and program them with a programming language, but, like learning another human language, it’s not always the easiest thing to pick up. Here are some quick tips on learning a computer language.
Do your research!
Don’t just dive in at the deep-end by picking some letters that sound impressive and choosing that language as the one you’re going to learn. Many different types of languages exist like object-oriented languages as well as scripts– so think about what type might interest you the most. Wikipedia and other websites are great sources of information on the types of language available. Top tip: think about teaching yourself a basic script such as HTML first, so you can get a feel for what a more powerful language might be like as well as familiarising yourself with popular syntax.
Make the most of what’s around you!
Fortunately, the best place to learn about programming computers is on a computer itself. There are literally hundreds of thousands of resources written in Spanish, English, Japanese and even Urdu on how to program, so be sure to look around online for guides and starters. Many are written by computer science professors, students or just those with a passion in computers as a hobby, so you’re bound to find a guide you can engage with online.
Think about your library.
Most libraries have books and resources on the different computer languages available, and these are often a good start. It’s common to find a computers section in a library, and there you can pick and leaf through books which discuss some of the concepts you’ll be looking at and dealing with as you think about learning to program. Just because it’s not hyper-recent or written on a screen doesn’t mean it’s not useful.
It’s very common for people to teach themselves to program out of interest, but it’s often quicker to learn under a mentor or go to a programming class. Local colleges and universities are likely to hold classes or seminars on the basics of programming if you struggle to learn on your own, and these classes can be as little as free to maybe $10 dollars a session. If you know somebody who can program, it might be a good idea asking them for help and seeing what got them started in writing a computer language.
Learning is a long and difficult process, and the seeds of thought don’t grow into giant trees of knowledge overnight! Programming languages are simultaneously very similar and totally different to the languages we speak as humans, so be prepared for some hard work in order to get your head around a machine language. Put the effort and hard work in, even if it’s just a couple of hours or so a week in your free time and you’ll soon reap the benefits.
Programming is a really rewarding experience, and it’s something which people from all backgrounds and cultures can get to grips with; whether to bolster their job prospects or just out of a love of learning. Every computer we use, from a mobile telephone to a laptops designing promotional USB memory sticks required programming as some stage. Taking a step into the world of computer languages is easier than it looks.
Ryan Barnes has loved computers from an early age, and currently blogs for USBdesign.co.uk, who provide the best promotional USB memory sticks at the most competitive prices.