Take a few minutes (or a day) to think about the reasons—the real reasons—why you want to learn a programming language. Be honest with yourself. Are you trying to learn the barest minimum to score a promotion? Are you looking to make a big career change? Do you want to create the next greatest app? Thrill your roommates by programming your various smart devices to do something awesome?
Learn using videos, interactive exercises, and in-depth articles in math (arithmetic, pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, statistics, calculus, linear algebra), science (biology, chemistry, physics), economics (microeconomics, macroeconomics), humanities (art history, civics, finance, US history, US government and politics, world history), and more (including computer science principles)!
If you want to go pro and become a full-time developer, an intensive and in-person coding bootcamp might help you out, particularly if you learn best in a structured environment with real people to motivate you. However, these types of bootcamps are often the most expensive and time-intensive to attend: You’re looking at upwards of $15,000 for just the tuition, plus living expenses for a few months until you graduate.
Spend an afternoon brushing up on statistics. Discover how the Krebs cycle works. Learn about the fundamentals of music notation. Get a head start on next semester's geometry fundamentals. Prepare for the SAT, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, NCLEX-RN, and AP exams. Or, if you're feeling particularly adventurous, learn how fire-stick farming changes the landscape of Australia.
You need to be patient with yourself; don’t expect to code the next Fortnite after just a few months of study or a few bootcamps. Coding an error-free wedding RSVP form on a website, or making a simple-yet-correct number prediction game, is already a significant achievement for a beginner. If you get stuck, don’t give up. You should absolutely look for help everywhere you can find it, but also know when to take a break to avoid burnout. And then try, try again.
Whether you’re an adult looking to transition into the tech industry, a student looking to learn the latest language, or a hobbyist who just wants to understand how software and services work, all you need is a computer and internet access to start your programming journey. But before you take a flying leap into The Matrix, here are our best tips and resources to set you off on the right foot.