I really got into some, so to say, “real” programming when I started studying in a local school of applied sciences. I completed a course that was named something like “Basics of Programming in Java”. I learned many new and interesting subjects. First thing you have to do when you are just starting is to learn how to set up the environment for the actual programming. You might be using Linux or maybe Windows as your PCs operating system. You might want to install an IDE which stands for Integrated Development Environment. You also have to install, if you are going with Java, Java. I recommend using NetBeans as your IDE. It enables you to do so many other things also.
Learning to make games is based on learning how to program. You have to master the basics first. Then you can slowly progress to some advanced matters. While studying programming you also get to see a lot about how the computer that runs all these games is actually working. This is one of the most interesting thing for me and it also motivates me. I have alwaýs been a bit of a holic learner. That means that I want to analyze what I am learning deeply and know the subject and figure out how it actually works. The opposite of this learning attitude is atomistic attitude. It means that the learner is learning some plain facts that are true about the subject being learned and trying to memorize these.
The picture related to this blog post represents the first Java book that I bought as I started my studies. It got me really far. It took me years to learn almost everything in this book. I haven’t fully stomached all of the contents. It has been about ten years since I bought this book. So that tells you a bit about the quality of the text. This book is now already a bit old. I think today Python has become more popular than Java for the first programming language.
Where you usually start in programming is that you learn what are variables, how you construct the code with control structures, like if-else-statements, how to use the most common functions that the language provides, how to read in text from user and how to print it and also how basic arrays are used. This small list doesn’t include everything. How I started was that I basically started a short course. Then I started a bit more advanced course. And then another course about object oriented programming. Since we are talking about Java OOP is important. I think with Python this subject isn’t as important.
Programming is only one part of what a graduated software developer has to know to be able to work professionally. While studying I learned a lot about databases, user centered development, testing, communications, foreign languages, physics, electronics, mathematics and so on. I took a course about processors also. I deepened my knowledge in software development as I had to choose my main subject from telecommunications, embedded systems and software. This choice was made after one and a half years of studying.
One thing I would like point out about studying. When it is summer the school is closed. You have to figure how are you going to spend the time. You might be working. You might want to take some remote courses like I did. Just don’t be too lazy andjust try make use of this time somehow. Otherwise it might be hard to start working on your studies again when the summer is over. So keep that in mind. Resting is required but a pause too long can be harmful.
A huge part of getting employed is how well you understand what it takes to be a professional. You have to find the best frameworks and the most useful programming languages. Teachers know a lot but always someone knows a lot about one thing and someone else knows a lot about other thing. Keep your eye on the companies that are doing the things that you would be interested doing. Make some hobby projects to display your skills. It might be a good idea to share your projects in for example GitHub. And remember to build your resume. You can even add some supplement pages that give the employer an idea about your skills.
If you are going to study programming keep in mind that it takes time. Keep your focus. It’s a long road. Go for it if you really are interested in it.