Learning how to code is not an easy task and it can be hard to keep track of everything that you have to learn in order to excel in the digital software world. Fortunately, it can be done if you start off by learning Computer Science basics and then progress to more advanced software engineer learning areas. If you learn the fundamentals of Computer Science, you will be able to gain more confidence in your abilities and start learning how to code or become a beginner software developer.
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Computer Science Explained
It is important to understand what Computer Science is actually all about especially if you do not yet have a clear idea on what it entails. There is a lot of confusing technical jargon in the world when talking about Computer Science but try not to let this deter you. Once you have a grip on the fundamentals is can be relatively simple. Computer Science is the art of understanding what happens inside a computer when you run code and execute programs as well as how your computer performs tasks that your code tells it to. In simple terms it can be described as the process in which various parts of a computer work together.
Why Learn Computer Science Basics for Coding
Computer science and computer programming work together by teaching you how to harness technology in order to address complex challenges as well as to think through and adapt to certain systems. Programming without the knowledge of Computer Science offers poor results due to the fact that you won’t have the fundamental knowledge that is needed to help you grasp the full concept of becoming a software engineer. Computer science is a hard discipline to master but if you are motivated and dedicate sufficient time to your studies it is quite possible for you to learn all the concepts that it entails.
Reasons Why Learning Computer Science Basics is Beneficial
# Learn to Code Faster
Once you have learned the basics of Computer Science you will have a solid understanding on what computers are able to do as well as what they can do for you. You will be ale to learn code a lot faster as you will be familiar with the technical terminology and jargon that you have learnt.
# Write Better Code
Once you are more aware of how computers work and how they are able to perform the tasks that are given to them you will automatically gain an understanding on how to write better code. You will also become more aware of the limitations to your programs.
# Solve Problems Faster
The understanding of Computer Science fundamentals can help you to plan and build more effective projects as well as solve problems and find better solutions without having to repeat yourself.
Can Computer Science Be Self Taught?
Computer science is definitely something that can be self-taught. There are many websites that have wonderful resources for learning computer science and various programming languages. You should, however, have a general idea about CPU and memory in order to fully understand the science behind the code.
How to teach yourself computer science
Step 1 – Learn how to code.
Step 2 – Learn how to program.
Step 3 – Decide on a specialisation.
Step 4 – Learn new things and constantly better yourself.
The Three Phases of the Software Engineer
There are three phases that need to be completed in order to become a successful software engineer:
1- The Coder
2- The Programmer
3- The Computer Scientist
A coder refers to a person who knows how to speak the same language as the machine and who, when given a certain problem, is able to break down the elements of that problem into instructions that the machine is able to understand so that it can come up with a solution. The coding phase is one of the earliest phases of a software engineers’ career, but unfortunately may software engineers tend to remain in this phase for their entire lives up until retirement. If you are only able to code, then you will not have much room for growth and will probably only be able to obtain an entry level job as a software engineer.
In order to become a solid coder it is important to learn at least the basics of two programming languages. It is essentially better to be named a programmer as it promotes your level of expertise from coder to programmer status. It can be said that writing code does the job but writing code that is efficient is what programmers do.
Here is a list of some skills that you should have as a programmer:
- The knowledge of the fundamentals and how code turns into something that can by understood and then executed by hardware.
- You should know how to use data structures and algorithms to write code.
- You will need to demonstrate an understanding on what makes code work well.
- The importance of quality and testing must be infinitely understood.
- You need to know how to utilize storage and network resources efficiently with your software.
The Computer Scientist
Once you have mastered the programming phase you are able to enter the phase of becoming a computer scientist. A computer scientist refers to an architect who is able to think about the big picture by having a solid understanding on how to design largely distributed systems as well as scalable systems that are able to handle bigger loads. A computer scientist is constantly learning and staying up to date with the latest trends and technology in is most likely to oversee big projects and manage a team of coders and programmers.
Technical Skills Needed for Coding
Programming is an essential skill to learn as various programming languages assist you to organise unstructured sets of data. There are many programming languages available, but the most commonly used ones are Python and Java.
Python is a language that is very easy to learn and is a very high-level language that allows you to write real programs in just a few lines of code in a short amount of time. Python offers a simple and easy to learn syntax to emphasize readability and reduce the cost of overall program maintenance.
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It is always a good idea to learn more than language to teach you other types of programming concepts. Java can be found anywhere and is a primary language for Android development. It is found in web applications, governmental websites, and big data technologies. Java is known as being slightly harder to learn that Python due to its lengthy syntax.
Python and Java are a very good combination of programs to learn as they provide you with solid ideas from different kinds of programming concepts that you will use in almost every other programming language. These two programming languages are predominately used in the software industry.
The Software Stack
In computing, a software stack is a set of software subsystems that are used to create a complete platform so that no additional software is needed to support applications. Applications are said to “run on” or “run on top of” the resulting platform. In simple terms software stack is a collection of the programs that are used together in order to produce a specific result. These stacks are used in the implementation of functions, expression evaluation, backtracking algorithms and parsers. The skills that are required to become a stack developer are front-end technology, database, development languages, server, API and version control systems.
Algorithms and Data Structures
Studying algorithms and data structures teaches you how to write code in a way that makes your code more efficient, while at the same time defining your type of efficiency. The skills that you learn in this phase are ones that separate average coders from excellent programmers
Code does not normally run on a single machine as most code communicates with other computers via a local network or the internet. It is for this reason that programmers need to have a very good foundation and solid knowledge as to how computer networking works.
An Understanding of Operating Systems
The Software stack is run by a variety of operating systems so you should make sure that you have an extremely broad idea of the roles of operating systems within the stack. You will needs come basic knowledge of C due to the fact that most operating systems are written in C. Operating systems are a very dense topic and learning all the aspects of operating systems can prove to be very time consuming. Is in important, though, for you to grasp the fundamentals of operating system concepts in order to move forward in your learning journey.
This learning level allows you to learn new skills while at the same time improve skills that you have previously learned as a programmer. Distributed Systems focuses on building and architecting software systems that are scalable and also requires you to think more out the box instead of focusing on the individual components of computer programming. In the case of building a search engine service, programmers with a good knowledge of algorithms and data structures are able to build efficient search engines for a number of smaller files. Distributed systems allows you to create an army of computers that are able to work together to form a specific task and allows you to crate scalable systems that can handle more requests or data.
Machine learning is a module that concentrates on various fields like computer science, maths and statistics. To build software you need to be a solid programmer with very strong mathematical and statistical foundations. Machine learning is the application of artificial intelligence to provide systems with the ability to automatically improve by using experience without having to be programmed. It is the focus on the development of computer programs that can access data and then use this data to learn it for themselves. There are many different skills that can be learnt in machine learning as well as many courses that are available to help you understand and implement the ml algorithms by yourself.
The Best Sites for Free Online Computer Programming Courses
- MIT OpenCourseWare
- The Odin Project
- Khan Academy
Computers are indeed the future and can be found almost everywhere in the world interfacing with t every aspect of daily life as we know it. Learning computer science helps to develop mathematical skills and imagination and teaches you how to efficiently solve complex problems.
“If you think you are worth what you know, you are very wrong. Your knowledge today does not have much value beyond a couple of years. Your value is what you can learn and how easily you can adapt to the changes this profession brings so often.”
— Jose M. Aguilar