How to learn computer programming?

I’ve seen lot of people asking questions on exactly what they should do to learn computer programming. Well, there is no single answer for this question as computer programming is more than just learning a programming language like C and Java. I have seen some people recommending books on C/C++ etc. while some people believe that books cannot teach computer programming. In this article, we will see how a person can learn computer programming.

As I have said before, computer programming is lot more than just learning a programming language. Learning a programming language is nothing but learning its syntax and the constructs provided by that particular language. It is like learning different words in English like ‘cat’ or ‘sky’. You cannot speak in English just by knowing different words and their meanings but you also need to focus on grammar. After learning grammar, you actually need to speak in English with other people to get comfortable with it. Learning computer programming is also quite similar.

To learn computer programming, you first need to select a language, which is easier to use and learn. The first computer language that I used was BASIC and then PASCAL. I have seen many people recommending Python these days and I agree with them. Anybody can learn python quickly. However, there are many other languages, which you can use to start with.

After selecting the language, spend some time and go through its syntax and example provided for each. At the same time, try out those examples on your computer to understand how each function or syntax behaves. Keep on practicing until you get comfortable with the language syntax and its use. Before moving on to next steps, make sure that you are very comfortable with the language.

By this time, you will know how to use a language. Keep in mind that knowing how to use a language does not mean that you know computer programming. Computer programming is a way to teach computer how to solve a particular problem. Before learning how to use your language for solving complex problem, you need to learn how to use the language to solve basic problems (like sorting, searching) and how to manage data (data structures).

There are many books available, that will provide you with basic algorithms and will teach you about data structures. Learn those concepts and try to implement them in your language. In this way, after solving lot of examples you will see that most of the problems are solved by using simple concepts. At this stage, you can say that you have learnt computer programming. But wait, that’s not an end. There are many different ways to solve a particular problem and only experience can teach you which one is the best. Therefore, you need to keep practicing.

Remember, that learning computer programming takes lot of time and effort. Its not something that could be learnt directly from books. Even after learning computer programming, you need to practice it regularly with different problems. There are many open source projects, which you will find on the net. You can learn more by looking at their source codes. You can also try to participate in the development so gain more experience.

So keep learning and practicing. That is the way to learn computer programming.