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Infographic: How to Choose Your First Programming Language (Based on the Life You Want)

Infographic: How to Choose Your First Programming Language (Based on the Life You Want)

Programmers have an easy life. There’re tons of jobs, and the jobs pay well.

Even if you don’t want to pursue programming as a career, it still makes sense to learn to code. Especially for jobs in web design, digital marketing, business and IT.

But what language should you learn?

Udacity.com made a pretty cool infographic (shown below) that helps you choose. But I want to go a little deeper.

Building on their awesome chart (found at the bottom of this post), I’m going to break recommendations down into specific categories based on what you want to do. For example, recommendations for travel lovers, designers, IT people or those in other career paths.

I have interviewed many candidates over the past 24 months for various roles and often compared notes with other tech companies who are hiring. This gives me a good idea of where technology is heading in the long term. (Quick disclosure that I now work for IBM.)

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How to work from anywhere

Do you love to travel? You should choose web languages like Python and invest less time in learning C.

Cloud platforms to learn: Think high-level: Heroku, BlueMix, Azure. Amazon AWS is good to know, but has a big learning curve in comparison to the other options. As a newbie, you will want to focus on programming concepts, not configurations.

You can find remote work opportunities in Stack Overflow Careers and Angel.co.

How to make cool hardware

If you plan on making physical things, there are 2 great hobbyist prototyping boards: Raspberry Pi and Arduino. Here’s a comparison.

In my opinion, Raspberry Pi is a better starting point, since Python is easier to learn than C. But if you want to do hardware, C (and C++) is ultimately unavoidable.

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bluemix_iot2

    However, for personal “Internet of Things” projects, sometimes it’s easier to buy a cheap iPhone or Android with a broken screen.

    You can instantly track your smartphone’s 3D position and vibration with no programming using IBM’s BlueMix IoT demo. You can then modify their Python demo code and do cool things. (Like hiding the iPhone under your ex’s mattress and finding patterns.)

    How can I increase my pay as a programmer?

    Aside from learning a new language, one strategy is to learn more niche enterprise systems. For example, you can learn about big data systems such as Hadoop and Spark. (There are many places to learn these technologies for free, like IBM’s Big Data University or EdX.org.)

    What if my chosen career isn’t programming?

    For IT and web design, I have recommendations below. But what about other industries, where having some programming knowledge can help? First, if you don’t know what sumif() is, you should probably invest in a course in Excel. Spreadsheets are a lot more powerful than people think. Most programmers will try to use a spreadsheet to calculate something (if possible) before diving into code. For example, to make a cool graphical chart out of data, it would take minutes in Excel but many hours (or even days) of raw programming time.

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    After that, you should learn:

    1. HTML: Every website is written in HTML. (And, many apps now are as well.) Whether you’re trying to go beyond the basics in WordPress, or need to set up digital marketing tools, some HTML is good to know.
    2. CSS: CSS, or “cascading stylesheets”, are a special formatting code used by websites to choose the fonts and colours used on a webpage.
    3. Basic JavaScript: A little bit of JavaScript will help if you need to fiddle with a website plug-in for your boss.
    4. Either PHP, Visual Basic and/or ASP.net: Those are very easy languages to learn independently that will let you make something useful quickly.

    Again, these are languages used in everyday scripting and website work. For example, WordPress is written in PHP. Visual Basic lets you make custom Windows apps quickly (but not websites). Knowing languages like Python or Java isn’t going to help much with “average Joe workday” programming problems. (Those are mainly used for larger-scale computer server programming, app development or systems scripting.) Worth noting, it’s pretty easy to move from JavaScript or PHP to Python later on. The basic concepts are the same.

    What programming language should I learn for an IT career?

    If you’re a Windows guy, then learn HTML and PowerShell. If you’re a Linux guy, then it’s HTML and bash scripting.

    You don’t need to learn to program to make big money in IT: IT people with certifications or specialization in enterprise technologies make about as much as programmers, occasionally more. But knowing how to script is an edge.

    What programming language should a web designer learn?

    Learning CSS-based languages like SASS is a great first step. Then, focus on JavaScript. Finally, learn Node.js, which is just JavaScript that runs on a server. The Node.js market is hot, and will be for a long time. Do not leave JavaScript. Instead, specialize in it with Node.js and learn it in depth. (Note that over time, io.js may replace Node.js. You’ll need to keep up with the JavaScript community.)

