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How to Learn Programming?
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How to Learn Programming 101

Learning programming seems difficult to many. This is often because of the wrong approach they apply to learn to code. People aspire to make complex applications, and they often don’t even know basic programming. Not knowing the basics of programming is what turns you off from learning programming.

This is a very common problem. Hence, I would like to share an approach to learning programming which is a lot less frustrating, and is, in fact, fun! The whole premise of this article is that learning programming can be fun if done the right way!

1. Familiarize with a programming language

Getting comfortable with a programming language is the first step towards learning programming. People often start with C, C++, Java, or Python. I personally prefer C++ in the beginning as it is neither too simple (like Python is), nor too deficient in terms of libraries (like C is). C++ is pretty fast and has a good library support too - best of both worlds! Also, C++ is a good choice for competitive programming because it is pretty fast and has the support of Standard Template Library (STL). The choice of the first language is highly subjective based on your interests and goals. You may be interested in front-end, back-end, mobile app development, game development, data science, etc.

But the most important thing is learning the basics - syntax, data types, variables, loops, arrays, etc. Try to solve simple implementation-based questions so as to get familiar with these basic concepts. These are the key things to learn in almost any programming language.

2. Learn about Data Structures and Algorithms

Once you are comfortable with any of the languages mentioned in the above section, the next thing you should do is learning data structures and algorithms. Data structures and algorithms help in building the right aptitude required for programming. Knowledge about the data structures will help you in choosing the right one for the problem you are solving - not all data structures can be used everywhere. When you learn about the algorithms, you will be able to understand the working mechanism of many library functions, which, otherwise, would come across to you as black boxes.

3. Try your hand with competitive programming

Once you have learned data structures and algorithms, you should start solving problems on websites like SPOJ, Codechef, Codeforces, Topcoder, Hackerrank, Geeksforgeeks etc. The more problems you solve, the better it is. It is better, though, to solve problems in increasing order of difficulty. You can sort the problems in descending order of the number of submitted solutions and start solving. After solving around 100 mixed variety problems, you will become confident about your programming skills.

Quote:Practice, Practice, Practice...

4. Make a project

Once you have enhanced your problem-solving and programming skills, it is time to create some useful applications. You can pick up some popular web development framework (Django, Flask, Ruby on Rails, etc.) and make a project using it. Making an application will give you a feel of actual software development, which is what most of the programmers do.

5. Explore

Once you have sucessfully developed or programmed a application you can start exploring other languages in the Computer Science world. Some of them being Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cryptography, Cloud Computing, Systems Programming, Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing, Blockchain, Virtual Reality, Web Development, Mobile App Development, and many more.

I hope this guide was helpful.
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