Getting started with programming & which language?

I’ve finally decided to learn how to code. It’s something that I’ve always thought about doing but never really got around to doing. If I could turn back time, I would’ve done a Business & Computing degree instead of Business & Politics. I’m now working in an e-commerce startup doing digital marketing (SEO & content). Surrounded by web technologies everyday, I ought to know more really.

What did I know so far?

I don’t know any progamming language, just simple front-end languages. I was obsessed with NeoPets when I was 12. I would customise my shop and guilds in NeoPets with HTML, CSS and a tiny bit of Javascript. That was my first encounter with web technologies, the tutorial I used from NeoPets is still available online. I also built websites for fun on GeoCities. In secondary school I picked up a book on building social networking websites with Rails and never got through the first chapter. In polytechnic I had modules on HTML and CSS. Now I use HTML everyday as part of my work as an SEO, and very basic copy & paste scripts on google spreadsheets (e.g. remove duplicates). I don’t know how to use the command line or write Javascript from scratch. I just knew how to create and edit webpages, and wished I could build some functionality in them.

Which language to learn?

I did a bit of research and was contemplating between Python or Ruby. These are beginner-friendly languages that’s easy to learn but are powerful. In the end, I went with Ruby as it’s more magical. I understood the ‘magic’ after doing the 30mins Ruby on Rails blog tutorial. The disadvantage of Ruby (for me) is that a Mac is better suited to programming in Ruby. I’m a windows user and have just got a Surface Pro – I didn’t think I was going to learn how to code in Ruby last year! I installed Ruby on Rails on windows and tried going through tutorials – not good. I’m now using a cloud-based IDE, cloud9 and it works great. I hope to learn Python after a year or two, after I get better at Ruby. In my family, my brother knows Python and C (he’s science-y), my dad Haskell (he did a computing degree that taught him that). Different strokes for different folks!

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Credit: UpGuard

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