Choosing a Programming Language

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Choosing a programming language is difficult. I bounced between 5 or 6 languages before I finally “got it”. In this post We will talk about choosing the right programming language for your goals.

Build Web Applications

If your app idea is web based then PHP, Python, Javascript (Node.js) or Ruby would all be a good fit. You’ll also want to choose a framework for your chosen language. Each language has several frameworks to choose from. A Framework is just a bunch of code in your chosen language that does stuff like user logins, routing, connections to a database, etc… and they provide a structure/skeleton for your app so it’s easy to organize your code. You’re also going to need at least a little HTML, CSS, & JavaScript to completely build out your web application.

Robots? (Embedded programming)

If you want to make code interact with machines, then you’ll want to learn C, C++, or possibly node.js. Embedded programming is not easy. An understanding of electricity, circuits, micro-controllers, and programming is essential. You can learn these things as you go, just expect a steep learning curve.

To get started right away, purchase an, Arduino or a Raspberry Pi. Another thing you’ll want is to buy a couple tutorial books or courses that teach you how to build some projects with the Arduino & Raspberry Pi.

Note: if you click a link and make a purchase, I might get a commission at no extra cost to you, but I only recommend quality stuff!!

Mobile Apps:

Mobile usage has skyrocketed. Smartphones recently surpassed laptops in usage, so Mobile Apps are a super valuable skill for programmers. To develop a mobile app you first have to choose which platform you’re going to build for. If you’re going to build an Android application you’ll need to learn Java, and the Java “SDK” (Software Development Kit).

To build an iPhone app, you’ll need to know Taylor Swift (a language called Swift, ha-ha.) In order to build an iPhone application you’ll also need to own a Macintosh, and download their Xcode program. There’s another language for Apple called Objective-C which you may need to understand, but it’s an old language, so I’d recommend using Swift unless you need to know Objective-C for legacy code or something.

Note: Javascript is also becoming a viable way to build iPhone, Android, and even Windows phone applications. Instead of learning three different languages, you may be able to use “React Native”, a Javascript library to build them all.

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Photo by Eva Rinaldi Via Flickr Creative Commons

Game Programming

If you want to get into game programming I recommend using a game engine first, and then building the rest with code. Most game engines are built in C++ or C, so you may want to use those languages. Luckily, most game engines have tutorials and do a lot of the work for you. Here are some options to get you on your feet.

Unreal Engine  (free with 5% royalty)

Unity3d (Free version available)

If you’re building a Mobile App game, then you’ll need to use Swift or Java! There’s also potential to build games with HTML5, so you just have to experiment and see what works for you. Make sure you participate in the game engine forums. It’s a great way to get to know the community and learn what other people in the industry are doing. They’ll be able to help you get where you want to be if you’re willing to put in the effort.

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Web Design

A web designer with PhotoShop skills is able to take a beautiful design that is in their mind, and turn it into an image of what the website will look like. PhotoShop also allows you to create beautiful logos, images, photography, etc… A PhotoShop professional will create a PSD file that is an exact design of what the website or logo needs to look like. From there, a front-end developer will take the PSD image and turn it into a real website. Photoshop is the design portion, so if you like being creative, then learning PhotoShop is important!

A front end developer will take the design, and write the code to turn it into a real website. In order to do this, you will need to have a strong knowledge in HTML & CSS, and Javascript and know how to make websites “responsive”, meaning they can grow and shrink to fit any different screen. These are both two entirely different phases of a design project, and they both work very closely together. So whether you do PhotoShop, the development, or a combination of both, this is what you’ll want to learn to become a designer.

Hacking/Security

Unfortunately, unless you’re a computer wizard, the easiest way to learn “hacking”/security AKA “Penetration Testing” is to go to school for it or get some certifications, or both. To get started in the security industry, I’d start out with the CompTIA Network+ certification, and then move on to the OSCP (Offensive Security Certified Professional with Kali Linux) and the CEH (Certified Ethical hacking) course. These certifications cost money, but they’ll definitely get you a strong start to a career in the security industry.

Like with anything, you have to constantly push the limits to keep improving. These courses and certifications will make you far more knowledgeable than your average person, but it’s just the start, and I caution you to avoid the mentality of just completing the certification. Learning and curiosity is much more important than a piece of paper.

Conclusion:

This is just an introduction to the world of technology, and a small taste of the many options you have. There are many other options, and many other languages that have not been covered here. This will hopefully give you a strong start, and from here I encourage you to explore anything that interests you.

What are you interested in? Leave a comment and let us know why you got into technology!

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