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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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      Last Updated on May 14, 2019

      8 Replacements for Google Notebook

      8 Replacements for Google Notebook

      Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

      1. Zoho Notebook
        If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
      2. Evernote
        The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
      3. Net Notes
        If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
      4. i-Lighter
        You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
      5. Clipmarks
        For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
      6. UberNote
        If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
      7. iLeonardo
        iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
      8. Zotero
        Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

      I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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      In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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