Getting started in computer programming requires finding and learning the required knowledge as well as acquiring the tools that are necessary to actually create a program. A computer programmer must know how the operating system and the hardware of a computer function. Some knowledge of computer theory is needed to understand the complexities of programming, as well as a good understanding of basic mathematical concepts. The tools needed for computer programming are an adequate computer, a compiler and most likely an integrated development environment (IDE). Finally, books, tutorials and patience complete all of the elements required to get started in computer programming.
One of the most important tools to learn to use before all else is the computer and the operating system that will be for programming. Programming requires knowledge of how the file system works, how the hard drive works and at least a basic knowledge of how the internal electronics operate. Compilers and other tools will use low-level parts of a system that are not normally accessed by standard users. Knowing the operating system and the computer is vital.
Computer programming tools are much more demanding on a computer than most other applications. All allowable system resources can eventually be consumed by the suite of development tools. For this reason, it is important to have a computer that will be able to simultaneously run an IDE, a compiler, a debugger and possibly the program being written.
When starting to learn computer programming, the first decision is which language to learn. There are many programming languages. Although some are industry mainstays, others are used only for specific purposes. Numerous people begin learning with an object-oriented interpreted language. These languages allow a new programmer to focus exclusively on the logical and structural aspects of programming without worrying about details such as memory allocation or input and output.
After coding has started, it is important to focus on learning the basics of data structures and algorithms. Data structures are the heart of a program. They are responsible for storing data, collating data and maintaining a relevant connection to the user and other processes. Algorithms are vital because they are the sequence of operations that allows a program to manipulate the data effectively. Without knowledge in these areas, the programs created will remain nothing but trivial exercises.
One of the best courses for getting started in computer programming is to attend computer science and programming classes. These classes not only provide a comprehensive overview of all needed information, they also can allow access to programming resources that might be hard to acquire otherwise. If a career in computer programming is the ultimate goal of learning, then there are a host of certifications that can be gained through testing that will act as evidence of proficiency in whatever field of programming is ultimately chosen.