Career / Career Progression

Intro to Programming

by Dan
Intro to Programming picture: A
Published on March 4, 2019

Artists create. Architects, builders, writers, they all create. Programmers are in this exclusive club of creators. Programming is one of the few career choices that will allow you to use both sides of your brain. You'll use the right side to be creative as you think of ways to find a solution to an opportunity, and then you'll use the left side to be analytical and systematic in your approach to the solution. It's a very rewarding endeavor. Each project you work on will evolve over your time spent to be a living creature, something you can be proud of.

Programmers are experts. Programmers are smart. Also known as developers, a programmer's day can be super flexible. You can work for yourself, or work for any company that has an Internet presence, which really is another way of saying "any company in the world". It's a business job, a technical job, a people job, and a creative and artistic job. It's whatever you want it to be. It becomes aligned with where your passions and desires take you. Do you love video games? You could work on any game on any platform. Do you want to help people, change the world, do real good? You can find opportunities to be a huge help to any of those efforts. Are you someone always looking for problems that you can fix? This is one way to define an entrepreneur. The path to starting a business begins with a need, proceeds to a solution, and then becomes a business when you can help people with the solution you've created. Programming is a very special career that is accessible to anyone who wants it.

The videos that follow were created by CBT Nuggets instructor Ben Finkel. Ben is an engaging trainer with a passion for his craft. He does a great job of relating to the learner and inspiring while he teaches. Watch these videos below to see how easily programming could be your future. This training is available free of charge. If you'd like to see more programming training, please visit CBT Nuggets.

Video 1: Intro (3:17)

Computers are amazing, people more so. A CPU will never be as amazing as a human brain. A computer is a simple tool, like a piano. A piano, like a computer, can be a giant paperweight, but in the hands of Mozart, it can make people feel. It can make them laugh and make them cry. The question we need to ask then is where the genius is? Where is the passion? Where is the quality that can change the world? Is it in the piano, or is it in Mozart? Programmers use their tool to express their passion, and the possibilities are limitless.

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Video 2: Professional Education (3:52)

Do I need a college degree? The short answer is yes, but you don't have to wait until you have your degree to learn, have fun, and make really cool apps and projects. Learning practical skills today will help you keep your passion and inspiration strong. Life is built on confidence. We want to do something, we think we aren't capable, our interest wanes. Conversely, we get excited about something, dip our toe in the water, realize we can do it, and our excitement takes us to the next step.

• • •

Video 3: Programming Jobs (7:22)

Many people see a job as something you have to do to get money. Programmers get money and they get to do something they love. Never underestimate the difference between "have to" and "get to" and it's importance in life. Love what you do.

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Video 4: How to get Started Programming (6:26)

Like many seemingly daunting challenges we face, once you take the first step, the second step seems easy. If you want to do 100 pushups, start by doing 1. Ben will show you how you can be sailing along before you have the chance to be intimidated.

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Video 5: Writing your First Program (8:53)

It's easy, but it's amazing how it makes you feel when you do it. Writing that first program makes you feel like you can do it. And you can! Don't worry about understanding everything you type right now, you will in time. There's no hurry. Ben shows you here just how easy programming actually is.

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Video 6: Programming Languages (8:00)

Computers understand 0s and 1s, and that's it. We need to feed the computer what it wants, but what we create, the source that we write has to make sense to us humans. What we understand is the programming language, what the computer understands is machine language. There's a compiler in the middle that is the translator. That's the basic paradigm, but of course life is never that simple. Ben explains the complexity in an easy to understand way.

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Video 7: Which Language Should I learn? (8:46)

You can't learn them all, but you don't need to. If you live in the United States, learn English. If you live in France, learn French. With programming, it's a similar decision. Decide what type of program you want to write, and Ben will point you to the language that makes sense. If you don't know what you will want or what you will do and just want to start with something that is broadly used and will be useful regardless of what you end up doing, start with Python. Ben breaks down the decision nicely in this video. Watch this video now, and then after you watch Ben's Python series, come back and watch this again. It'll amaze you how your perspective changes.

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Video 8: Programmers and Teamwork (7:57)

The Internet is an incredible resource, and it's hard to imagine it benefits anyone more than a programmer. There are chat communities, forums, help articles and tutorials everywhere. What a fantastic safety net to be doing your job with a safety net of millions of people like you standing behind you waiting to be helpful when you need help. Ben will show you how programming is a team sport.

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Video 9: Programming in the Real World (11:13)

Ben gives you a glimpse of what it looks like to be a programmer. He walks you through installing and using Visual Studio. It's exciting to imagine yourself in the future looking at the screen he's looking at, and confidently knowing what everything means and does. You'll get there, but for now, just sit back and enjoy the fantasy.

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Video 10: Next Steps, Get Started (3:37)

Are you pumped? Let's do it!

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Here's what you should do next:

  • Validate what you learned today by taking the 10-question Intro to Programming quiz. There's one question from each video. Pay close attention. Pass the quiz to earn your certificate of completion. The quiz isn't timed, so you can even go back to the videos and review.

  • Sign up at CBT Nuggets for a monthly subscription. The first week is free.

  • Commit to training for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. You'll be surprised what you can learn in 10 hours per month.


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