Programming

The 10 Best Beginner Projects for New Programmers

Anthony Grant Updated 22-05-2020

There are so many things to wrap your mind around when you’re just starting out programming. If you’re not mastering PHP, you’re learning Python. If it’s not a programming language, it’s a new web framework.

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    You’ve got to start somewhere. When there’s so much to learn, where should you begin? The best way to sharpen your programming skills is by applying your knowledge to build coding projects.

    Whether you’re a beginner or you’re getting back into coding, here are the best programming projects to build your confidence and make you a better developer.

    Beginner Programming Projects

    If you’re an absolute beginner, you’ll want to know the basics of two web markup languages: HTML and CSS. Understanding the basics of HTML code 5 Steps to Understanding Basic HTML Code HTML is the backbone of every webpage. If you're a beginner, let us walk you through the basic steps to understanding HTML. Read More is the first thing you need to know about creating web apps.

    If you’re comfortable with the basics, you can venture out and create projects. The best projects end up being crash courses in coding themselves. They push the boundaries of what you already know and give you a practical exercise in whichever language you choose.

    These projects are simple, even if they’re not easy to make at first. You will walk away from with two things: a portfolio piece you can use to prove your ability and a better understanding of how powerful programming can be.

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    Some of these examples will use different languages like Java or JavaScript, but you can make them in any language you feel comfortable in.

    Let’s dive into some practical projects!

    1. Make Your Own Chess Game

    Building a chess game is a great way to take a classic game you may already know and turn it into a program. Chess makes for a fantastic starter piece—pun intended—towards a programming career.

    You’ll start by mapping out your board and your pieces. Then, you’ll go on to giving specific movements for your pieces. You’ll be forced to think of chess as a programmer, trying to turn concepts into algorithms a computer can understand. Check out the video to begin learning how to create your very own chess program in Java (and how to modify it to create your version).

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    It isn’t exactly a step by step tutorial to create the program, but it has great insight into how programmers think to build a complex project.

    If you’d prefer more video you can follow along with, take a look at these code-along YouTube channels to learn programming The 9 Best Code-Along YouTube Channels to Learn Programming Ready to start coding? These YouTube channels are a great way to get started in game, app, web, and other development. Read More .

    2. Code a Mobile App

    It’s important to be able to create interfaces that are mobile-device friendly. You don’t need anything other than HTML and CSS to create beautiful layouts that can be worked into an Android or iOS app. This project is important because it teaches you how to create an interface, not just coding logic.

    This tutorial shows you how easy it is to make a layout by creating a simple product card. This is a great way to practice your design skills. You don’t have to copy the code line by line, try giving it your own flavor and make it look how you want. There is no limit to the type of designs you can make using CSS.

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    3. Build Your Own Calculator

    A calculator is one of the most popular beginner projects to learn.  Creating a calculator gives you practice writing a layout, logic that reads numbers or symbols from the layout, and logic that processes the information to get a result. It’s simple enough to start and challenging enough to make you think when you test the calculator and realize what goes into it.

    JavaScript is a great language to pair with HTML and CSS to build this app.

     4. Create a To-Do List App

    Building a to-do list app is another great coding project to test your programming skills. It involves most of what you need to create a simple UI: buttons, animation, user interaction, and events.

    This video will walk you through the app using the big three—HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (learn more about JavaScript What Is JavaScript and How Does It Work? If you're learning web development, here's what you need to know about JavaScript and how it works with HTML and CSS. Read More )—you can upload it to a portfolio of your choice for showcasing. Try putting your own spin on it to challenge yourself.

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    5. Develop a Weight Conversion Tool

    A simple weight conversion tool is a great project for new developers. Much like the to-do list app, it will challenge you to create a layout and perform some logic that responds to the information input into the form. Keep in mind as you’re building projects that you should customize them how you like. Getting creative with beginner coding projects helps you discover your identity as a developer.

    The above example integrates Bootstrap into your project, which can be a great starter tool to help you create web apps.

    6. Code a Rock, Paper, Scissors Game

    Rock, Paper, Scissors is a classic game that can be turned into a programming challenge. It requires both user input and creating random elements. You’re creating both the game and the logic behind the robot you’re playing against.

    Additionally, it provides beginner coders with an interactive product you can pick up and play immediately. A little instant gratification goes a long way towards staying inspired. Since there are various graphic objects to interact with you can be as creative as you’d like!

    7. Build Your Own Tic Tac Toe Game

    Tic Tac Toe is a classic childhood game with straightforward rules. Building a Tic Tac Toe app is a little more challenging than it appears. Creating the layout is pretty simple, the logic is where it gets interesting. Programming the code to know when to end the game is sure to exercise your mind in the best way.

    Using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript you can learn how to create an unbeatable Tic Tac Toe bot.

    8. Web Scraper With Python

    Python is famous for how well it works for just about any coding project. You can use Python, along with a Python library called Beautiful Soup, to extract data from HTML and XML documents.

    This example of web scraping exports the data into a CSV file so you can use a program like Excel to create charts, graphs, plots, and more using your data. Python can do more than scraping HTML code. You can build Twitter, Instagram, or Reddit bots using Python How to Build Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit Bots Using Python Want to build your own social media bots? Here's how to auto-post updates to Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit using Python. Read More .

    You will need to download a Python distribution called Anaconda to build this project. It’s a large library with all kinds of tools built-in to use Python. Learning how to find and download helpful tools is going to be critical as you advance as a coder.

    9. Build a Basic HTML5 Website

    Few projects will teach you as much as building a full HTML and CSS website How to Create a Website in Minutes Using HTML5 Boilerplate Want to build a website with HTML5? Using the HTML5 Boilerplate is a good place to begin, and our tutorial is the place to get started. Read More . Creating a simple website combines design principles, file linking, web hosting, and coding logic. This is a great piece to include in your portfolio, especially if you’re on your way to becoming a web developer.

    The complexity of your website will grow the more you learn. Other programming languages you discover can be used on the back end of websites, making them a fantastic go-to when flexing your programming skills.

    10. Build a Simple JavaScript Slideshow

    Building a JavaScript slideshow is a fun little project that isn’t all that much work. This coding project is recommended because it teaches you the basics of interacting with the Document Object Model (DOM) in a browser and making your website dynamic.

    This project is valuable because it can be used over and over again. If you want to be a full-time web developer you may find yourself using something like this on many different websites with all kinds of designs. The logic remains the same so learning it here is highly recommended.

    Start Small, Think Big

    Programming projects snowball your coding skills. Pick up a project with HTML and CSS and soon you’re using JavaScript. Before long, you’ll be creating complex Python games and apps. It’s amazing what a steady, consistent flow of projects will do for your programming knowledge.

    Now you have 10 beginner coding projects to pick apart and piece together.  Choose one, two, or all, but whatever you do: get coding!

    Ready? It’s time to check the best sites for free online programming courses The 11 Best Sites for Free Online Computer Programming Courses Using these free online computer programming courses, you can become a great coder without a computer science degree. Read More .

    Explore more about: Coding Tutorials, CSS, HTML, Java, JavaScript, Programming Games, Programming Languages, Programming Tools, Python.

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    1. Matt
      October 17, 2018 at 6:17 am

      I like the choices here but IMHO I don't think the sequence of these would scaffold well for beginners.