Programming Learning Media: Pros and Cons

So you want to start programming, but not sure where to begin? There are many ways to learn how to code. In this post I will be covering the different ways of learning programming, and the pros & cons of each. First things first, you do NOT have to go to college to get a job as a programmer. However, I recommend it. You will be subjected to all of the different sects of programming, and get to see what kind of programming interests you the most. You also have an instructor at your disposal for idea exchange. You DO have to be dedicated to learning all that you can on your own time, whether you’re in college or not. Now, let’s take a look at different learning media:

Tutorials
There are a few options here. You can find text tutorials in books, online, and sometimes in the program console you’re working on. This is a great way to get your muscles (both brain and fingers) used to the language you are coding in. A great site for this is Codecademy, you will need to register (it’s free). Cons: you could miss some important programming concepts if you only follow tutorials.

Video Series
There are a number of really great video series on youtube that will not only give you coding examples and tutorials to follow along with; but insight into general programming concepts and good coding practice/tendencies. A personal favorite of mine is Jesse Warden’s Intoduction to software development for the basics. Highly recommend if you’re new to coding. He’s funny and very informative. Cons: it’s harder to ask questions, you may or may not get a reply, and you have to wait for responses.

Workshops
These are harder to come by (at least in my area). However, I have watched multiple recorded workshop sessions on youtube and they are a great starter for anyone new to programming. You follow along, get to take notes, and you have multiple event staff there to help get you set up and answer any questions you may have. Most of these that I have seen you bring your system and they will help you install what you need to start coding. If not, they provide detailed information on how to do so ahead of time. Cons: usually cost money, can be difficult to find, could have to wait a while for the workshop date.

Classes
Classes are one of my favorite ways to learn. Reason being, most programmers are lazy, myself included. A class helps me stay motivated to practice, practice, practice (because I have a due date for my work). Almost all the programming classes I have taken have been online (or half online half face to face). They usually consist of a mix of the previously mentioned learning media. You’ll have a book, tutorials, videos, and a person to answer your questions. You do not have to pay to go to college in order to take classes. There are many classes online such as Coursera, MIT’s open coursework, and W3Schools. Cons: They take a bit of dedication, but programming itself does too!

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