Back to Top

How to become a skilled computer programmer

programmingAs you may know, I work as a programmer for a software development company. I wouldn't call myself a "genius" programmer, but I know enough coding to earn a good living for me and my family. Here are some of the most important things that I've learned while building up my skills.

First of all, let's look at what a computer programmer does for a living. Most of the time, the poor guy will just sit in front of his computer and write lines of code all day long. Now don't get me wrong; salaries are very good! I'm only calling that guy "poor" because his job is to look at the monitor screen eight hours per day, writing or debugging bits of code, and you may not like to do that for the rest of your life. On the other hand, this is the perfect job for shy people who don't like socializing and outdoor spaces - that would be me!

Software developers transform concepts into fully functional modules and/or applications. They may receive a mockup that shows the interface of a particular app, for example, and they'll have to write the code which brings that application to life. Since this will be the initial stage of the design, the programmer will often work with placeholder graphics. Therefore, it is important (though not essential) to have some basic graphic editing skills.

So, how do you become a skilled computer programmer? First of all, you have to know your math. Because if you aren't good at it, you will have a hard time trying to code even a simple number sorting algorithm. Therefore, if you are a teenager and want to become a programmer someday, do your best to make the math class a priority in your life.

It's time to decide what type of programmer you want to become. Will you be a front-end developer, the guy who uses HTML, CSS and JavaScript to build client-side applications, such as websites? Or will you take care of back-end development, creating software that interacts with, and then extracts valuable information from databases? Ambitious coders may want to become full stack developers, people who can handle both client and server-based applications.

Other programmers create software that runs on standard computers, without needing access to the Internet. Most graphics editing tools, movie making applications, games, and so on, are created by coders who know how to build desktop applications.

Mobile software developers are able to create those nice-looking apps that can run on smart phones and tablets. They use dedicated frameworks which ensure that the result of their work can be published on as many different devices as possible.

Once that you've chosen what type of programmer you want to be, the time has come to choose the "best" programming language. Those quotes are meant to show you that there is no "best" coding language. However, there are some things that need to be discussed here; you can't use a web programming language to develop a desktop application. I will write a detailed article about this in the near future, but here are some of the best programming languages that can be used for various tasks.

Python is one of the most popular coding languages in the world. Due to its many libraries, it can create pretty much any app you can think of. C# is one of the best choices for desktop applications, JavaScript CSS & HTML are used for front-end development, while PHP is a good solution for back-end software.

Pick any (or all) of these languages, and then try to create a few simple programs. Ideally, you should spend a week with each one of them, and then see which language works best for you. To be a programmer, you will need to practice a lot. Download a free code editor, and then play with the existing examples, tweaking them and seeing what happens when you run the modified code.

Since the programming industry is constantly changing, you will have to improve your skills at all times. So, try to learn something new each day. Join a friendly community of programmers and learn from them. Just run a "language forum" Internet search and I guarantee that you will discover lots of coders who will be happy to help you.