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    Final note about the chart

    When Udacity charted the trend for JavaScript, I do not think they factored in that Node.js is simply JavaScript that runs outside of a web browser. The demand for Node.js in 2015 has been insanely high. To hire someone with solid Node.js experience would be hard without a six-figure offer (as of October 2015). As more people learn Node.js, the market might cool off a little. Fair warning: Node.js gets a lot more hairy than traditional JavaScript. So, if you’re a beginner, start with traditional JavaScript and move to Node.js later.

    How-to-Choose-Your-First-Programming-Language–Udacity

      Featured photo credit: Riona Fitzpatrick at CoderDojo, by connor2nz (Flickr) via flickr.com

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      Published on November 19, 2020

      15 Great Macbook Accessories To Improve Productivity

      15 Great Macbook Accessories To Improve Productivity

      When looking to improve your workflow, you need to have a proper computer. And one of the most appealing computers out there is macbooks. These sleek transportable computers allow you to work anywhere at any time and provide a lot of functionality to their users.

      But sometimes, that’s not enough. In so many cases, you’re looking for more.

      While you could go for some productivity apps, there are actually a lot of macbook accessories available that will make your life easier in many ways. These extra accessories will allow your macbook to charge faster, hold more data, or keep it safe and protected while you travel around.

      Beyond that, there is a wide variety of accessories to pick from as many companies have jumped onto the bandwagon of supply to macbook users. Below we’ve listed off some of the greatest macbook accessories that’ll benefit your computer.

      What Makes For Great Macbook Accessories?

      Before getting into the list, we wanted to go over the criteria for what makes for great macbook accessories. The items that we’ve picked from this list will have the following criteria:

      • Reasonably priced – Accessories themselves shouldn’t break the bank compared to the large initial investment of a macbook.
      • Usability – All these accessories are practical in various situations, however, they also have extra features that make them useful in a few situations beyond their obvious functions.
      • Compact – Workflow is also about space in most circumstances. As such, anything that’s too bulky doesn’t help much. These accessories are either large on purpose – for storage of other items – or are nice and compact so they won’t get in the way.

      A USB Drive To Store Files Quickly Without Accessing The Cloud

        While you can always access the Cloud at any time, sometimes accessibility can be cumbersome or it takes time. Instead of trying to access files that way, getting a USB flash drive can save you plenty of time. Especially if your work entails providing presentations.

        The SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive is great as it offers USB-C and USB-A connectors allowing you to plug into virtually any device and transfer files and more between computers. Also, USB drives boast several hundred gigabytes these days making them solid storage devices.

        Buy SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive here.

        Compact Charger That Does More Than Charge

          Your default charger that comes with your MacBook is a good option for a charger, but these days chargers can offer so much more. This can help you speed up your workflow as you can be charging other devices or using the charger for other uses beyond charging.

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          In the case of the Anker PowerPort charger, it is more compact than the default charger. It also offers another USB-C connector allowing you to rapidly charge another gadget with it.

          Buy Anker PowerPort charger here.

          Port Adapter For Those With Multiple Devices

            One of the hard restrictions with a macbook is that it only has two USB-C ports. This is manageable for people with fewer gadgets but if you’re the kind who has several, it can interrupt your workflow if you need a particular device and you can’t charge it or access it.

            In this situation, a port adapter from Satechi can help. It offers multiple USB-C ports allowing you to use multiple devices. This can also help in organizing cords which we know can disrupt work. If the USB-C ports aren’t enough, it also comes with an SD card reader and ethernet cable port too.

            Buy Satechi Multi-Port Adapter here.

            A USB Cable That Isn’t As Intrusive Or Cumbersome To Use

            The USB-C cable that comes with Macbooks is small and is used to hook to an external monitor. By adding more length to them, you can have better cable management. One option that we found to be ideal was the Nomad Kevlar cable which offers enough length to do what you want while giving you more space to work with.

            Buy Nomad Kevlar USB-C Cable here.

            Screen Cleaning Your Laptop To See What You’re Doing

            Dust, particles and splotches are to be expected on laptop screens after a while. While you can work around these, sometimes they can obscure your vision at times. The same can apply to all devices these days.

            The only problem with many solutions on the market is that they can damage screens. Fortunately, we found a screen cleaning solution that doesn’t harm screens. ScreenDr Professional screen cleaning kit comes with a spray that’s safe for screens and an antimicrobial microfiber cloth to ensure you make the most of the spray.

            Buy ScreenDr Professional Screen Cleaning Kit here.

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            Card Reader That Speeds Up Photo Transfer Time

              If you’re looking for a standalone card reader for your work, getting a device designed for photo transferring and reading is essential. One of the best macbook accessories in this category we found was the Vanja card reader.

