Basic Computer Programing
In this article, we are going to present computer programing and discover how it may be applied to command the way your computer operates. Generally, computer beginners aren’t concerned in controlling the computer, new computer users are commonly concerned in learning more about how it all works. Nevertheless they may be surprised to learn that computer programing increases computer knowledge as a whole and it can assist to decrease the fearfulness and intimidation associated with using a new computer.
Computer programing is creating a succession of commands that enable the computer to do some actions. The people who program computers (called Computer Programers) use a programing language to communicate with a computer. You might have heard of some of these languages in the past such as Visual Basic, C++, or Fortran. There are hundreds of other programing language and neither one is best than the other. Just about all of them are capable of executing the same tasks and accomplishing the same goals. A programer chooses one language by a simple preference.
Each of these languages differ by the way they communicate with a computer, the commands that they abide by are very specific. Not a single command of one language can be exchanged with the commands or language of another. But all of them can be used to control a computer.
At present it would be impossible to teach you how to program any language in a single article or lesson. But we can still introduce you to some of programing’s most basic concepts – starting with the commands. Commands are the instructions that a computer conforms to perform an action. To make them work inside of a program, programers assign commands to objects like buttons for example.
The commands in a program are pretty worthless unless they have some data to pursue so programers either give the programs some information to work with (list of names or numbers for example) or they make the program generate it’s own data. Occasionally, the data comes from an outside source like the Internet or the computer that the program resides. The data that a program receives is called input and data that the program generates is called output.
Other times, the data is unknown. If the program were working with a simple algebra equation like, “x + 5 = y,” the variables “x” and “y” would be unidentified pieces of data. Or if a program were to calculate a date “x” days from now, the variable “x” would be an unidentified piece of data until we tell the program what “x” is. In programming, it’s sometimes required to work with unidentified pieces of data.
That’s when conditions are convenient,conditions allow a program to execute an action based on the event of a previous command. Using this type of command, we could instruct a program to do one thing if the “x” variable in our latter example turned out to be 9 days, and then do different thing if the variable turned out to be 31 days.
Commands, data, variables, and conditions help build the most simple programs and there are certainly more components of any programming language. But when they’re typed into a programing language and compiled to create an executable file (a file ending with the .exe extension), they turn into a software application.
As we mentioned earlier, you can use a programing language to control your computer. By using simple commands, you can program your computer to perform mathematical tasks, fill out web forms, compose an email message and send it off, or any number of other things. If you’re interested, you may find Visual Basic one of the most easiest computer programing languages to learn. Visual Basic is an object-oriented programing language and it automatically codes much of a program the minute a programmer drags a button onto a screen.
Computer Programming: Chapter: 01 – Introduction
Before you jump in and start learning a programming language, it will be helpful to you if you understand what is programming and how it works, including some programming terminology.
A computer on its own is just a useless box. It’s nothing but a bunch of different hardware items assembled into a single unit. At this point, these hardware items either together or individually are of no use. This is as good as a Car that has been assembled. Is the car of any use without fuel? In the same way, we need to provide the computer with fuel, in this case its electricity (though there existed some types of mechanical computers, here we are referring to electrical machines). A computer at this point is essentially just a big bunch of tiny electronic switches that are either on or off. Now this is as good as a Car with enough fuel and can be driven, but no driver to drive.
We need a driver, who can operate the steering wheel, gears, breaks, etc., which will make the car move around. In the same way by setting different combinations of these switches, you can make the computer do something, for example, play a video on the screen or play a music video through the computer speakers or open a file, etc. Now telling a computer when to switch on these switches and when to switch off them is in other words nothing but instructing a computer what to do. This is what Programming is in very simple words.
Programming often refers to computer programming. So this now brings to our first and important question!
What is Programming?
Computer programming commonly known as programming or coding is the art of making a computer do what you want it to do. Programming in very simple terms is about writing programs. A sequence of instructions written to perform a specified task for a computer is known commonly as a Program, but is also referred to as a Software Program or even Computer Program. A computer being just hardware requires instructions to act upon. These instructions are executed in the computes CPU.
Programming is planning how to solve a problem. No matter what method is used — pencil & paper, slide rule, adding machine, or a computer — problem solving requires planning.
Based on the above definition, Programming is planning how to solve a problem. So here we are not actually solving the problem, but the computer will do it for us. If we solve the problem ourselves, then there is no necessity to write a program and hence, we don’t require a computer isn’t it.
Then why do we need a computer, simply because we know how to solve a problem and also know to instruct a computer to do it for us, but cannot do it at the speed & accuracy with which a computer can do it. Also we get Tired & Bored of doing the same job again and again, but the computer can do the same job a zillion times at the same speed & accuracy as the first one without getting bored or tired.
We can take a simple example of calculating the Sum of all even numbers from 1 to 1,000,000. This is not something that we cannot do, but the time that is required to calculate, the possibility of making a mistake at some point of time, amount of resources required if we use a pen and a paper or a calculating machine, and other similar reasons make this an undesirable option. Over & above this, what if we need to calculate between different set of numbers again and again? It is difficult humanly. But by writing a program, we can achieve this in less than 5 minutes. At the same time we can keep running the same program again and again for doing any number of calculations and also we can get accurate results in seconds.
I can instruct the computer to take each number, Add it with the next and from there on Add every next number to the previous sum till we reach the upper limit specified. Don’t look at these instructions for its accuracy, but what you need to understand here is that, I can instruct a computer to solve a problem only if I know how to do it. This means that unless I know the solution to the problem, it’s of no use even to try solving one.
You can take an example of a Cab driver on the street, but who is new to the city. With this cab driver, we cannot simple get into the car and ask him to drive to Point A. We will have to give him proper instructions on the route that he needs to take to reach the destination. I can give him the instructions on the route only if I know how. Otherwise, it will be a futile effort.
In the same way there is no point even trying to write a program until you have the knowledge of how you are going to set about solving the problem.
Put in simple words, Programming is telling a computer what to do. Though it seems to be pretty simple, it’s very complicated. You will have to keep in mind about two things here:
The very important point here is that Computers don’t speak English. Since a Computer being a machine only understands two basic concepts: on and off. The on and off concept is called binary system with on representing 1 and off representing 0. Hence Computer knows only one language that is of 0’s and 1’s commonly known as binary language.
The second important thing is that your instructions should be PRECISE. As I have mentioned previously, a computer on its own is just a useless box. It’s nothing but a bunch of different hardware items assembled into one unit.
So if you have to instruct a computer, then you have to tell them PRECISELY what to do.
Now I hope you have got to know the complexity in Programming.
Computer Programming: Chapter: 02 – Know the Basics
In the previous article Computer Programming: Chapter: 01 – Introduction, I spoke about what is programming and ended it by saying that computers do not understand English or for that matter any language we humans speak. I said that computers only understand the language of 0’s and 1’s.
If you have used a computer for any purpose till now, you will not agree with me, since you have been using it mostly in English or any other language that you know. You would have watched movies, listened to songs, created documents, sent e-mails, browsed lot of sites and even you would have read my articles in one of the human readable languages. Also if you have written a program or even seen somebody doing it, you might have noticed that even they have not been using the language of 0’s and 1’s.
Even if you agree that there are people who knows this language of 0’s and 1’s, looking at the second important point I said that “The instructions should be PRECISE”, you might be wondering that it will be next to impossible to even write a simple computer program, if what I am saying is true.
Today, to use a computer you need not know how a computer works or what language does it speak? All you need to do is simply turn on a computer and when it is ready use the mouse and keyboard to point at some little graphical object on the screen, click a button, Swipe a finger or two in case of a touch screen device to get a computer to do what is required of it. An example would be what you need to read this article.
The reason computers are so easy to use today because of the hard work of some programmers who have programmed for it to behave in a certain way. And, here we are not trying to use a computer, but to learn how to program a computer. But the computer doesn’t know anything except 0’s & 1’s called binary language, and remember not all computers speak the same dialect. That is the reason a program on a desktop computer does not run on an iMac and vice versa.
Let me explain with an example of two blind people, where in the first person (let us call him as Person-A) knows only English and the other person (let us call him as Person-B) knows only Sanskrit. Person-A wants Person-B to draw a sketch? Now, how do you expect these two to communicate with each other, isn’t it difficult. Person-A can’t even show in writing since the Person-B being blind. The only way of communicating is through speech in a known language, and by giving precise instructions.
Now, the only way they both can communicate with each other is by having an interpreter. Now when the Person-A speaks in English, the interpreter then translates it into Sanskrit and repeats it to the Person-B. When the Person-B says something in Sanskrit, the interpreter again translates and repeats the sentence in English to the Person-A. Now with the help of interpreter, both are able to communicate very easily.
By using the interpreter solves our language problem. We still have another problem at our hand. That is Person-A is asking Person-B who is blind to draw a sketch. Though this is not something that is impossible, but it is difficult, unless you know how to instruct. Even if Person-A is able to now communicate, he should know the steps in a proper order and very precisely, otherwise he will get Person-B to draw something, but not what he would be expecting. Person-A should know every minute detail very precisely, since the Person-B is blind, he will just follow whatever Person-A instructs. If the Person-A asks him to draw a line of 1.23 cm, from a particular point with a certain degree, Person-B without even questioning anything just does that without even thinking about the outcome. If Person-A knows how to instruct precisely and exactly in the way it is required, then Person-B will draw what he wants in the way he wants.
If we get back to computer programs, and use the same approach as in the above example everything becomes very simple and easy. Replace Person-A with yourself and Person-B with the computer. Now the first thing you need is an interpreter and the second is you should know what you want and the precise steps that is required, so that you can get the work done.
To Read or Write a Binary code or program is unfortunately very difficult for humans. So we have to use some kind of program that can translate something we instruct in English into Binary language and vice versa. These programs which can translate our instructions in English into Binary code are surprisingly called as an interpreter.
Do these interpreters really understand English?
This will be the question that might be running in your mind now. The answer is Yes & No.
Yes, since we use English words programming languages, and No since computers are still not up to that level so as to understand what we speak be it in any language. This type of language is known as high level languages. By using the term languages, I am not referring to various languages such as English, French, etc., but I am referring to the high level languages that we use to write programs, which are then interpreted and converted into binary code so as to make the computers understand it. High Level languages are covered in more detail in the coming sections.
Let us now look at the Binary language in detail, but before we should actually know something important. They are Bits & Bytes.
Computer Programming For Beginners – The Right Approach
Computer programming is one of the most interesting subjects on earth if you will just take the right approach. Unlike those major subjects in schools, programming should be treated differently. Programming for beginners require that the wannabe programmer has full understanding on how it is done and what the basics of are.
What is Computer Programming?
Programming is simply telling a computer to do a task. It is very much like teaching a toddler how to add numbers. In programming individuals, we usually employ several languages the person can understand like English or French. In the same way, writing a computer program requires humans to employ languages that can be read by the computer such as C, Pascal, Java, and Python.
Human languages are very complex, however human beings learn to use them because of our intelligence. On the other hand, computers are not so smart; the language used in instructing them is quite simple. This is the reason why it’s fun and easy for a human being like you to learn one or several computer programming languages. Once you become familiar with even one computer language, it will be much easier for you to learn another.
Things to Consider When Writing a Computer Program
1. Set up the logic of the program.
Logic is considered the backbone of any program. It needs to be prepared based on the resources your chosen programming language allow. Preparing the logic must be done prior to the real coding process. You should make a flow chart for your program, or write its algorithm before you start with the process of writing the program.
2. Split the programs into functions.
The majority of the programs let you break the program into functions. These functions need to be written with the least number of instructions. They must be designed in such a way that they can be reused over and over again.
3. Study the syntax of every command you’ll use.
One of the reasons for most programming errors is improper use of syntax. There are many programs that have features that can be used to check the syntax of each command as well as integral functions that you want to utilize.
4. Make sure your code is short.
The fewer the number of instructions the faster the rate of execution of the program. Most of the time, we use complex logic in getting a task done. Little do we know that this task can easily be performed if we utilize the built-in functions of the programming language. To avoid these problems, you should have enough knowledge of all the inbuilt functions available in the program.
5. Be sure that variable names and functions are logical.
Proper names used in functions and variables make the coding process simpler. While using illogical variable names won’t impede the program’s functionality, it will make it harder for you to enhance or modify this code afterwards.
Aside from learning various programming languages, computer programming for beginners involves familiarization of the above-mentioned tips. So you better put these things in mind if you want to pursue a career in programming.
Computer Programming Explained
Computer programming is the process of designing and writing computer programs. That is pretty straightforward, isn’t it?
At its most basic, you can think of programming as giving instructions to a computer to do something you want it to do – which might sound very similar to how you operate your desktop computer. Simplistically, the only difference between what you are doing now as a computer user and what you might do as a computer programmer is that the instructions are saved somewhere so they can be used over and over. As a matter of fact, if you have used macros in a software program like a word processor or spreadsheet (or countless other applications that are macro enabled) you have done computer programming of a sort.
Programs can be as simple as a set of instructions stored in a text file for doing some mundane task, like making backups of all the computer files in a folder, or as complex as something like a word processor, or the operating system that your computer uses which can require millions of lines of code. We need to understand that computers, which are generally just pieces of metal, plastic, silicon, and other materials stuck together in a way that allows them to do some amazing things that seem like thinking, can’t actually think at all. But what they can do extremely well is follow instructions. So what are these instructions, anyway? At the level that a computer understands, these have to be very precise, very detailed, and very complete step-by-step directions, and they must be in a form that the processor and other parts of the computer can understand – and that is as little electrical pulses which humans aren’t capable of emitting (at least not at this time).
In a way, you can think of a computer program like a recipe: a set of instructions that can be followed to produce a result. In the case of a recipe, the instructions are used by a human and can therefore be a bit descriptive, leaving out some of the details. For example, if a recipe instruction is to “pour the mixture into a blender and whip until frothy”, it is assuming that the human knows what a blender is, and where it is, and how to set it up, and how to use it – and also what pour means, and what frothy means, and so on. The human chef is expected to fill in the gaps. A computer can’t do this – it has no idea what anything means, except for a few very simple instructions. So the way we do this is to give the human a way to write instructions that can then be translated into something the computer can understand. The “way to write instructions” is called a programming language.
What a programming language allows us to do is to write instructions for the computer in a more or less human readable form that can then be translated into something the computer can work with. The human readable instructions are typically called (you guessed it) – code! Each line of human readable code translates into thousands of detailed computer instructions. A special program (or set of programs) is used to do this translation – each computer language has its own translators, which are called compilers or interpreters. Once the translation is done the result is stored in some form such as a file or set of files (or in computer memory in some cases), and each time the software is run, the computer will follow the instructions and (hopefully) the program will do whatever it is that it is supposed to be doing.
Although it is often imagined that you have to be a genius to be able to write useful software, almost anyone who is computer savvy and has an interest in becoming a power user can learn to program. Most software is written by average people with specialized knowledge and skills. Mastering computer programming can be a lifelong pursuit, but gathering enough knowledge and skill to be able to do useful things isn’t out of reach for anyone who knows how to use a computer and is willing to dedicate a little time… or maybe a lot of time, but still – it isn’t out of reach.
Program Your Future at Computer Programming Schools
While some head off to college to pursue liberal arts, others will go the tech route into computer programming schools. A career in computer programming can mean many things. From the financial advantages of a lucrative career, a computer programming degree provides professionals with plenty of other opportunities. Some say with a computer programming degree, you’ll never have to worry about your job outlook because computer programming professionals are always in demand. Find out what it takes to get there.
The Hardware of a Career
A career in computer programming can entail various things. While most computer programming degree holders get jobs doing just that, there’s so much more to the career. For starters, a computer programmer is in charge of imputing sequenced instructions in order to direct a computer to do an assigned task or action. In order to achieve this, computer programmers must write, test, and maintain programs that computers must follow in order to perform specific functions. A knowledge of computer networking is important as many programmers will work for companies that have multiple workstations and systems in place. Problem solving is also a key ingredient for someone with a career in computer programming. A computer programmer must develop system solutions using appropriate methodologies and techniques. Those with a computer programming degree with knowledge in computer hardware and computer networking should have a firm grasp of this upon graduation.
The Ins and Outs of a Computer Programming Degree
So what will you learn as a computer programming student? Since computer programmers have to review, analyze, and modify programming systems, he or she must learn the tricks of encoding, testing, debugging, and documenting programs. Although this might sound complicated, a seasoned computer programmer — one with a computer programming degree and experience — has this down to a science. Until then an associate’s computer programming degree in a related area or higher, combined with up to three years of experience in the field will get you there.
A career in computer programming takes more than just the technical mumbo-jumbo. Common concepts, practices, and procedures within a specific field is also beneficial to a computer programmer. Once you’re ready and able (and can land a job), you can expect to earn around $50,979. That’s the median expected salary for an entry level computer programmer in the United States according to the Basic Salary Report, an estimate based on broad national data reported by human resource departments of tens of thousands of employers.
Now that you know what it takes and what you can earn, you can take the first step to computer programming success. Begin by going for an associate or bachelor’s computer programming degree. A degree in computer science is generally what’s required for employment at more prestigious technology companies. Keep in mind science, mathematics, and engineering also provide the kind of base knowledge employers look for (beyond computer programming courses). And don’t forget about specific programming language — employers typically want computer programming professionals to be certified and/or familiar with those they use.
What Are the Benefits of Pursuing Computer Programming As a Career?
I would like to share with you some of the benefits of pursuing computer programming as a career, but before we explore these benefits let us look at a quick definition of computer programming.
There are indeed many definitions of computer programming, but to keep things as simple and relevant as possible I would define computer programming as that skill which empowers us to communicate with computers in a language which they understand in order that they can perform specific tasks for us.
Everyday examples of these tasks would be the running of a spreadsheet program, a word processor or an email program. For example a spreadsheet program has to be loaded and activated by a computer before we can use it. When it is loaded and activated the computer is said to be “running” the program.
Hence a computer programmer’s job would be to write the instructions which comprise the spreadsheet program in a language understood by the computer. This set of written instructions is commonly referred to as a software application or computer program.
Because computers are a lot smaller cheaper and more numerous than that which obtained a couple of decades ago, we find that there are many more potential clients who need various applications.
More importantly with the widespread availability of the internet a lot of these computers are connected together. This is why a career as a computer programmer is definitely worthy of your consideration.
However having said all this we must remember that computer programming is not for everyone, but if you do fit the bill then a whole new world awaits you and you will find yourself limited mainly by your own creativity and imagination.
Now here are some of the benefits of pursuing computer programming as a career.
1. As a computer programmer there is generally a strong demand and hence a higher likelihood of either getting a job or remaining in employment if you already have one.
2. While working in this space you will generally find that flexible working hours is an option.
3. There is in many cases the potential ability to work almost anywhere rather than having to commute.
4. The computer programming space is generally a results driven environment rather than being politically driven – although we can never completely escape politics because we are human.
5. It can be quite lucrative as a career to pursue.
6. There will frequently be the opportunity to work in a team with other like-minded individuals.
7. You will have the freedom to work on your own for extended periods of time when necessary or desired.
8. You will have the mobility to move around various industries depending on your preference and also where you want to live.
We have only scratched the surface here because there are many more benefits to explore. Actually I will write a few more articles to cover some of these points in greater detail so please watch out for them!
Computer Programming – Skills and Traits Programmers Possess
Those who work in computer programming appear to have a certain set of traits that benefit them in their careers. When paired with the skills learned through higher education these traits can help programmers become successful. Computer programmers are able to complete a number of specific duties due to the traits they carry that are beneficial to this type of work. Computer programmers are very detailed thinkers and are able to excel in their positions due to the various traits and skills they possess.
Professionals with ISTJ (Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging) personality types have natural skills that are beneficial to this line of work, according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicators (MBTI) assessment personality test. They are focused, observant, and good communicators which are all traits that are beneficial to computer programming. Careers in computer programming require individuals that are interested in and capable of working alone and in teams as well as in structured and orderly environments. Professionals in this field can find work in various businesses such as:
- Internet Marketing Companies
- Computer Consultant Businesses
They may also find employment in the:
- Engineering Industry
- Manufacturing Industry
Computer programmers are able to enjoy working on a variety of projects due to the traits and skills they possess. Professionals in this line of work have been found to value tradition and are very family oriented. Computer programming is considered a good career field for those who are observant and practical, and enjoy working long hard hours. As a part of computer education, computer programming is a great field for those who like to solve problems and create new things. Those who have the right personality and wish to enter a career in computer programming can do so by completing research and learning about the training requirements.
The traits that are common in computer programmers and the skills and knowledge that are obtained through higher education can be beneficial to pursuing a successful career. Other common traits can include high intelligence, confidence, dependability, and detail oriented. Skills for employment as a programmer can be obtained by completing online courses in computer networks, database design, computer program writing, and web design and multimedia. All of the personality traits and skills that are obtained through accredited training can help to make a computer programmer that is beneficial to a variety of businesses and corporations.
Those with ISTJ personalities are beneficial to this line of work because they are dependable, detail oriented, and able to complete a number of tasks at once. Multiple opportunities exist for those that have the traits to pursue successful careers in computer programming. Accredited online computer programming schools allow students to pursue an education from the comfort of home. Training possibilities will vary by school or college but will allow students to choose the career, level of training, and specific area of study that will help them match their skills and traits for an exciting career. By receiving a higher education, those with the right personality traits are able to enter into successful positions.
Computer Programming Basics – Getting Started the Easy Way
A computer program is made up of a chain of instructions a computer has to perform. These instructions may come with other important data that’s needed to carry out those instructions. Hence, the process of programming involves the defining of the instructions and the data. For you to come up with data for your computer, you should be familiar with computer programming basics and the datas three fundamental elements:
1. Instructions that need to be carried out.
2. Order in which the instructions are to be carried out.
3. Data needed to do the instructions.
The first stage of computer programming basically involves paper processes. In this phase, you don’t even need to work using a computer, however if you use a word processor that will enable you to write your work to a disk file rather than in a piece of paper. You need to do this so you can figure out clearly and more specifically, what you want your computer to perform before you begin to instruct the computer to execute it.
Bear in mind that the computer will follow the instructions exactly as given. It can’t say what you want; it can rather do what you want it to do. So before your program comes close to a computer, you need to do several steps which include:
– Defining the problem
Before you instruct the computer what to do, you must first be familiar with it. You need to clearly tell the computer what it needs to accomplish or to generate as the outcome of all the activities it will perform.
– Identifying the solution
If you already know what the computer will produce as an end result, you should take a close look at the information you have, and determine the information that you require. There’s also a need for you to define the logical procedures, equations, and other methods you have to utilize so you can manipulate the raw input data into the end result you want to achieve.
– Mapping the solution
This stage in computer programming has to be laid out in proper order. Don’t forget that the sequence in which actions are used is as vital as the actions themselves. When organizing the solution into the right order, you will be putting choices into consideration.
When you’re done defining the problem as well as designing and mapping the solution, the next thing you need to do is to begin with the task of writing the program code into one or a couple of computer language(s). But before you proceed, you must first decide on the possible languages you need to use as well as the particular computer platform.
Usually, computer languages are optimized for various kinds of tasks. It is, hence, important to select first the language that will best suit the task required. Indeed, learning computer programming basics is the first step a wannabe programmer has to arm himself with, especially if he wants to pursue a career in the said field.