Getting Started in Computer Programming

From time to time, people ask me how to get started in the career of computer programming.

If you like solving puzzles and have the ability to focus for hours at a time, then you’re a good candidate to enjoy a programming career. Many programmers are introverts, so if that describes you, great! 🙂

First ask your friends, co-workers or hosting provider which computer language they use. If they don’t have an opinion, read on.

For writing scripts (small programs), the 3 main languages are:

Language Tutorial Book
Perl Tutorial “Learning Perl”, Randal Schwartz, O’Reilly
Python Tutorial Books
PHP (mostly for web programming) Tutorial Books

Perl has some advantages in that older sample scripts were usually written in Perl, and it’s an extremely powerful and compact language. Perl is popular with people who want the biggest hammer available for solving problems, or who want to specialize in security engineering scripting. 🙂

On job sites, Python is currently the most popular scripting language. It also has good Machine Learning support. Python is popular with people who have OCD or like to “follow the rules” with its indentation rules. Google uses python or Java for most programming.

PHP is popular with people who mostly want to do web programming, and has the widest hosting provider (ISP) support. Besides WordPress, Facebook also uses PHP.

After learning simple programming, build a web site for a CD collection inventory to learn basic HTML, CSS and database programming with MySQL.

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