Programming Resources

Part of being a Computer Science major is having to not only code in class or on assignments, but to practice as much as you can in your free time. Computer Science is a field of constant learning and change, and therefore more and more resources are becoming available for even the average person with zero programming experience. Below I explain a few of the methods I have used to help develop my programming skills.

 

If you’re like me at all, then you hate having to learn out of a textbook in a quiet library. I seek a more visual learning environment with examples for hands-on experience. Therefore, just reading an article on how to do something isn’t enough for me when I strive to learn something new. Instead, I look for tutorials on YouTube or in the video section of Google. From there, just following along to the video doing everything the instructor does is far more of a learning experience than just reading about it.

One site I have used in the past for tutorials is TeamTreehouse.com. This friendly site has what they call “Tracks” for practically anything programming related from Web Design to Video Game Development. In these tutorials, you follow along to a video and essentially try and do what they do on the screen. Not only that, they have quizzes and tests available that you must pass to continue forward in the Track. This site has a multitude of resources available from source code and recommended software to tech support and a help desk. There is only one downside that I see to this site, and for a college student like myself, it’s a pretty big one. It’s not free. You must register for an active subscription after the seven day free trial if you wish to continue with their Tracks. All in all, this site I would recommend for the beginner programmer who would spare no expense to learn all they could in the field of Computer Science.

However, there are free resources out there for the broke student such as myself. A huge favorite of mine has been CodeAcademy.com. This site is free with the option to upgrade to a Pro membership by paying for a subscription. What is available for free is quite a lot however. They have multiple courses on everything from HTML and JavaScript to Python and Ruby programming languages. While the courses do not have videos to follow along, they do have a dashboard and console where you can write the program examples and then check your progress before submitting the code. Each lesson has its own examples that you must pass before continuing forward, and there are friendly hints to help whenever you get stuck. While not as large as TeamTreehouse, this site is still an awesome source for even the beginner programmer who may be interested in a career in Web Development and other related fields. Apart from these sites, a simple Google search will often return sites specializing in source code and information about specific programming languages. Such is the case with CPlusPlus.com. My college classes often use the C++ programming language when teaching, and it was the first language I learned how to code. This site in particular has been a huge help in giving me examples and definitions for my college classes, and I owe much of my success in those classes to this site and sites similar to this one. I highly recommend that if you are learning a particular programming language, especially in school, Google search that language and I guarantee sites such as CPlusPlus.com will be available to help with examples and information.

I have found throughout my short programming career the site CodeAcademy.com to be the most beneficial to me and my programming skills. Using the tutorials available on their site, I have been able to build a website from scratch using HTML and CSS code and refresh my skills using the UNIX command prompt. Also, when I had a subscription through TeamTreehouse.com I was able to build a simple video game and an Android Crystal Ball application by simply following along with their tutorials.

Following along is only half the process however. One must be able to absorb the information and reproduce it on their own to practice and develop that particular skill. Writing down notes, attempting projects on your own, and going back over the tutorials are just a few of my recommendations. I hope these recommendations reach someone who was once like me struggling to learn and wondering if this field was the right field of study to be pursuing. Most of all, I hope someone will take advantage of these resources to help progress their programming career much like I am attempting to do.

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