Thursday, September 11, 2014

Where to Start When Learning Programming?

       Have you ever wanted to throw your computer off a 10 story building because it's not doing what you want it to ? Well with a fair share of programming you can change any aspect of a computer that you don't think runs your way! Only months ago I was the one reading articles about programming and where to jump in at. I have learned quite a lot , but still am only scratching the surface to my true potential as a programmer. It takes a while learning all the new jargon and syntax associated with the many languages available. When you first begin to get started you find yourself wondering what language you want to be fluent in and where to start , or what site to use and what approach to take to it. I will "attempt" to list most of what I can about the basics to help you figure out where you might want to begin.
        With so many languages out there , which one do you start with and what is the purpose behind you wanting to learn programming? I found myself reading online for hours figuring out my path. I started with reading about the more common languages everyone has heard of C / C++ (HTML isn't quite a programming language but the format helps you grasp the structure a bit). Long story short , I made an account at Codecademy , a nice little free site that has the tools you need to write and compile programs in certain languages. I began with HTML & CSS for web development after finishing that I dove into Python , quite an awesome language that has incredibly easy syntax compared to say Java(IMO at least). I ordered a few beginner programming books with Python just to be able to study at my own will on any topic that was an issue at the time , and one on Basic & Java to begin to get my feet wet with.
  • Python                      
  • Ruby
  • Perl
  • C / C++ / C#
  • Java
  • Javascript
  • Visual Basic
Just a small list of a few languages that are common to want to begin with.

       Once you finally decide what language to start with you have to find out where or how to make the approach just like any new thing you try! All languages follow the same rules or procedures for the most part, so whichever language you choose will be easily transferable with a little syntax corrections and additions. The structure of each language is almost always the same just different keywords mostly I have found. Now that I'm in college and learning Java in my class I am kind of glad that the syntax is so much more difficult than Python for the simple fact that I have to try harder to truly understand what the program is doing line for line. Knowing how to parse(examine & analyze program structure) and knowing the semantics or meaning is what will be required to learn regardless the language. If you don't understand why it does something then you surely cannot write successful code that does what you want. There are so many great websites out there to list for credit of helping me and many others thru the beginner portal of programming. I'll list a few sites that I have found with tutorials and exercises that seemed to help me out.

  1. - lots of tutorials on web development mostly
  2. - exactly the name almost any language available
  3. - good free site to learn the basics without downloading software.
  4. - interactive site to start programming with python
  5. - interactive site for java programming
  6. - figures right ? seriously any topic of information there is someone with a video explaining why and the hows.
  7.  Last but not least my friend Google!! With a little time and effort always can find the info needed. 
        When it comes down to it , you should start with a language you're interested in , for whatever the reason. Do you want to eventually make video games or huge corporate programs? Maybe you enjoy mobile apps and think you could try your hand creating those. That's about where I am now, trying to figure out exactly what I want to do with programming and with so many aspects of it kinda makes it difficult. But I plan on making Python my main language I do believe, even though college will put me thru all the VB, Java, C and others that are the basic known languages so to speak. But the abundance of information online has helped me get through my first phase of learning, however it plays out I believe I will enjoy myself with programming. There is plenty of problem solving and the thinking process of developers is quite complex but it is continually pushing me to think outside the box and leave no stone unturned!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hobbies & Ways to Discover Them

    There are hundreds of thousands , if not millions of hobbies out in our big world , truth be told I'm no where near an expert on to many of them. When you grow up and become an adult I have found its a lot harder than expected to still find time and have the hobbies you enjoyed as a kid , as well as deal with all the real - world problems that arise. Lately I have found so many things that used to be "tasks" or problems I would have never tackled on that I now find myself enjoying!!
    Nobody can tell you what to enjoy or what hobbies you can have. "Hey you are going to enjoy painting!!!" Says whoever....Uhm No thanks ! Sure might be the right thing for them and they love it , but who's to say that you will? Only way to know for sure is if you spend some time doing it , push yourself to try it even if it doesn't sound like something up your alley. Lately , I've done a good bit of extra - curricular activities so to speak. Anyone that knows me KNOWS I'm  no kinda repair man or house hold fixer! Mechanic repair and I have never got along to well even with the most basic of problems , but I've noticed that a little elbow grease and research go along way! Now that I have spent a little time trying to understand what I'm doing instead of just attempting to fix it , I really enjoy working on my car nowadays!
   Another NO-BRAINER is to just follow your passions or what moves you personally , all BS aside this is probably the best idea to find out what you enjoy doing! Believe me , it's no rocket science haha. With hobbies , obviously it's all about enjoying yourself. If you can spend 3-4 hours straight reading about any topic or even a certain topic , I think you might have found what you enjoy doing. But on the other hand if you can't figure out anything you like to do all it takes is a little brainstorming. 6-7 years ago I would have NEVER pegged myself for one to be sitting around writing articles about this and that , let alone spending the time to create this little blog , but I thought about what I used to like to do when I was younger before problems were around and sure enough it worked. It's fun to see what topic I can think of that i am somewhat relevant in and just let the thoughts and ideas write the article for me!!
     This blog was created around this time 2 years ago when my friend Andre and I decided to attempt to sell loyalty t-shirts with quotes about loyalty on them. Now I'm back in college trying my hand at some programming to hopefully one day get a degree or certificate , so I figured why not spend some time on this blog since I got a lot of computer time on my hands lol. I recently discovered I was capable of tearing the plywood/fiberglass floor out of my boat and completely redoing it!! Once again....something I would never took on years ago because it sounds to complex or who knows , whatever other excuse I would have made. My point here before I drift off somewhere {{Insert Ganja Here}} is to conquer your fears! Can't say I'm to afraid of doing home repairs or fixing my boat or my car BUT I think most of the time I don't attempt things like this because I don't believe i have the capability to do them.
     More and more I prove to myself that I can do whatever I end up trying and most of the time I end up enjoying them also. The boat I redid is a 14ft fiberglass boat I bought for $170 bucks that came with  trolling motor , trailer , and title.(Couldn't pass it up!!) Only problem was the floor was completely rotted and had no support! Over the winter my beautiful wife & I decided to become boat repairmen and next thing you know we are knee deep in power tools and fiberglass! Lots of second guessing and problem solving when you tackle on something you have never even thought about attempting before. As the ole saying goes "Don't knock something until you've tried it!" sure proves more true day by day. Not the nicest boat ever but hey looks good yeah ?

    Maybe more on the boat another time , the hobby that got me to want to purchase the boat was nothing but......Fishing !!!!! Used to be one of my favorite things to do when I was younger but as I got older just kinda dropped it. I had been offered the opportunity to go time and time again just never really thought I would enjoy it weird as it may sound. One day my friend Tonio comes by to use my Wifi and he convinced me to go throw a line in the water and since its been just like old times! The older I get I realize I need to push myself into situations that aren't in my lane to expand not just my knowledge & understanding of a particular task but also to see if it might be something I will actually enjoy!

     Everyone knows the saying it could always be worse & that is pretty much a fact! You have to always keep that in the back of your mind when your doing something you don't think you will like or something that you might consider an everyday task. Think I'm done rambling on this topic for now. Who knows in a few years what I will be doing or anyone else out there but whatever it is don't be ashamed or scared to fail. Failing is the only way to really accomplish true success , You have to know what doesn't work so no matter what happens you are prepared for the outcome.