4 Important Questions Asked by a Beginner Programmer

question marks

This article is meant for people who are interested in programming and want to learn this online or are in the process of doing so. In this “beginner phase” of a programmer, some important questions pop up. We go through some of these questions and possible answers from my point of view. By reading this article beginner programmers might make smarter decisions during their learning process and possibly save time, effort, and money.

Is Programming Difficult?

You think programming is interesting, the career options seem nice. The thing is you don’t know if you have the ability to learn a complex skill like programming.

In my opinion, programming is difficult to understand but very easy to apply. So as a beginner programmer you should focus on application, while gradually developing understanding. This can be done by doing programming exercises and projects right from the start.

In the beginning, the different programming concepts can seem very abstract, because you can’t relate anything to a specific use. So trying to understand the concepts can be very confusing and time-consuming. Doing exercises or projects changes this experience completely, because the concepts are put to use. You figure out which concepts are more important and the specific uses each concept has. During the way you slowly and automatically build understanding.

This approach is in my experience the most effective. So any shortcuts you try to take might hit you in the long run in the form of confusion and not being able to continue.

If you are completely new to programming, you should read this article to get familiar with some concepts.

Which Programming Language Should a Beginner Programmer Choose?

There are a lot of different languages available and the number of choices can be overwhelming. Let’s distinguish between some categories to come up with a suitable programming language.

We can make a distinction between established languages, and new languages. If you are new to programming it makes more sense to start with an already established language, because the learning resources are plentiful.

Then you also have the distinction between low-level and high-level programming languages. Low-level languages are more technical and require a deeper understanding of programming concepts and computer science. High-level programming languages are more beginner-friendly. A lot of the technical stuff is implemented automatically, so the programmer doesn’t have to deal with it.

In my opinion, you should choose a language that is well established as well as high-level. A specific example is the programming language C#.

Which Learning Resources Should a Beginner Programmer Choose?

Focussing on the C# language, the learning resources are very diverse and plentiful. The free options are pretty solid. You don’t have to spend money to get the basics, in my opinion.

You can use youtube as a resource. Video tutorials work best as a starting point, to get the first impression of the subject. Use an app to block ads and recommendations that disturb your learning process.

Also, use books/ebooks. Books are very precise in explaining the different basic programming concepts. They also give you complete oversight of the subject matter.

You can use specific interactive sites. These sites often offer free exercises to apply and test your acquired knowledge.

Take a look at some programming blogs. The owners of these blogs often blog about specific projects with code examples. Compare these code examples with your own code to identify points of improvement.

Every learning resource has its strong and weak points. Use all instead of just one! By combining multiple resources your understanding can become much stronger.

What Project Should a Beginner Programmer Start With?

Start with something easy while trying to complete the project on your own as much as possible. Try something that has real use and forces you to apply basic concepts.

Some options are:

  • Simple calculator project
  • Building a notepad
  • Building a stopwatch
  • Converter of units of measurement

You shouldn’t start with a project that is too difficult. Don’t try to skip steps, it is better to take small steps with little progress than to do something that ruins your whole learning process.