5 Lessons to Become a Really Good Self-Taught Programmer
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Programmers are more fun to date. Okay, that may not be completely true, and it shouldn’t be the sole reason to become a programmer, but it’s something to consider. Why do you want to be a programmer?

For one, it could be the most important job in the future. Even though crystal gazing comes with risks, this is one conclusion based on data from sites like LinkedIn. The top 10 skills are all related to technology:

“While some skills expire every couple of years, our data strongly suggest that tech skills will still be needed for years to come, in every industry.”

Learn programming logic to get the first foothold. Become a self-taught programmer to stay competitive in any industry. These five Udemy courses in our continuing series will help you have a full understanding of the how and why of code.

1. Learn Flowcharting and Pseudocode. Be a better programmer!

Key lesson: Learn the two major computer programming tools even before you code.

Pseudocode is the essence of a program. It is not the actual algorithm but an informal definition of what will go into the program. Think of it as the map of the city. The “city” is the actual program. And we all know what a flowchart is — the diagram that shows you the flow of the program. You can make them on paper or use the many free flowchart tools 7 Best Free Flowchart Tools for Windows 7 Best Free Flowchart Tools for Windows Flowcharts can help you streamline your work and life and break free from bad habits. But what's the best way to make a flowchart? We've found 7 great flowchart tools. Read More available today.

Learn Flowcharting and Pseudocode

These two skills will go into your toolbox. As the description of the course says, you can use them to take a task or problem, break it down into its parts and accurately present the solution in either flowchart or pseudocode format.

The six-hour course will not ask you to write any code in a specific programming language. It will only make you understand how any problem can be solved with a series of logical steps. The lessons learned will allow you to take on any programming language with confidence.

2. Become a Successful Programmer Without a Degree

Key lesson: How to master professional programming on your own.

You hear news of tweens and teens turning out successful apps. Yes, you don’t need to graduate from a top-tier university to become a programmer and get a job. Or dream of a tech career with a liberal arts background How To Turn A Liberal Arts Degree Into A Great Tech Career How To Turn A Liberal Arts Degree Into A Great Tech Career If you're interested in technology, a Liberal Arts degree can be a great thing to have. The trick is to play to your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, and realize you are capable of contributing. Read More . Programming as an industry offers a low barrier to entry but tests you on your ability to solve and devise solutions to real practical problems.

The course is short — only an hour in duration. But it will give you the direction and a blueprint to work your way into the tech industry. It will also make you think about the reasons you want to be a coder in the first place. The crux of the course is on the concepts you need to master and the entry-level certifications you need to get to fill the gaps in a resume.

3. The Complete 5 Volume Series: If You Can Cook, You Can Code

Key lesson: Understand how programming works (with analogies from cooking).

Programmers should learn to cook. Or cooks should learn to program. Alas, in the real world it rarely pans out like that. But, if you are a good cook and a programming beginner then you will see the similarities. Because both skills need two basic things: ingredients and preparation.

The analogy isn’t remarkable. It has been said before. Timothy Kenny has turned it into a course that is a bundle of modules. He is a self-taught programmer so he knows where you are coming from. Start with the basics, then peek into Python. Then, uncover hardware concepts and finally round it off with Big Data and Artificial Intelligence.

More than anything else, this supercourse will tell you where your true interests lie. Then, you can decide which niche to focus on.

4. Fundamentals of Programming

Key lesson: Understand the core concepts of good programming.

There are easy programming languages 6 Easiest Programming Languages to Learn for Beginners 6 Easiest Programming Languages to Learn for Beginners Learning to program is about finding the right language just as much as it's about the edification process. Here are the top six easiest programming languages for beginners. Read More you can learn. There are also tough ones you need to tackle later on. But all code shares some common concepts, especially when we talk about object oriented programming. You can take a peek into the world of iOS app and game development while learning the basics. You can then decide if Swift is for you or you would prefer an alternative development environment.

The course is short enough to give you the confidence to plunge ahead. But do bear in mind that Swift has moved ahead and the course is awaiting an update. The course is well-rated but there are other Udemy classes you can pick up on Swift programming Master iOS 10 Programming With 5 Swift Classes Master iOS 10 Programming With 5 Swift Classes Are you thinking of getting get into app development? Maybe, you are still undecided between Android or iOS? Take these Udemy classes to understand the potential of iOS 10 programming. Read More .

