A Beginner’s Guide to Computer Programming

Computism, by Grace Magny-Fokam
4 min readJul 26, 2022

A beginner’s guide to what computer programming is and how to start your journey as a programmer.

Computers have such a vast range of capabilities. They allow us to do nearly anything, from simple word processing to running complex, multifaceted video games. However, despite the incredible capabilities of modern computing, computers need to be given instructions by humans to do all of these things. It would be great if computers could understand natural languages like humans, but since they can’t, humans must use programming to instruct computers.

What’s Computer Programming?

Computer Programming is when professionals write code to give computers instructions on how to perform specific tasks. Our main goal when programming is to give a computer the right instructions so it can perform whatever task we need and produce the desired outcome. Every computer function that you can think of was created using computer programming. Programming can be used to do things like creating files, doing simple math, and even building websites.

When they decide to start programming, professionals usually end up choosing a programming language to use. This decision is often based on what task the programmer is trying to complete. There are a plethora of programming languages out there but some of the most commonly used ones are:

  • Python
  • JavaScript
  • Java
  • C++
  • C#

I’d like to go over these 5 languages in more detail and give my own rating of how difficult each language is for beginners to learn on a scale of 1–5 (5 being the hardest).

Python

Python is one of the most beginner-friendly programming languages out there. It’s very easy to learn, it has a ton of libraries, and it has very simple and easy-to-understand syntax. Python is often used for back-end web development, as well as data science and machine learning.

Difficulty Rating: 1/5 stars

JavaScript

JavaScript is often used when building the interactive elements of websites. It’s used in tandem with HTML and CSS in web development. JavaScript is also very effective in mobile app development.

Source: Tutorial Republic

Difficulty Rating: 1/5 stars

Java

Java is used in enterprise development, specifically application and web development. Java’s syntax is a little more complex than Python’s (hence the higher difficulty rating) yet it’s still relatively easy to learn and is a very useful skill for beginner programmers to cultivate.

Source: Raygun

Difficulty Rating: 2/5 stars ⭐⭐

C++

C++ is an object-oriented programming language that is largely considered to be the fastest there is. However, it’s also considered to be one of the hardest to learn. C++’s robustness and speed make it a very in-demand skill at FAANG companies. C++ is used in making GUI-based applications. Many popular applications including Google Chrome were written in C++.

Difficulty Rating: 4/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

C#

C# is a multi-purpose object-oriented programming language that was built as an extension of C. Its syntax and functionality bear a very close resemblance to Java. C# is fully integrated with Microsoft’s .NET software framework and offers a large code library. It’s commonly used for Windows app development.

Difficulty Rating: 4/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐

Choosing a Programming Language

As aforementioned, your choice when choosing what programming languages to learn or used should be primarily based on what you plan to use that language for. Every language has its own strengths and weaknesses and there’s no such thing as the perfect language so choosing one that works well with your personal interests is key.

Online Resources

In a world where the field of computer science is becoming increasingly popular, there are many free online resources that you can use to self-learn how to program in your language of choice. Here are some of my favorites:

This website is great because it offers free, self-paced online courses that teach you numerous in-demand skills like back-end development, data visualization, and so much more. FreeCodeCamp also has a YouTube channel where they teach you how to program in Python, JavaScript, and many other languages.

EdX offers massive open online courses (MOOCs) from notable universities like Harvard and MIT. On this platform, you can find free courses about pretty much anything, including computer science and programming.

HackerRank is a platform that many programmers use to practice and sharpen their programming skills. It’s also really useful for learning how to program in different languages.

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