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Learn coding on your own

Nov 15, 2012, 18:23 IST

THE DUMMIES SERIES

Are you a novice interested in learning to code? S Srinivas suggests books and websites that allow you to do exactly that

For all novices and those from non-engineering/Science streams, interested in learning coding, the Dummies series offers an excellent means to learn programming languages.
Some of these books are: Beginning Programming for Dummies, Beginning Programming All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, C for Dummies, Beginning Programming with Java for Dummies, C++ All-in-One for Dummies, Python for Dummies, etc.

If you still have doubts regarding learning programming without attending a class or without a tutor, then it would be good if you first read, Hello World! Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners by Warren Sande and Carter Sande, Computer Programming for Teens by Mary Farrel and C Sharp for Sharp Kids by Martin Dreyer. These books are written in a simple language with lots of examples explaining programming concepts. Another book, Computer Science Unplugged, explains how data is represented in binary numbers and problem solving through algorithm. This 111 page book can be downloaded freely from www.csunplugged.org. Other interesting books you can refer to, include Learn to Program by Chris Pine, How to think like a computer scientist by Allen B Downey, C++ For Artists: The Art, Philosophy, and Science of Object-Oriented Programming by Rick Miller, The Complete Guide to PC Repair by Cheryl A Schmidt and C++ How to Program by Paul Deitel and Harvey Deitel. The good news is that all these books can be downloaded freely from the web (for learning purpose only).

There are also several websites where programming languages are taught for free. About.com is one of them. Once you sign up for the newsletter, the course lessons will be regularly sent to your inbox. About.com offers lessons for C, C++, C#, Java, Python and Perl, and also for web-based programming languages like HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Other links from where you can learn programming include http://lifehacker.com/5744113/learn-to-code-the-full-beginners-guide, http://www.java-made- easy.com/, http://www.webteacher.com/javascript/ and http://learn-to-program.net/index.html

Web languages

If you want to learn web-based programming languages, you can download books like, Building Web Sites All-in-One Desk Reference for Dummies by Doug Sahlin and Claudia Snell, Creating Web Pages for Dummies by Bud E Smith and Arthur Bebak, Internet & WWW How to Program by Deitel, Learning Web Design by Jennifer Niederst Robbins, Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Creating Web Pages by Todd Stauffer and Sams’ Teach Yourself HTML and CSS in 24 Hours.

Web sites like http://w3schools.com offers free courses in XML, PHP, HTML and CSS. At http://www.codecademy.com you can learn Python, Ruby, HTML, CSS and JavaScript for free.

How to download

To download these books you should first install the free software, UTorrent, in your PC. You can download it from http://www.utorrent.com. Then go to sites like http://kat.ph/, http://bitsnoop.com, http://www.torrentcrazy.com, http://fenopy.eu/, http://torrentdeluxe.com, http://thepiratebay.se and in the search box type the name of the book you want. A list of the books available will show up. To download, click the magnet icon and a new window will pop up. Then click allow and the book will start downloading. While downloading, if you are forced to close your PC or if the power goes off or if you have any problem connecting to the Net, you need not worry as the next time you switch on your PC and connect to the Net, the downloading will resume, automatically.

Some of the books mentioned above can also be downloaded from file sharing sites like http://freecomputerbooks.com, http://www.pdfbook.co.ke and http://www.4shared.com

Advantages of self-learning

As programming involves learning abstract concepts, you may have to read repeatedly to grasp and fully understand the points made. With these self-help books in your PC you can refer to them when you are free and feel inclined to read. It allows you to learn at your own pace. By downloading a free compiler/IDE (required for writing programmes), you can even start coding. By this trial and error method you can learn programming quite efficiently. Later, when you wish to learn programming by attending classes, and coached by a tutor, you will be able to grasp the lessons more effectively. You can also seek clarifications to difficulties you encountered when you were learning on your own.

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