If we have ever talked about how to introduce children to the world of programming, today we are going to present a similar article but with a different approach. How to learn programming in the summer as adults.
Programming, once again, is a tool that helps to structure the mind, to propose new ways of solving problems of daily life, or, why not, to teach your child to take their first steps in this world. Programming can also be a great topic to learn this summer, and today we’re going to give you some tips and tricks to get you started on it.
We don’t want you to become a professional
First of all, we must make a small disclaimer: we do not seek to become professional programmers, never, under any circumstances. Those who want to find their career path as a programmer will not find the definitive post here.
Today we will delve into how to take the first steps in programming as a hobby, taking advantage of the fun point it has and the consequences of the learning phase that are shared with those that we already mentioned when we talked about educational programming. Certain skills such as problem-solving, logical-mathematical thinking, and, more generally, everything related to computational thinking is improved.
You can start just like the children
We refer to the programs and the methodology. Scratch is the main tool and that will provide you with a base on what an algorithm is and how computers “think”. If you don’t have any programming knowledge, you should start with the Code.org tutorials first, to learn the basics.
Once you have obtained them, Scratch is a very good second option, given the variety of programs and projects that it will allow us to create. Here we must activate our minds to initiate new ideas that we have in our heads and, if possible, add iterative increments. For example, to a simple Pong, we can add markers, game duration times, ranking, statistics, new special moves, bonus items… and it will be a Pong on steroids, perfect for learning. If you already master Scratch with some ease, you will be able to abandon the ‘toy’ languages and go full throttle towards more serious and formal, text-type languages. Options like Python, which is for many the great ‘real’ environment after visual and color languages, or Arduino, which we will talk about specifically later as it is a great option.
ideas? Books? tutorials?
Internet is a great ally to learn to program, no matter how old you are. For example, here is a compilation of 125 programming projects that you can start doing, from basic exercises like inverting a character string, counting vowels, checking if a word is a palindrome; to more complex things like management systems, download systems, Telnet managers, ‘whiteboards… and much more. They also have 49 game ideas here to ‘clone’ and, incidentally, learn programming.
There is a lot of literature on programming. Hundreds and hundreds of books and manuals, with specialized publishers like O’Reilly and its essential Head First. They are typically expensive manuals, but they are usually essential tools if what we are looking for is a physical book. O’Reilly also has Cookbooks that cover much more knowledge, also divided into languages.
If we go for something more visual, we can opt for video tutorials on YouTube, which can be used perfectly in the early stages of learning. Tutorials, videos, and first steps in a language or technology that we can quickly follow; for example one for Scratch, a few for Python, or how to build your first robot on Arduino.
On the Internet, we find forums, social networks, newsgroups, specialized websites, and everything. The StackOverflow community is essential to solve doubts and problems; if you want to start from scratch on Reddit we find /r/learnprogramming ) where they even have a very complete Wiki with a ‘how to start’ section. As always, the comments are open for you to add and recommend any community that can help you learn to program.