“A programming language is low level when its programs require attention to the irrelevant.” - Alan Perlis
Becoming a programmer or an IT technician might require you to learn the fundamentals of coding or programming. Even in jobs outside of these two examples, coding is becoming an increasingly common skill for employees to have.
In the UK, the average web developer will earn around £25k. With seniority, this wage will increase.
Would you like to program apps, UIs, or websites?
Here’s our quick guide to programming
The History of IT
The first computer program was developed by a woman in 1842. Her work is considered by many to be the first major step towards computing. This woman was Ada Lovelace and she created an operation with a large number of successive iterations.
She dubbed the process an “algorithm”, a word whose origins come from the name for the scientist Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi.
Lovelace augmented a scientific paper with notes, including the notes in which she described a process for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine (the first computer) to compute Bernoulli numbers. This would technically make it the world’s first computer program.
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It wouldn’t be until the 1940s that the first computers were created with the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer). At the time, the scientists still had to write programs in machine-code and by hand.
We’ll let you imagine how many pages these lines of code would take up!
Programming languages were born in the second half of the 20th century and the first machines were created to quickly solve mathematical problems that would take the human brain too long.
The first programming languages were born in the 1950s with Fortran (Formula Translator) developed by IBM for scientific calculations.
The second language created was COBOL, which was designed for business use. Fortran and Cobol dominated IT and were regularly used on the first transistor computers.
Several other languages emerged between the 1960s and 1980s including:
- Simula 67 (1967)
- C (1969-1973)
- Pascal (1970)
- SQL (1974)
- C++ (1983)
Then came languages like Dbade, Eiffel, Mathematica, Perl, Tcl/Tkm etc.
In 1990, as programming languages developed, they improved our programming capabilities.
The 1990s revolutionised IT with the popularisation of the internet rendering information freely accessible to all. Web servers came with new web programming languages and many economists, philosophers, and experts gravely underestimated the potential of these new web technologies.
Compiled languages started to improve and scripts were created to help web pages and small simple programmes to function better:
- Python (1991)
- Python (1993)
- C# (2000)
Why Learn to Program?
Nowadays, programmers have excellent career opportunities. Learning to code gives you opportunities to rise to the top of the 10 best-paid career paths.
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Why learn to code if we already struggle to write a sentence without spelling mistakes?
Whether you’re a UI developer, video game programmer, creating web apps, or programming business software, knowing how to code is essential. All these careers require you to know various programming languages and often, have studied at university.
More and more services are being created through algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI). Coding is useful for so many careers that in this day and age, it might seem that almost every job in tech requires these skills.
The average salary for a software developer is £31k and with experience, their salary can increase by 34% to 41%. The best-paid programmers are working in the US, Japan, and Australia. The very best can receive six-figure salaries!
This is a skill that you can learn for free (with the help of online tutorials) and gain a pretty good level and if you’re driven, you can teach yourself how to code.
Knowing a programming language will also help you to navigate the world of IT and the web. Programming is essentially writing the instructions for a computer to execute. Programming languages are interpreted by computers into machine code, which is then executed by the computer.
Learning to program can also help you with many web-based careers: consultancy, SEO, web design, and web research and engineering.
As you’ll have understood, programming languages aren’t nonsense, but it does take someone who understands them. There are also a lot of opportunities for those who do!
What Are the Different Types of Programming?
So which programming language should you choose?
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There are over 7,000 programming languages, but you might only need to learn a single one. The type of language you choose will depend on what you’re trying to do.
For example, if you want to start with coding, it’s recommended that you have a look at HTML. HTML is quite accessible and easier to learn than a lot of programming languages. With a bit of HTML, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) can be used to add changes to the layout, colours, and fonts used on web pages. It’s something every web developer should know how to use.
If you’re looking to develop apps, you’ll probably want to know a bit of Java. Java can be used to program native Android applications and while it’s famous for being tricky at first, it’s used everywhere.
Other common languages include:
- PHP for creating websites.
- C, the language commonly used in video game development.
- SQL for databases.
Remember that learning a programming language is a lot of work so you need to be motivated!
What Are the Phases of Programming?
Would you like to undertake a web project and don’t know where to begin? Don’t have anyone to help you? Are you a freelancer looking to manage clients?
You need to know the order of operations!
You’re going to need to outline the project and the specifications (use, function, presentation, goals, etc.). This will help you define the data you’ll use and how the user will use your project. You’ll need to consider the network and protocols.
During the development of the program or app, you’ll need to edit the source code. You’ll need to choose which language you’ll write the program or app in and you’ll need to remember that certain languages are better for certain applications.
Next, the source code needs to be compiled into an executable. The compiler needs to bring together all the code in the right way.
Whatever solution you’ve coded, you’ll need to then test it, debug it, and iron out any problems. This is an essential part of web and app development.
You don't necessarily need a degree in coding to become a programmer, you can always look for free coding lessons to help you learn a bit before you get started on a course!
If you'd like to learn more about coding, programming, or web development, consider getting help from one of the many talented and experienced private tutors on Superprof!
You can learn about a variety of different skills and subjects from private tutors and there are various ways to get private tutorials: face-to-face, online, or in groups. Each type of private tutorial comes with pros and cons so think carefully about which would be right for you and your budget.
Face-to-face tutorials allow the tutor to focus on you as you'll be the only student in the class. This also allows them to plan every session with you in mind, ensuring that they're tailored to you, your preferred learning style, and your level. Of course, this high level of service isn't free and face-to-face tutorials will usually be the most costly option as you'll be paying for the tutor's time and expertise. However, since all the time and expertise is focused on teaching you in the best way possible, these tutorials are often the most cost-effective, too.
For those on a budget, group tutorials are an effective way to reduce the cost of private tutorials. By sharing the cost of the tutor's time and expertise, you can save money on private tutoring. Of course, this does mean that the lessons won't be tailored to you but rather the group as a whole. Similarly, you'll have less overall control over the course content as there'll be other students each with their learning objectives.
Finally, if you can't find any suitable tutors in your local area, you can always broaden your search. You can find online tutors all over the world ready to teach you about programming and coding as long as you have a webcam and a decent internet connection.