So we have a good idea of where programming came from and we have chosen our portfolio as our starting point. Your portfolio can be whatever you want it to be, but you will need to have a few common elements as part of your portfolio. You will need a list of your projects, you will need information describing what makes you...well...you, and you will need a way for potential employers to contact you. What we have done here is to break down your first project into manageable, easy to digest, chunks.

So how do we go about learning a programming language? Essentially we are going to do what we just did in the introductory paragraph, break it down! When learning to program what will be your portfolio, you can spend a lot of time going in all the wrong directions. One of the most important skills to learn is to break things down into manageable chunks. Learning a programming language comes down to learning the tools, the concepts, and the syntax.

Tools

Learning the tools is probably half of your battle when you are starting out learning your first language. Tools are one of those things you have to learn if you want to be successful in your chosen language. But you can literally get lost in the tools. For the most part, the tools have gotten a lot better over the years, but there are still ways to get bogged down in the tools. A word of warning, do NOT let the tools get you down.

Concepts

The concepts of programming and language specific concepts can be a little tough, even if you have studied computer programming. Take some time here to learn the concepts right the first time. There will always be new stuff to learn, but essentially the core computer science concepts are similar from language to language. So by taking time to learn the basic concepts, you will set yourself up for success as you are getting the syntax and tooling down. Do not skimp on learning the concepts. Break them down, study a little at a time and mark them off your list. But DO NOT skip them! ;)

Syntax

You can think of syntax as the punctuation rules in English class. Some languages have more complex syntax than others, but the key here is again to learn a little bit at a time over a long period of time. The longer you use a language and read other people’s code, the better you will get with the syntax. I am not sure how to explain it other than using the concept of familiarity. Something starts to click and the syntax starts to make sense. Maybe not everything all at once, but little bits and pieces start to come together. Give it time!

The key with a lot of these things is to do a little bit each day. There is a reason that the 100 days of code works. Commit to learning 1 hour a day. Map out a schedule of the concepts and the syntax. Mark them off as you finish and keep making progress. Sometimes learning the tooling is as grueling as the syntax, but find a way to learn which works for you. This is not above you, there is just a lot to learn and there are many potholes along the way. Don’t give in and don’t give up! You’ve got this!