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Your Guide to Learning Programming

Your Guide to Learning Programming

Have you ever used an app or website and wondered if you could create something like that yourself? If you learn how to program, you can! In fact, you can benefit from learning the basics of programming even if you don’t develop fully-fledged software. In this post I’ll go through some questions and answers to help you get started with programming.

Why Should You Learn Programming?

Learning programming is a good idea, since you can use the knowledge in many different areas. You can obviously use it to create apps and websites, but you can also use it to accomplish many other things. For example, you can write macros to automate tasks in Microsoft Office, or you can write a script to calculate problems in business. To learn programming, you will need some patience, attention to detail, and the ability to solve problems. Since programming can be hard, it will help if you have a specific project that you want to build in the end. Working towards a goal will help you overcome the difficulties you encounter. In addition, if you know what you want to build, you’ll be able to decide which language you should learn.

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Which Language Should You Learn?

All the popular languages share the same fundamentals, so you shouldn’t worry too much about which language you learn first. It still makes sense to learn the language that fits your goals best, so check out this flowchart for some quick help:

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Chart for Picking a Programming Language

    The “Compiled Languages” (on the right) have more rules to help prevent errors. People normally use special software (known as an IDE) to program in them, which has features to help with coding. These languages are popular in big companies and large websites. Microsoft created C# and provides tools for coding in it, while Java is used in Android apps and is taught in many colleges.

    The “Interpreted Languages” have fewer rules and you can write short programs more quickly with them. Programmers often use a lightweight text editor to code in these languages. These languages are used by many startups and websites. PHP was very popular a decade ago, and there are still many scripts and sites that are written in PHP. However, many people consider PHP to be messy and inconsistent, so you should probably pick a different language if you’re creating a site from scratch. Ruby and Python are similar languages. Ruby is used in the very popular website framework Ruby on Rails, while Python is used both on the web and in other software. Javascript (which isn’t related to Java) is the only language that can run within a web browser, so all visual effects on the web are written in it. Recently, it has also begun being used to create entire websites. Whatever language you pick, the important thing is to get started learning it!

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    What Resources Can You Use to Learn Programming?

    The best way to get started with programming is to use an online interactive tutorial. Codecademy and Learnstreet are popular sites for learning the scripted languages, and you can learn Java on Learneroo, a site that I recently created. It is also a good idea to get a book or reference so you can learn more when you’re done with the beginner tutorials. If you like video courses, check out 20 places to learn online, which lists sites that offer both general and computer science courses.

    You’ll then be ready to create your own project without a text that tells you exactly what to do. This means you need to know where to look for help. To find out more about a programming language, you should first check the official documentation for that language. When you run into difficulties, a well-placed Google search can provide you with information on most issues. If you cannot find your exact issue online, you can ask it on StackOverflow, the programmer Q&A site. If you ask a specific question clearly and show that you’ve done your research, random people online will often quickly help you out for free! If you need more help, you can consider going to programming meetups, finding a mentor, or going to a full-fledged programming bootcamp.

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    Good luck learning to program!

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    Published on September 20, 2018

    11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

    11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

    In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

    Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

    In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

    Minimizing Tabs

    Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

    Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

    Incognito Mode

    Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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    1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
    2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
    3. Download extension New Incognito Window

    This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

    Save Webpages as PDF Files

    Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

    Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

    Open Recently-closed Tabs

    Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

    One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

    The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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    Solve Mathematical Problems

    Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

    For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

    Play Media Files

    Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

    In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

    Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

    With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

    Stay Focus(e)d

    Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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    Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

    With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

    This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

    Grammarly for Editing

    Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

    You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

    Loom

    There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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    There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

    With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

    Chrome Calendar Extension

    No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

    Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

    Final Thoughts

    Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

    Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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