[Ask IT Career Coach] is a Career Advice Column for Information Technology (IT) professionals looking for answers to their most challenging career situations.
Do not worry about how to get handson experience in a programming language before you actually learn the programming language … that is called putting the cart before the horse.
If you choose to worry about handson experience before learning the programming language, all that you will end up achieving is nothing … those worries, fears or doubts will only delay your progress because they are either imaginary or harmful!
Rather, choose the path of action or get your hands dirty learning the programming languages that I recommend below and opportunities to get more handson experience will present themselves.
So, don’t hesitate or procrastinate … remember, he who hesitates is lost!
Which Programming Language Is Best To Start With?
Here is a question submitted by a reader on getting handson programming experience and the best programming language to start with.
The toughest challenge facing my career right now is boredom and a feeling of restlessness.
I’m about to graduate college with a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology, and I’m itching to start a real career that is more technical than the help desk that I work on.
Therein lies another challenge: I have no experience.
I’m very interested in programming and software development right now, but I don’t know what is hot in the job market in my area right now.
I’ve been searching the IT job sites, and there are positions open for Java, .NET, and Unix developers (each with a minimum five years of experience).
I appreciate your website and the excellent articles!
I now know to self-teach myself programming skills and work on open source projects, freelance and try for some contracting jobs.
Here Is The Answer To This Reader’s Questions
Hi, I am glad that you know how to self-teach yourself programming skills, work on open source projects, freelance and try for some contracting jobs … it seems that you just want to choose the right programming language since you’ve already heard about Java, .NET and Unix.
Choose Web Development Languages:
Don’t waste your time learning programming languages that are not suited for web development. This is because out of all the software development language careers, web developers are the most in-demand!
Choose a Rapid Application Development (RAD) Programming Language:
The best programming languages for your career will be the ones that are the most productive to code with.
Several years ago, software developers were using languages like Clipper, Foxpro, C/C++. That was back in the days when computer programmers were just transitioning from programming for DOS to programming for WINDOWS.
While all that was happening, Microsoft released a programming language known as Visual Basic which revolutionized the programming industry.
Visual Basic was a Rapid Application Development (RAD) Language which contained visual cues for building desktop applications.
For example, it allowed you to drag an icon representing a button onto a screen and then it generated the code for the button for you.
Because it made programming easier, Microsoft’s Visual Basic quickly became one of the most popular and productive languages for building software applications.
For example, using a Visual Basic enabled database software like Microsoft Access, a developer could create a functional application in a fraction of the time it takes a Java or C/C++ developer to code the same application.
Finally, Microsoft changed the game again with the introduction of .NET Framework which incorporates some of the best features of programming with Java, Visual Basic and C/C++!
So, if you want to be successful computer programmer, go with a productive Rapid Application Development (RAD) Language like Microsoft.NET, learn C# and SQL Server … which is the database language that is most compatible with .NET Framework.
Note that you also have to learn a relational database system because both web and windows software developers have to design or develop databases for their software applications … so, learning SQL query writing and database development is required for software developers.
Study Or Handson Experience, Which Comes First?
And don’t be worrying about not having handson programming experience before you get to learn the programming language … that is putting the cart before the horse.
Answer These Questions …
- Are you learning the right programming languages?
- How productive are the programming languages that you are learning?
- Are you worrying about how to get handson experience?
When you start out learning the programming languages that I recommended, opportunities to get your hands dirty will present themselves.
Don’t hesitate or procrastinate … remember, he who hesitates is lost! Click here to read this article on hesitation or procrastination
Another reason why you should stick with my recommendations is that … studying computer programming can quickly become an overwhelming experience because of the myriad of computer programming languages.
So, if you make the mistake of dabbling in different programming languages, you may end up not being skilled in any!
Don’t waste your time chasing rabbits … learning programming languages for which there is little or no market demand.