What you need to become a computer programmer
Through my years of writing computer programs, I have come to realize that there were certain skills/knowledge that I always needed whether I was programming for a desktop computer, mobile phone or a web server. In this article, I discuss some of these skills based on my programming background on the Windows Operating System. Programmers who use other operating systems such as Linux or Macintosh may have varying points but most of the points I make here are common no matter what operating system you program for/with.
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to know mathematics to be a good programmer. However, the basics of mathematics will help you reach advanced stages in your programming platform of choice but, you definitely need the following skills/knowledge before you even decide which programming language to study.
The first and kind of the most important need to become a programmer are to increase your typing speed. You should be able to type as fast as 100 words per minute. This is achievable through constant practice. Pick a keyboard that’s probably not working and type continually.
Typing speed is important because, well, you type codes as a programmer. Most times, a project could make you type hundreds of lines of code. If your typing speed is slow, you will be frustrated by your own slowness. So, first of all, develop your typing speed. This is very important.
Knowing your way around Windows is usually not enough if you’re going to be a programmer. An occasion will arise where you will need to know how to carry out basic tasks in the MS-DOS environment. You may hear people tell you that it’s not necessary but trust me, it is. There are certain tasks you will need to carry out that can only be carried out in the MS-DOS environment. I have a tutorial on MS-DOS on this website. It is constantly being developed. You can check for it in the Tutorials section. Microsoft now has PowerShell for Windows 8 but that’s another story for another day. Learn MS-DOS first.
This is very important. If you are not a patient person, I advice you do not waste your time attempting to study computer programming at all. You need patience because coding can be difficult sometimes and it is mostly because you are not perfect. You will make mistakes. You need to patiently find where you are going wrong and fix it. Being patient will be key when facing such challenges.
Know the Platform Well
You need to know the platform you want to program for, well. For example, if you don’t know much about Windows applications, you will not do well in creating them. If you are programming for a mobile phone or a web server or a database system, you must know them very well first, before you even venture to program for them or you will not fully understand the programming language you wish to study.
There are a number of other things you need to know before venturing into the world of computer programming but they are not as important as these basic ones. If you skip learning them now, trust me. You will be back to learn them real soon.