Writing your First Program

Understanding Programming: A Primer

Understanding Programming: A Primer is an exclusive series for EDUKWEST designed to teach you the basics of computer programming.  This series is designed to be a tutorial and you will be the most successful if you work through the tutorial with your text editor open. Key in the code as it appears and try to make it run correctly yourself.  You’ll find that by the end of this series, you’ll be able to develop simple programs and understand the process of computer programming.

Welcome.  If this is your first time programming, congratulations! You’re about to start an adventure that most find very rewarding. If you are trying to learn after a previous abortive attempt, you deserve recognition as well.  Tackling programming isn’t always easy–but it’s not outside the grasp of the average person, either.

Over the years, I’ve taught programming to over 100,000 people both online and in person.  The programmers I’ve met over the years–both beginners and seasoned vets–have come from a variety of backgrounds.  I’ve found that PhDs and high school dropouts can make good programmers.  I’ve had mathematicians, psychiatrists, and 12 year-olds in my classes over the years and all have been able to learn some programming.

You will learn too.  In this introduction to the series–which is specially designed for the slightly apprehensive beginner–I am going to take you step-by-step through the process of writing your first program.  You don’t need any special equipment except a laptop or desktop computer.  (If you’re brave, you can use use an iPad…but it wouldn’t be my first choice.)

So without further delay, let’s get started!

What You’re Going to Learn

Tutorial I: Writing your first Program

Readers will be taken through a written tutorial where they set up their development environment and write their first program.

Tutorial II: Input and Output

Input and output are key to any program. In this tutorial (and accompanying video) we’ll look at how to get data into and out of a program.

Tutorial III: Understanding Variables

Variables are key building blocks in any program. This tutorial takes readers through declaring and utilizing variables in expressions. Video tutorial included.

Tutorial IV: Conditionals and Loops

Conditionals and Loops are structures which allow programs to make decisions that alter the execution of the program and result.  These will be demonstrated in this tutorial and accompanying video.

Tutorial V: Dealing with Data

Almost every useful program, to some extent, deals with data. In this tutorial and video you’ll learn how to store various forms of data in a program.

Tutorial VI:  Putting it All Together

In this final tutorial of the series, readers will learn how to create a useful program that processes and stores data, using the skills developed in these tutorials.

Picture “Hello World” by Faris Algosaibi, Some Rights Reserved

Mark Lassoff is founder of LearnToProgram, Inc., a Connecticut-based company that publishes online courses that teach mobile, web, and game development. Over 100,000 people have learned programming from Mark through online and live classes and free tutorials.


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