              This one is able to read SD and MicroSD cards while also transferring the pictures to a computer with ease thanks to its USB-C and USB 2.0 port options. It’s also small making it easy to carry around and is cheap to buy making it a great choice to pick up if you deal with plenty of pictures.

              Buy Vanja Card Reader here.

              Protective Sleeves To Protect Your Laptop From Harm

              For those who are travelling the last thing that you want is your laptop to get damaged for whatever reason. Even though you’re not likely to drop it as frequently as your phone, having a sleeve for a laptop to be in can save you time.

              One sleeve that we found interesting was the Native Union sleeves. They are made of tear-resistant material with genuine leather accents. Its interior is soft as well preventing scratches from your laptop. It also offers a pocket area where you can store cables and other macbook accessories easily.

              Buy Native Union’s laptop sleeve here.

              Car Charger For Charging On The Go

                For the person always driving around, a car charger is always a helpful tool to have when you’re on the go. The one from Anker is particularly helpful in a number of ways. Not only can this charge your macbook, but it also has an additional port for you to charge your phone if needed.

                It’s not the fastest charger out there when compared to the Macbook Pro adapter but it’s the highest in the market with an output power of 30 watts. For comparison, the second-fastest charging connector offers an output of 18 watts. Aside from that the charger has an illuminated LED ring for you to see it and the connectors late at night. It also has a function that ensures devices don’t experience surges or overheating from the charger itself.

                Buy Anker PowerDrive car charger here.

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                USB-C to USB-A Adapter Grants Access To Older Models

                If your older macbook still works but has files you want that you didn’t back up that you want this makes it easier to access them. It also allows you to access devices that have USB-A slots only. This can save you a lot of time if you are moving between older and newer devices.

                Buy Thunderbolt Adapter here.

                A Hardshell Case For Added Protection

                A sleeve is good for travel, but when you’re using it, having an extra layer of protection can be nice. Beyond that this hardshell case can also serve as additional protection from scratches and bumps too.

                Buy Incase Textured Hardshell case here.

                Alternative Sleeve For Those With Tighter Budgets But Want Protection

                  If you are looking for an appropriate laptop sleeve but aren’t looking to spend too much, AmazonBasics brands are a good alternative. Their sleeves are elegant and still offer good protection from scratches as well. It also has a few pockets for small essentials too.

                  Buy AmazonBasics laptop sleeve here.

                  A Hub That Accommodates Several Ports At Once

                  We’ve already mentioned a port before being a huge time saver thanks to it having various ports for different devices. This one is a great alternative as while it doesn’t offer as many USB-C ports, it offers more variety. Paired up with the design being the same color as the MacBook Air, it offers two USB-C connectors, two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port and SD and microSD card readers.

                  Buy Satechi Type C Pro Hub here.

                  Earbuds To Deal With Fewer Headphone Cords

                    Cords are a common problem when boosting productivity at the desk and one way to mitigate them is to go wireless. If you are thinking about that, one option to consider is the Soundcore earbuds. These are cheaper than the traditional AirPods from Apple which can save you money.

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                    Furthermore, they deliver great sound and are connected via Bluetooth. The beauty of these earbuds is they can also cancel sound despite them being so compact. They also offer touch control allowing you to pause, play, skip music and answer calls.

                    Buy Soundcore Wireless Earphones here.

                    Desktop Stand To Save Desk Space

                      Desk space is another crucial part of productivity as things can get in the way and obstruct your work. In cases where you don’t need your laptop at the moment, having a stand where you can set it aside can be helpful.

                      In those situations, we recommend the Twelve South Book Arc. This neat Macbook accessor can save a tonne of space since it requires you to close your laptop in order to insert it into the stand. It also keeps it elevated from the surface which can protect it from spills

                      Buy Twelve South BookArc desktop stand here.

                      A Comfortable And Easy To Use Mouse For Faster Working Speed

                      The last of the macbook accessories we’ll talk about is a proper mouse. Logitech offers fantastic mouses and their Logitech MX Master 3 is one of the greatest wireless mouses out there. It’s ergonomic design, customizable buttons and insanely precise movement is fantastic. It also comes with a scrolling wheel for precise scrolling.

                      The battery power can last for months between charges and like all Logitech devices, it comes with a USB-C connector for charging.

                      Buy Logitech MX Master 3 Wireless Mouse here.

                      Bottom Line

                      There are many macbook accessories out there to improve your workflow. Taking the time to do research and invest in some of the best ones though will save you plenty of time, money and energy in the long term. At the same time, all of these accessories can help you with specific needs for whatever you are doing.

                      Featured photo credit: Viktor Ritsvall via unsplash.com

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