How I became a self taught programmer: from clueless kid to self taught programmer

If you are young, you just finished high school and you’re looking for a future career, you’re at the right place, but if you’re old, unhappy with your current career or you’re just passionate about software development, you’re at the right place!

Photo by Safar Safarov on Unsplash

As a kid I didn’t really know what I wanted to do after finishing school, I didn’t have a plan or a clear goal in mind, I just knew that I liked computers and I was enjoying discovering new things about them and doing what other people couldn’t do. And in high school I got introduced to programming and it became my favorite hobby.

The main goal of this article is not to brag (or maybe a little bit) about my achievements but to inspire those who want to get started with programming but have doubts or just don’t know where to start.

  1. DON’T BECOME A PROGRAMMER IF YOU’RE ONLY DOING IT FOR MONEY
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Yes, you can make a decent amount of money as a programmer, you can make a good amount or you can even get very rich with programming, but if you don’t enjoy coding and solving problems, you will fail. Programming is very challenging and can be frustrating, in order to get through, you need to be passionate about it. Money is just a reward of your hard work and passion, it shouldn’t be a goal or the reason to do it, it’s not a way to make easy money.

2. HAVE A CLEAR GOAL IN MIND

Programming is a very big and complex thing, you can’t learn everything, choose one area you’re passionate about and start your learning path with that in mind. “One who knows where he’s going will never get lost” -Kevin Ilondo.

Ask yourself this question: What am I passionate about? Is it video games? web apps? mobile apps? Machine learning and AI?

Once you have answered this question, you can start learning how to code.

3. Choose the right tools

I know most of you were waiting for this part, you want to know about the most interesting and probably the most important part of this journey: learning how to code.

Once you have answered the previous question, you should be able to pick a programming language and start writing code.

If you are into video game development, you should start learning languages such as C++, C# or Java which are very popular in the industry. I will personally recommend using C# and Unity which is a very popular game engine, there is a huge community and a lot of resources to help you learn game development faster.

If you are into web development, you should start learning front-end (client side) languages such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript, these are the main languages of the web and they are quite easy to learn and beginner friendly. Once you have mastered those 3 languages, you can learn a back-end language (server side) like PHP or Python.

If you are into mobile apps development, you have languages like Objective-C and Swift for iOS apps, Java and Kotlin for Android apps or you can work with cross-platform framework like React Native and Flutter that will help you create apps for both iOS and Android.

NOTE: Before learning something like React Native, I would recommend that you master JavaScript first.

For A.I and Machine Learning, you should learn Python which is very popular and the demand for Python developers is increasing everyday.

4. The best way to learn how to code is… By coding

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Reading books, watching tutorials on YouTube, talking to other developers, forums, Facebook groups, etc are good if you want to learn more about programming, but writing code, making mistakes, creating softwares that work, are the only way to master a programming language and get more experience.

5. Conclusion

Being a software developer requires a lot of hard work, but if you are passionate about it, you will enjoy this journey and change your life forever and I guarantee that you won’t regret it.

Remember:

  • Have a clear goal in mind.
  • Choose a programming language that you will start with.
  • Practice a lot! Code, create projects, even if you fail,don’t give up, try again.
  • Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small they are.

I wish you good luck in your journey, all the best and happy coding!

Self taught programmer, PHP Web developer, lover of technology and programming.