5. The Non-Technical Person’s Guide to Building Products & Apps

Key lesson: Launch your product idea cheaply, quickly, and easily.

You may have got the itch to build your own app or online service. You just don’t want to put in the effort to learn all the different languages for it. Or you want to add a touch of business acumen to your programming skills. Coding isn’t for everyone Coding Isn't For Everyone: 7 Tech Jobs You Can Get Without It Coding Isn't For Everyone: 7 Tech Jobs You Can Get Without It Don't be discouraged if you want to be a part of the tech field -- there are plenty of jobs for people who don't know how to code! Read More , but as an entrepreneur, you can take part in its money-making potential. Get some business and startup concepts under your belt.

Build Apps

Learning to code well takes years. Learning to make money with an idea is quicker. This course will show you how to test and launch your ideas without anyone else’s help. The 15 hours of instruction are also useful for any fledgling programmer because it will involve them in the economic potential of their skill and any future idea. Startups or even side hustles start this way.

Why Do You Want to Code?

This is the first answer you should seek. After that, everything can fall into place. If you are still undecided, do a few experiments. Take on one of the courses or even the many free lessons on Udemy or try the practical coding projects Learn With Coding Projects: 9 Udemy Courses for the Beginner Programmer Learn With Coding Projects: 9 Udemy Courses for the Beginner Programmer The real difficulty is finding good programming tutorials and courses that not only teach you the necessary skills, but do so with practical projects. That's where Udemy steps in. Read More .

Turn coding a hobby and see if you enjoy the complete learning process, especially the parts where you get frustrated with the logic or a bug. These Udemy courses are not as in-depth as a computer science degree. But they will allow you to learn fast or fail forward so that you can quickly go on to the next thing.

Also, on Udemy every paid course you take comes with:

  • Lifetime access.
  • 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • Certificate of completion.

What made you fall in love with programming? If you are a beginner programmer, are there any fears holding you back?

Image Credit: shawn_hempel/Depositphotos

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  1. Mike
    December 13, 2017 at 12:21 am

    Programming is just like learning a spoken language. You don't learn Spanish in a week, you won't learn programming in a week either. Just like spoken languages it takes time and practice, but given enough time almost anyone can learn enough to make a script, then a mini-app and then a simple program. And like any other skills some are savants (those that have an almost magical gift) and others who have to sweat blood to get a competent level of proficiency. Unless you want to be an Olympic programmer (the area where savants rule) you just have to settle with being OK, unless you want to devote every waking moment to drive yourself into their rarified heights.

  2. Ramesh I
    November 23, 2017 at 6:07 am

    Some of the information in the article, like learning flowcharting and pseudocode, or "if you can cook, you can code" logic isn't applicable in real life situations anymore. I also disagree with the view that one can become a successful programmer without a degree, as a B.E. / B. Tech. in CS does give a good foundation on how to start programming, using logical thinking, besides getting one into good programming practices through various projects. However, it's not to say that a CS graduate would be the best programmer, while a Diploma holder will not. It's got to do a lot with one's own thinking and aptitude too, as in my career beginning as a programmer to an Project / IT Manager, I have seen enough CS graduates flounder with coding, while some Diploma holders have excelled in it.
    Programming is a lot tougher in languages like C or C++, and relatively easier with IDEs like VB / VC++ or Java IDEs which provide enough tools to help with coding.
    This article seems a not-so-subtle advertisement for Udemy courses, and not a primer on programming per se.

  3. Doc
    November 21, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    "5. The Non-Technical Person’s Guide to Building Products & Apps" - This link is broken (a double "H" in the "https://" prefix). Please fix.

    • Saikat Basu
      November 21, 2017 at 4:13 pm

      Thanks for spotting that. Fixed.

  4. E. Douglas Jensen
    November 21, 2017 at 1:07 am

    "Coding bootcamps" (and their ilk) make no more sense than surgery bootcamps.

