This article is Part Two of a two part series! Click here for Part One!
Once upon a time I used to believe some of these things…
It is important to bash these misconceptions fast and get started on learning how to code. Don’t let a few misleading ideas keep you from learning a new skill which is fast becoming the most important skill of the century. Don’t put off working on your minimum viable product for that world-changing idea that’s been in your head for months or even years. The idea came to you for a reason. Embrace this and keep reading.
6. “All programming languages are created equal.”
Programming languages are wonderful. I love how there are so many! It’s like a kid in a candy store for me- lover of languages and syntax…but seriously, there are so many, and how do you choose? And are they just all different ways of doing the same thing?
Well, yes, and no at the same time. Some people think that you can just choose the language that suits you best because you can do the same thing with different languages. This is true in some cases, but in other cases- your problem can prescribe the exact language for you as well.
And they are not all equal- meaning- there are limited languages that do only one thing, and there are languages with multipurpose capabilities.
There is also that fundamental difference between high level and low level languages.
The languages that are closer to machine code are the “low-level languages” and they are typically more difficult to learn than the “high-level languages” which are easier to read and learn.
An example of a low-level language is C and an example of a high level language is Ruby or Python. There is so much more to learn about languages and the nuances- and Two Non Techies will be outlining very specific details about all the popular languages in our Non-Techies Guide to programming languages. I can’t cover everything here in this post, but just know, there are many different levels of programming languages.
7. “HTML is a programming language.”
Yeah I wish…. but no. A lot of web designers say they are programmers because they can “code” in HTML and know a bit of design using CSS. However, HTML is not a programming language. During our course of study, this was made very clear to us by programmers- over and over again. It is a markup language. It sets up a structure for the web using tags that allow you to mark-up your content.
Programming is more about solving problems than just creating a structural framework, or styling a webpage.
9. “Software Engineers = Hackers = Programmers.”
Just like there are many different species of flowers out there, there are many species of programmers. There are hackers.
There are good and bad hackers who actually hack secure environments to reveal holes, there are hackers who hack in order to do “bad” things…. there are white hat hackers and there are black hat hackers.
There are also “hackers” as the start-up world calls them- just start-up guys (or gals) who code and build start-up companies- these are also not the same as the hackers I mentioned previously- they don’t hack into places– they hack things together… two very different actions.…
There are the software engineers. They usually work for some large company and develop software.
Yeah, like I said. Different species.
10. “You have to learn how to code in C first before starting any new language.”
Not exactly. C is a good foundation, but it isn’t the easiest of languages to learn and it isn’t the most results oriented either.
You might need to learn some basic concepts like variables, strings, functions and more- that are embedded in the C language and its offspring- in order to code in any language, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to learn how to code well in C first.
I highly recommend learning several languages at the same time too, if you have the stamina. That’s how I am doing it, and I see a lot of parallels and my stimulated brain keeps up better with the lessons.
You don’t have to learn the basics and foundations of computer science before approaching a high level language like Python or Ruby.
I know a bunch of start-up people who taught themselves how to code in Python/Django or Ruby on Rails right away in order to “hack together” an idea they had in mind. It is possible- using the resources out there on the internet in the form of online textbooks and classes- to jump right into these high level languages.
Remember, “high level” language is just a fancy term the describes languages that are farther away from or higher up in the chain from machine code- and is “easier” to read and to learn.
If you want to hack something together ASAP, you can learn Ruby in 30 days if you want, and build something. Of course, if you want to become a better programmer, you should definitely hit those fundamentals one day, but I am just saying, it’s not like you need those right away just to put something together.
Enjoyed this? Click here for Part One!
Latest posts by Jesicka Labud (see all)
- 10 Common Misconceptions About Programming- Part II - September 25, 2013
- Still Looking for Techie to Do Your Work For You? Not me. - September 13, 2013
- 10 Common Misconceptions About Programming- Part I - September 9, 2013
- When You Feel Like Giving Up Most: Please Don’t. - August 19, 2013