Learn to program

Posted on 2004-09-08
Last Modified: 2010-07-27
I am looking to get some programming knowledge.  Maybe either a degree and or certificate in Programming.  Are there any sites or colleges that are reccomended?  I am really wanting to learn some of the most popular languages.  I am a Geographic Information Systems user.  I am mostly wanting to use any programming knowledge I lear to be able to customize write scripts and maybe write my own software.  Thanks  
Question by:jweick
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Accepted Solution

lchyi earned 25 total points
ID: 12011211
Do you know of any local vocational schools like ITT Tech? They usually offer programming languages in short and concise classes. If you want to learn on your own you can do that. The internet has a plethora of resources. The only thing you have to be is dedicated. It takes a ton of work and a lot of trial and error to learn a language. I would try a vocational school first though, it helps when you have programming assignments and professional help.

Assisted Solution

rawkstarc earned 20 total points
ID: 12011417
If you are interested in learning to program, I would recommend looking at the local community colleges for the courses. Also has great resources for such web languages as PHP, and Javascript. For platform programming I recomend starting with C.
LVL 10

Assisted Solution

jayca earned 20 total points
ID: 12011796

Check those out while you wait for classes to start :)  They even have videos you can watch.
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Assisted Solution

elfraga earned 20 total points
ID: 12012090
Look at:
They have the biggest collection of books online, and they
are really cheap, you pay only 9.9 dollar a moth and
u have access to 10 books that you can renew or change
every moth,... really good site... i am in.

PD: sorry my english, i am mexican.

Assisted Solution

gregasm earned 20 total points
ID: 12012181
neither a degree nor a certification will give you programming knowledge.

get yourself a introduction book on the language you want to learn first. Then make sure you have what it takes to follow the examples contained therein (perhaps an ide, the correct compiler, etc).

follow the examples in the book and read through the explanations.

you should ask yourself during the process, am I having fun yet? If not, give up.

otherwise, you are well on your way. good luck!!!!
LVL 23

Assisted Solution

brettmjohnson earned 20 total points
ID: 12013099
Here is a very good essay for "programmers-to-be" wanting to know what to learn:

LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 12013167
And there is always Peter Norvig's "Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years":


Expert Comment

ID: 12013485
if you're interested in unix then put linux on your computer. You can hack around with the OS all you want learn a great deal on your own. For programming, get the latest java from It's free and they have a bunch of tutorials available online also.

For web programming, get a cheap web hosting account and you can experiment since they usually provide a bunch of languages and utilities you can tinker with.

Good Luck :)

Expert Comment

ID: 12013591
You have a few choices here:
1- You can start on your own if you have the will and the time. Just get a book on the language that you prefer (I would recommend VB.Net) and allocate time everyday to go through the book and do the exercises.

2- or you may want to study at your local Community College or Training Center. That way you lock the time and you force yourself to attend.

3- If you want to make a living out of your programming you may want to think about certifications. They are hot and they can put you above the crowd. However, they may be costly to get and maintain.

As far as what language to start with:
C family (includes C++) has a long learning curve but you get to learn a very powerful language.
VB family (includes VB6 and VB.Net) has shorter learning curve but not as powerful.
For web development you may consider HTML as a starter then move to PHP, ASP, XML, and CGI-BIN later.


Expert Comment

ID: 12018425
Everyone so far has given you some very good answers.  Bear in mind though that how you learn best is a very individual thing.  Going to lectures at uni may well be enough for some people, whereas others find they only learn from a hands on approach.  If you know what suits you best you'll be in a much better position.

For me personally I did the degee thing, but find that I learn best from hands-on approach, so the university lectures didn't help at all. That said I can't also pick up a "teach yourself ... in .... days" book and learn from the code examples.

Instead I find the best way I learn is to set myself a small project to develop and then use the books to figure out how to go about it, and learn as I go along.

There are lots of options open to you, pick and choose what works best for you.

Expert Comment

ID: 12028103
Lots of great answers. You might consider Basic of some sort. Many will say to start in something more commercially viable but I find that doing that causes many people to blow off on the subject of programming, or turn into dry work-a-day programmers (NOT ALL but many).
Most of the best programmers I know started in a basic even if they dont want to claim so. :)

It might not be a language for your resume but its the fastest way to find out if you LIKE programming and why you would want to learn something harder IMHO. That is what it was created for.


Expert Comment

ID: 12037080
Programming can't be learnt, it can be practiced :)

Expert Comment

ID: 12044497
Every body has great answers to your question. I would say first buy a general programming book so you get a feel what programming is like. Then See if you want to learn Object oriented way of programming (c++, java), web development (PHP, ASP, C#) or scripting (VBScript, perl)

As the previous comment points out, you must practice the language (by installing compiler or interpreter) if you really want to get good feeling.

Expert Comment

ID: 12320826
His question was quite open ended and we all gave him suggestions that we thought might help... I think everyone should receive equal credit in this answer.

Expert Comment

ID: 12321109
It would be hard to pinpoint a "best" answer on such an opinion question.

just for the fun of it, for those who are considering a language I will toss this in.
Its kindof fun to see one simple project done in examples of over 300 programming languages. Great for comparisons, pros and cons, discussions of difficulty.
Gandalf  Parker

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