CAREER ADVANCEMENT / JUL. 20, 2014
version 6, draft 6

Techie Challenge: How to Learn Programming Languages from Books

It’s easy to be intimidated by the complexity of computer programming languages. But in all actuality, getting the gist of how the framework comes together is just like learning anything else. There are various ways to begin learning programming language, and one of the most popular is studying the old fashioned way using books. 

Book Suggestions

  1.  Assembly Language Step-by-step: Programming with DOS and Linux (with CD-ROM) by Jeff Dunnteman: This book is perfect for the beginner because it couples microprocessor theory with basic assembly language.
  2. Practical C Programming (Nutshell Handbooks) by Steve Oualline: C programming is as basic as it gets and can be practiced almost immediately by the beginner programmer. This book will help you get your "foot in the door" regarding programming language for C.
  3. Revolutionary Guide to Assembly Language by Vitaly Maljugin: This book is written for those who are intermediate to advanced language programmers. It has everything you need to hone your skills once you learn the basics of assembly language.

Getting Started

Once you get your hands on a few books regarding basic and intermediate language programming you can dive right in. As with learning any new skill, determination and the will to succeed are key. The redundancy of programming language can get cumbersome, especially for the beginner so it is important to keep your eyes on the prize when the going gets tough.

Choose Your Book Guides Wisely

Don’t overestimate your skill, even if you already have some basic knowledge about programming language, start from the beginning. This will reinforce what you already know and make advancement all that much easier. Remember, slow and steady wins the race when it comes to learning programming language.

Learning, One Chapter at a Time

Taking it slow can help you absorb what you are learning. Take each book one chapter or section at a time. Time your study; even 20 minutes of reading each day can help you get the knowledge you need to eventually become a master programmer. 

Highlighting and Summarizing

After each section, highlight and summarize the most important points. Writing a brief summary can help reinforce what you have learned and keep the most important point fresh in your mind. Keep these summaries in a notebook so you can refer to them when you need a quick refresher or to reference when programming. 

Practice, Practice, Practice

Hands on learning is one of the most effective ways to retain information. Once you have studied a section, it’s time to write some code. Practicing a little bit each week can really make a difference in how quickly you learn programming language.

Programming language is like building blocks. Each part must be in place for the code to work. The key to learning code is breaking each part down to its bare components and building it up again. When practicing, try not to become overwhelmed, take each codex one step at a time. 

When you get discouraged, remember, you are indeed learning a completely foreign language. Give yourself time to absorb information, practice often, and don’t give up! 

 Image via UberGizmo

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