  5. Charles H Luck
    November 17, 2017 at 5:32 am

    I was a "legacy" mainframe application programmer for thirty years and I was laid off two years ago, 7 years short of retirement. I spent a year trying to learn a variety of C based programming languages only to learn that I now hate programming. I would go back to COBOL/CICS coding, but I'm not an Indian hence there are no jobs to be had.

  6. Alex Gordon
    November 17, 2017 at 3:57 am

    This article is absolute nonsense. I've been a programmer for the last 15 years, and I find this to be bs.

    • An experienced development consultant
      November 17, 2017 at 4:52 am

      This is not the first in a recent series of utterly terrible articles on programming on this site. Presumably they’re just trying to increase traffic. This is my last read: whole site blocked from my feeds now.

      • Saikat Basu
        November 19, 2017 at 6:25 am

        As Dragonmouth says in the followup comment, any constructive criticism is always welcome. It can only help us improve. None of us are really perfect, are we?

    • dragonmouth
      November 17, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      @Alex Gordon & An experienced development consultant :
      I do agree with your sentiments. However, instead of making a blanket statements that the article sucks, point out where it is wrong or inaccurate. That may force future articles to present a more realistic view of programming for a living.

    • Saikat Basu
      November 19, 2017 at 6:24 am

      Thanks for your feedback, Alex. The article is about the basic courses available on Udemy. The article is not about programming per se, but it is on the jumping off points that an online educational platform like Udemy provides.

  7. David
    November 16, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    Interesting that you include flowcharting as a key to becoming a really good programmer. I agree that flowcharting can help flesh out some logic that seems to be just outside your grasp. But gone are the days when it was considered essential to flowchart before you code. Is it useful? Yeah. Is it key to become a really good programmer? Nope. I think the key point here should be to plan out your overall architecture using any means that your learning style comprehends.

  8. dragonmouth
    November 16, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    "3. The Complete 5 Volume Series: If You Can Cook, You Can Code"
    How does one relate to the other? I can program but I can't cook to save my life.
    Oh, I see! You're talking about coding, not programming.

    Coding = using someone else's program as a framework. Pretty much automatic.
    Programming = writing a program from scratch. Involves creativity.

    • James
      November 16, 2017 at 8:51 pm

      That's it even accurate. Which coding can have a negative connotation, it generally is descriptive of someone who writes code without having the full understanding of what they are writing. Sure they may Google "how do I do this" and copy methods and implementations into their own code, but there is nothing automatic about it, and it is also still a leaning tool. I use other people's examples when I get stuck, and then break it down and play with it/learn about it until I understand it.

      Personally I think it just elitists who like to look down on people still progressing through their self taught programming education by calling them coders in the derogatory sense and shows the childish mentality behind these "programmers".

      • dragonmouth
        November 16, 2017 at 10:24 pm

        "coding can have a negative connotation"
        Only if you attach negative connotations to it.

        Instead of being proud of learning programming on your own, you put yourself down for not knowing your chosen language(s) fluently. No matter what the MUO articles say and no matter what various online sites that claim to teach programming assure you, it takes a couple of years of programming in the real world to become a programmer. Until then you are a coder. If anybody tries to tell you that you can be a programmer in weeks or months, they're BS'ing you. That is not elitism, that is realism.

        Schools and course teach you theory, rules and basics. Only real life situations teach you how to apply all of that. Do plumbers come out of plumbing courses as Master Plumbers? No, they do not. They have to go through an apprentice period and a journeyman period before they are allowed to take the test for a Masters certificate. When you were learning how to drive, you spent a certain amount of time with a learner's permit. Even after you got your driver's license, you were not an experienced driver able to handle all situations. Even after 30+ years of programming in assorted languages, every once in a while I have to ask a co-worker to help out with a stubborn bit of program logic.

        • Som Harsh
          November 17, 2017 at 2:53 am

          Thanks for the awesome example of plumber

        • Saikat Basu
          November 19, 2017 at 6:33 am

          Very well put. I was reading about the "Four Stages of Competence" in learning and how it relates to our learning struggles. It's something I often fail to keep front and center and give up when I don't see progress fast enough. The "apprenticeship" period is when we swing between conscious incompetence and conscious competence.