How To Quickly Learn Programming
Complete a quick project that uses all features of programming
Programming is the way we tell a computer what to do.
It involves using a programming language to communicate with a machine. Programers use a programming language to interface with the machine, allowing programmer and machine to communicate and understand one another.
There are many good things a programmer can tell a computer to do, their imagination is the limit and these are communicated to the computer using the programming language’s correct syntax.
Therefore in order to fully understand how to write code, a programmer must first understand how to use the tool or programming language and write pseudo code.
This works best using the incremental skill building technique.
Incremental Skill building involves having the student complete a project that allows them to build up on previous work, while teaching them how to use the newer data types, structures and algorithms.
It accumulates into a larger project where they’ve used all the frequently used types, allowing them to gain confidence that they can easily translate to their own projects.
Students get into programming to learn how to solve real world problems, so it is important to have projects inspired by the real world for them to choose from and work on as they learn to hold their interest.
Data Collection Projects such as a basic Student Course Registration System, Student Attendance System, Patient Record System, Car Registration System, Daycare Schedule System to name a few.
Game inspired projects such as a basic Card Game, Interactive Story Game, Chess
These projects are build-ups, this means they can be build from very basic to advanced, which makes them great projects for students learning to code.
Students will use them to learn how programming works from the ground up, when they create their project file, print to the console, use built-in types, data structures, add functions, create and use custom-types, add a database and login systems, the list is endless.
It is important to avoid overwhelming the student and allow them to learn one concept per lesson.
Learning From The Hello World Program
Hello World is the very first program every program runs on a new project. It is done to ensure everything is in working order before they can translate their pseudocode to a programming language.
For a beginning programer this small but powerful program teaches them many valuable skills and understanding these goes a long way to creating future projects with confidence.
When done well, the Hello World program teaches a programmer these valuable skills.
- The programmer learns how to create their project files
- They learn how to install any libraries required to use the built in data types and their own data types in the future
- The programer learns how to send a message to the console, which is very important with debugging
- The programer learns how to write the correct syntax for the code to run
- This program teaches them how to save their code, build it and run it
After writing and running the basic Hello World program, a programmer should now have the ability to create a project file, install required libraries, save and run the code and send messages to the console.
These skills form the most fundamental aspect of programming because they set up communication line between the programmer and the computer.
It is important for beginners to reinforce these skills by doing at least 3 similar programs and short quizzes to ensure they commit the concepts to muscle memory.
In this case, some assignments can be
- Write a program that prints your name to the console
- Write a program that prints the day and date to the console
- Write a program that prints a one paragraph story to the console
Quizzes should be short, about four questions, must be multiple choice, taken multiple times until they get it correct, while reshuffling the answers to avoid guess work.
A quiz should be taken immediately after each concept is taught, to allow the student a break and better recall the concepts learned.
In the Hello World example, a quiz would be given after each milestone. The first would test their ability to properly create a project file, then test their ability to properly use syntax, recognize correct program structure(which will run).
Which of the following is correct?
a. print(“Hello World”)
b. Print(“Hello World”)
c. print(Hello World)
d. print(“Hello world”
This question tests whether they recognize the correct syntax in this programming language. If they do, they’ve the ability to write their code correctly.
If you are teaching yourself how to code, start with a small, basic project that allows you to use all the skills needed for larger projects. These often overlap and learning these on a basic project, will save you a lot of time and frustration.
Once you gain confidence, you are ready to build your larger project.