Where to start



This is an open topic to discuss everyones opinon on programing.

The reason I made this topic is because I am very interested in it, and have bought some books(actually several). It is in the living room because it is not about any specific hardware or software, and I dont really think this is stuff for newbies, however I may not grasp everything at first but I will.

I have gotten what I think would be the most simplest book to understand
Got these books to start with because they were cheap and good quality at amazon.

“Windows XP for Dummies” and the

but have also gotten several others

from c++ programing to sql for dummies the Xp Bible and game programing. I am not limiting my self to nothing I would like to learn as much as possible.

I am looking for peoples opinon’s on where they have started or where they would start. Tips and pointers of what to look for and where to start.

thanks for all help

If need be I will make a list of every book i have gotten so far


Start with the basic concepts of programming: variables, assignment, conditionals, loops, functions, etc. The concepts are all the same throughout the major mainstream languages, so pick the easiest language (BASIC, or, one that’s very often overlooked, Perl) and use it to learn the concepts. C/C++ is a very good language, it’s used a lot, but it’s also rather unforgiving, so despite its utility, it’s not a good learning language. Although some people would argue for Java as a learning language, I think that it’s not very suitable, either (it takes the OO concept to the extreme, and for a beginner, I don’t think that’s a good idea). Try for a book that doesn’t focus too much on the language itself. Books like “how to program in XP” will focus too much on the language and even system-specific details that beginners should not be worried about.

Anyway, when I was a senior in high school, I was the teaching assistant for one of the beginning classes. And this is what I told the class: “Programming is like writing a story. There are two things that you need to learn when writing a story. You need to learn the language: the vocabulary and grammar. And you also need to learn how to write a story and the elements that make up a story (how to form a plot, how to use irony, character development, etc., and most importantly, you need to “learn” (if possible) to be creative so that you can come up with good, clever stories by putting together the various elements and concepts of story telling.). When programming, you need to know your programming language and also how to program. And it is important to know that the two are not the same thing. Some people feel that if you just teach the language, you can get someone to program. Can you teach someone to write a good novel by just giving them a grammar rulebook and dictionary? In programming, the language is easy. The concepts behind programming (like conditionals, loops, etc.) and being able to put together the concepts that are available to create a program are the things that are the most difficult. Be familiar with the former (the language), and focus on the latter (programming itself).”

My experience is that most how-to books are very poorly-written. They read more like a technical manual with pages and pages on syntax and how to use a certain language’s functions. This is perfectly fine for a seasoned programmer looking to pick up another language to tuck under his/her belt… but not for someone learning the concepts. Unfortunately, I do not have any books in mind that I could recommend.


I liked your analogy (is this the right term?) to the story…clean way to do an overview. :slight_smile:

About programming, I really don’t know how to suggest, but you could even try some bash programming if you’d like to :slight_smile: perl is cool also, and you can do lots of quick and interesting programs. I’m not an expert at all, so don’t follow entirely my judgement :slight_smile:


It’s also nice to have instructor led learning once in awhile for face to face feedback and answers.
Maybe you can check out a basic programming class at your local community college?


just one thing i would add to Code’s statments…if you lack the ability to think logically…then maybe programming is not for you…and you might have more of a networking background…I’ve seen many in my previous classes…drop out because they lacked the ability to say …this should happen before this operation…take that product and do this with it…

Basic would be a great one to begin with…


I plan on it but would like to get more of a grasp and alot better knowledge. Maybe get a head start:bigsmile:

Logic is not an issue. As far as computer’s ar concerned I am pretty familiar and know my way aroung and have a good grasp. I do alot of work for other people on there pc’s. Just built the one i am on know and find all this pretty basic although I do know there is alot more to it. and that is what I am interested in.

A little background about my family is that there are several programmers in my family. I grew up with my mom programming in Cobal and etc but back then I was not all into it. I was more into sports and was a basic jok in school but know that I am older with a family and 3 kids sometimes at night I do not have much time to go out and party so i read alot and learn.

I thought i would ask about a starting point and etc because of some of the vast knowlege I have seen here. I could easly ask my family but with 3 kids I tend to be a homebody(Plus the wife is currently enrolled at night, so i watch kids) as you can tell when they go to bed i have some free time on my hands

Thanks for all advice


So if I am taking this right you mean understand what programming is and about and then learn the language?


Yes, and no. You will still need to learn a language from the outset. But you don’t have to be great at the language. And you don’t know to know the language in great detail–just enough so that you can practice the programming itself. If doing Perl, for example, it’s a monstrous language. There are so many elements of Perl that I didn’t even look at in the first year of using the language. I just learned enough of the basic stuff to get by.


What would be something easy to start out with Perl,Java,C++.etc to get the basics.

I am very interested in everything and do not want to leave no stone unturned. But to get the understanding so I can get my feet wet and grow from there.

thanks for the help code


My personal recommendation would be Perl. Very friendly. Just be careful about not getting overwhelmed by it, because it’s a big language. Just use the basic stuff in Perl, and you’ll be fine. Downside to Perl is that not many people think of it as a learning language (even though I’ve used it to help teach people with great success) so it may be a bit hard to find new-to-programming courses/books on Perl; a lot of the Perl stuff that I’ve seen have been geared towards a programmer looking to learn a new language.

A number of people also recommend Java. I would not. It’s friendlier than C/C++ (but that ain’t saying much), but still not as newbie-friendly as Perl. And there are a number of things about Java that I really dislike on a personal level, so I have never been an advocate of it for anything. Upside is that there are enough people advocating Java for teaching that finding stuff for it would be easier. That and the fact that a number of years ago, the world seemed to have gotten itself into a Java hype where Java became some kind of cool tech buzzword. :rolleyes:

C/C++ is not recommended for learning. I’ve seen people try to teach programming newbies using this, and it’s just a pain in the rear.

BASIC is another good language to start off with. Nice and friendly (as friendly as Perl). For a long time, this was the learning language. So you’ll find plenty of stuff for it.

Now, the C language syntax/grammar with stuff like the use of braces to denote blocks, semicolons to denote the end of commands, the use of parentheses, the formatting of loops, etc. is a very common syntax/grammar. Java is based on C/C++'s syntax. So is Micro$oft’s overhyped C# (:Z). So is JavaScript. And so is Perl. Which means that once you learn one of these, picking up any of the rest would be a walk in the park. I literally learned Java in less than a day because I was already very comfortable with C/C++ and Java was similiar to C/C++ in so many ways.

This is the downside of BASIC. There are no real mainstream languages that are based on BASIC (Microsoft Visual Basic is one, but it sucks :p). So I’d recommend Perl. Very easy to migrate to a real language like C/C++ from it. And it’s forgiving and easy for a newbie (you’ll find out why this is true later :wink: let’s just saying that “strict static typing” and having to worry about memory allocation and deallocation is not very newbie-friendly).

(PS: PHP is based on Perl, and together with Perl, they play some of the most pivotal roles in the Internet; the CD Freaks forum (vBulletin), for example, is written in PHP.)