Getting Started in Programming

What are some things I need to know when I am just starting out as a programmer?

So you wanna be a software developer and the two questions are, what do I have to do and what do I have to know? I’m gonna answer those for you right now, stay with me.

I’m gonna answer two very important questions, what do I have to know and what do I have to do to become a software developer and first, let’s start with what do I have to know. And there is a ton of information on what you need to know but I’m gonna tell you, you need to know about the front-end. When we talk about the front-end of web development in particular, we’re talking about what’s running in the browser.

When we’re talking about the backend or the server-side, we’re talking about what’s running on the serve and so the browser is talking to a server is talking to the browser is talking to the server. And so what’s running in the browser, very simply, is HTML or HTML 5 typically today, CSS for design, and JavaScript is really the programming language that we’re using to manage the logic in the browser or on the front-end.

On the backend, could be almost anything running on the web server. In the company that we have, we use Java primarily but we use other stuff too. PHP, and you know, other people use Python and C Sharp and many other backend languages and there, this is where we’re talking on the backend, there, is where we talk to the database. And the database is an SQL database that’s typically Microsoft SQL server, IBM DB2, Oracle database, you know, My SQL, Postgres and there are a slew of others.

Those are, I think the ones I mentioned, any one of those would be really key to focus on if you’re looking at backend at this point. Understanding what a web server actually is is something to do some Google work on, do some Google searching. There is so many. You know, Apache is a big famous one, it’s a great place to start. So consider that.

So I wanna just read a few things here from my handy dandy notecards and there are a lot of courses, there are a lot of schools and code camps and places and tutorials that are geared to helping people get started and learn what they need to learn, some help find jobs and so on. But, you know,, community college programs and Udemy or offer tutorials,, university programs. If you’re already in school, that’s great.,,,, And that’s a short, small sample.

You can do some research on your own and find a good place to learn. I think tutorials are a great place to start. If you get addicted to programming, you’ll probably find that when you start to work with tutorials and I think being addicted to sitting at your computer and trying to figure things out where the programming language is a great way to indicate to yourself that you are wanting to be a programmer, that you could actually do that.

So the internet is a great place to research and you know, there’s not a lack of information there. It’s a lack of structure. In fact, we have information overload coming at us. I mean, if you go to the browser and type learn to program in JavaScript, you’ll be overwhelmed by the response that Doctor Google gives you back. So you gotta be mindful. And what I’m telling you here is extremely important. I have a thing that I call the 10/90 principle and that is that software development is 10% research, 10. And 90% walking that research out in the form of practice, practice, practice. So 10% research, 90% practice equals results, getting to being a programmer.

And so, that’s a little bit about what you need to learn. And there are many technologies and I mentioned some of them. Some things to think about, some JavaScript frameworks and this is all, you know, anything that’s going on in the browser with regards to JavaScript generally involves a framework. You know, Ext JS from Sencha is a framework, of course we talked HTML and HTML 5 and CSS. Android and java development is a front-end, obviously for Android devices. Vue.js, ember.js, ionic is really cool. Angular from the various flavors it has.

Cordova and Phonegap for taking your JavaScript and making hybrid native apps. React.js, if you’re new and you’re considering a JavaScript framework, I think that’s a great place to start. React native for creating react for mobile devices. On the backend, java, java spring which is a framework for java, same thing applies.

Now, frameworks, by the way, framework is another way of saying, “I’m gonna solve three problems and introduce one.” So if you do the math there, it’s still a really good deal to invest in learning a framework. Everywhere you work, there’s going to be a framework and I wanna say that knowing a framework is especially important and it’s really valuable to your employers and to your work history and to your ability to find your first and next job.

Java Hibernate, CC sharp and C++, Ruby and Ruby [inaudible 00:05:21], Python, PHP, no JS, Express JS and [inaudible 00:05:26] and so many others JavaScript variants on the backend. You know, and then you need to understand source control in the form of get. You can go to and get a free account. Some version is still out, fairly widely popular, out in the real world of software development. There’s some IDEs and things that you need to program with. Netbeans, Microsoft VS code, ADOM, Webstorm, Sublime, Eclipse, digital studio and of course, there’s no SQL which is basically saying, I can hit the database but I’m not gonna use SQL to do it, I’m gonna use JSON which are JavaScript object notation.

But my point in all of this flurry with the cards just to make a very important point, there is a lot to learn but I want you to learn one thing at a time or one set of disciplines at a time like if you’re gonna learn about react of if you’re gonna learn about the core language of JavaScript, don’t learn it from 10 different places, don’t try to learn oracle and react all at the same time. Stick with one thing at a time, move on to the next thing.

And then the next thing you gotta do is you gotta be able to demonstrate competence and produce a body of work. So if you go to, you can open up a free account and as you’re working on things and you’re learning things, you can put them up on and this is how you can show people what you’ve learned to do and if you’re looking to get a first job, this is a really hard one, I’ll do a whole video on this. But remember, there are four million programmers in the world today, according to my last Google search. And all four million of us had a first job. So don’t let that first job scare you, it may take some time, it may take some devotion, it may take patience. It will take all of those but you can get a first job.

Anyway, that’s a little bit about what you need to know and what you have to do.
I’m Scott with Motivated Code Pro, please like, subscribe and hit the bells so you don’t miss any videos and keep coming back.

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About the Author Scott Salisbury

Scott is the creator of Motivated Code Pro and the Managing Partner of Pinch Hitter Solutions, Inc. Motivated Code Pro is devoted to helping developers build better software careers. Pinch Hitter Solutions ( is a consultancy focused on mobile app development and enterprise web work. Scott works primarily in Java and JavaScript and focuses on Spring and Ext JS.

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