Help learning to program?

Alright, well I am a teenager, and I am growing an interest in learning the art of programming. During the summer, I don't have much to do, so I have lots of time to just be able to sit here and tinker with my computer, but I want to do something worth my time, I want to learn. I have been directed by some of my friends, who are decent programmers, and they tell me all these different programs and websites I should try out to learn. I really would like a the opinion of an experienced programmer though.

Where should I start out? What programs should I download first? Things like these.

Most detailed, and helpful answer gets best answer.


Kudos to you for asking for directions first.

Unfortunately, there's no quick and easy way in learning computers...

A lot of people out there are trying to develop programs and website not even knowing what is a 'Compiler' or 'Interpreter' or what 'HTTP' or 'FTP' stands for.

I'm not an expert. I learned only a little in programming during college and had a hard time finding a programming job because of it. So what I did is to teach myself after graduation.

Here's how I did it...

1.) Read: (I recommend Wikipedia)

? a. History of Computer (so you know who's who and what's what)

? b. Computer Terminologies (I bet you didn't understand the other answerer's wordings)

? c. Concept of Computers (to give you an idea on its purpose and proper use)

2.) Next, have a quick look on "Operating Systems", search the net for something like:

? "Tutorial: My first BootDisk"

? or "HowTo: Create a LiveCD"

3.) Read some more, search for "Programming Languages". Select the one that is of your interest.

? Buy (or download) a good book (or tutorial CD) about it and experiment with its samples.

? Join programming forums, you'll get better answers there.

4.) Participate in programming workshops. Make friends with people who know programming better.

? They are the people you can consult and help you out when you're stuck with the coding.

? They may even let you borrow some of their books, CDs, sample codes and other resources.

5.) Lastly, keep teaching yourself. Computer is all about continous learning, always 'upgrade' and 'update' yourself.

? If you think you have already learned it, share it. Let others have a look onto it so that if there are mistakes they can correct you and suggest you improvements.

Good luck kiddo!


Learn C++ && have fun.


Look for books in a public Library.


I recomment: Programming: Principles and Practice Using C++ by Bjarne Stroustrup

- - An Introduction to Programming by the Inventor of C++


You need a good integrated development environment (IDE).


I recommend CodeBlocks

- Code::Blocks == Open Source C/C++ IDE


- -codeblocks-10.05mingw-setup.exe for Windows


C++ Tutorials online:




Free Electronic Books:

Thinking in C++ 2nd Edition by Bruce Eckel

Volume 1


Volume 2



Java or .NET. It's where the future is, and is the easiest to learn and manage.

I have no idea why peeps suggest c++ or python, those languages are very good for some things, but not as a first language, nor for making *most* typical programs.

For web you should learn PHP and/or ASP.NET. ASP.NET is faster and easier, but PHP is free and much more widely used.

Another huge benefit of using Java or .NET (C# For example) is the plethora of help documentation on the web. All you have to do is google your problem, and you will find that someone else has already had and solved that same problem. C++ is a little more "Spread out" and "Technical" as far as quickly finding useful information.

check out or


First, you need to pick a language you want to learn. I would recommend something C++. Other people would recommend Java, but to be honest, Java is obsolete and no one uses it for decent applications. Also, Python, as that other guy suggested is completely diffrent in most aspects then other programming languages, so it is hard to switch from python to something else, so I wouldn't recommend that.

The first thing you need to download is an Complier/IDE. If you are going to use C++, Visual C++ Express Edition or Dev C++ are two good, free recommendations that cover this neccesity.

Visual C++ requires you to create a new project for everything you compile though. So whatever compiler you download, you should look up some specifics for compilation with that program.

Whenever someone first starts to learn how to program, they write the "Hello world!" program, it is like a tradition.

//Hello world in c++

#include <iostream>

int main()


std::cout << "Hello world!" << std::endl;


//end of program

I would recommend exaiming the hello world program in whatever language you are learning and try to understand what each part of the code does.

If you are ever confused about a command or something, the msdn library ( provides a lot of documentation on many langauges.


The best programming language for you to start with is Python. That is because it is one of the easiest languages to learn, and it is also a very powerful programming language with lots of libraries and tools. It

is also very mature, and easy to read and write.

In order to install Python on your computer, you can download it here:

Just follow the instructions to install it.

All of your programming will be done in text files. Sometimes it is nice to have a good IDE for your programming environment. Eric is a good IDE for python here:

You can use MIT's opencourseware on how to get started with Python here:…

Eventually when you get really good at programming, standard text editors and IDE's will get really annoying because they are so cumbersome in editing, and you will want to learn how to use VIM which you can install from here: