How can I learn to develop in Linux? I have very little developing experience.
I am a technical writer and I am able to pick up new concepts and skills pretty quickly. I would like to learn to develop; and from my research, I think I would like to start with an open source language, hence linux.
To get started, should I take a class?
Where would be a good cost effective place to take courses?
Are there books that would serve me better?
Can I learn it on my own?
I am in Santa Clara, CA. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Linux is a great place to learn...
There are many avenues that you could go down. First, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions and then you can narrow you options down. Linux can offer you countless unless you want to develop for Windows.
1. Do you want to learn basic (I don't mean the BASIC language) programming skills?
2. Do you want to develop for the web?
3. Do you want to develop programs that run from a command line or GUI applications.
4. Do you want to develop programs that will run on multiple platforms?
5. Do you hope to eventually program professionally?
6. Do you learn better on your own (i.e. using a book, self study) or by taking a course?
Depending upon your answers to those questions, you can narrow things down. Linux is an excellent choice for learning because you don't have to buy a software package for a certain programming language like you do with Windows, such as Visual C++ or something.
The first serious programming language I learned was C (I had used BASIC & Fortran previously), and while I don't do much C programming these days, it provided a basic foundation of understanding that could be transferred to other programming languages.
BOOOOOOOOKS your best bet to learning any language/programming in general. If you get taught programming at school at least for me, you get given basic explanations and the rest is copying out code to try and get grips on what your being taught. University level (not my experience yet but my sister in first year at uni) you get tutorials and you have to read up your self on everything else followed by tests and more tests.
Okay straight book learnin' wont teach you every thing, but your best bet would be your local library for a for dummies guide to programming. I like those started linux with them and they gave a good foundation.
The best idea for learning any language is to be able to write interactive programs, GUI's help. I really suggest tcl/tk it allows you to create good interfaces in seconds it has a more complex C style syntax to keep you working hard and is interpreted so you dont deal with the compiler too much in the beginning.
Ive just started learning C because despite the many languages and books ive seen, ive always wanted to work with the operating systems and most books avoid this because it tends to be more platform specific. I would say the best way to learn anything is a solid education, but uni being several years away and my school using VB i have to do somethings myself.
I'd advise you to start with C for your first compiled language. It's everywhere and there are excellent free tutorials and reference manuals for it all over the internet. You'll never have trouble finding sample code, because so much is written in C. For a scripting language, Python is quite popular. I'd learn C first, because many other languages are based on it's syntax. Try googling for a "free C programming tutorial". I'm sure you'll find something.
Note: Taking a class will cost money, but it may help to have deadlines to motivate you. Just a personal preference I think, at least until you get into higher level stuff and really need a teacher.
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