We are living in an exciting time in human history. An age where the power of computers and technology are revolutionizing the way we live. The invention of powerful computers and the application of computing knowledge like machine learning and data science has significantly enriched lives and inched humanity towards abundance and perfection.
No matter what field you are in or what career you choose, you will have direct contact with some form computer device. That means sooner or later, you will be required to learn some type of programming language.
What is a Programming Language?
I like to think Computers are the dumbest thing on this planet. Firstly, they understand only one language, and it’s is not even English! Machine language is the only language they understand. Secondly, they can only do what we tell them to – well this is not entirely true anymore. Due to advancement in the tech industry; the emergence of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning has made computers a little smarter – but they are still dumb anyway.
Therefore a programming language is the language that allows us to communicate with a computer and tell it to do our bidding. That means we get to be the boss and computer becomes the obedient slave; only if we speak its language.
How to Do It Effortlessly
So how do we learn the not-so-English language of the computer? Well, since we program in a language, it is best if we learn programming the way we learn any language like English.
So how do we learn English?
- Master the Basics
You can’t learn English without learning its building blocks; the syntax, nouns, verbs and tenses that make up the language. In the same way, you can’t master a programming language without mastering its syntax.
- Write More
You can learn English faster when you practice writing sentences in English. The more the better. Programming works the same way, the more code you write or the more projects you do in a programming language, the easier it is to master that language.
- Read More
Just as your English improves when you read wide, reading other people’s code makes you a better programmer because it exposes you to practical application of what you’ve learnt.
- Speak More
Speaking is yet another good way to quickly master a language. The more you speak a language, the more fluent you become in it. In programming, you speak code and use technical terms when speaking about the language. After all, you can’t speak a language without its jargons.
- Look it Up
What do you do when you meet a word that you don’t know its meaning? You look it up in a dictionary? Well, programming languages have their own dictionaries that you can consult when you are stuck. It is called different things in different languages; Python calls its dictionary the Standard Library. In Ruby on rails, it is called the Rails Guide. If you don’t understand what you read in the dictionary, then get external help. You can talk to an experienced programmer close to you or get help online on stackoverflow.com.
- Teach It
Teaching does not benefit only the student; the teacher gets his fair share of the bargain. When you teach others what you learn, you reinforce your learning and improve your understanding.
The ability to make computers do what we want through programming is as rewarding as it is challenging. When you apply the suggestions above, you will realize that it can also be fun.