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How to start learning a new programming language [Part 1]

The Problem

For years I was struggling with learning a new programming language.
In my day job I'm a software developer for medical devices. That means writing software for a device which should never fail. The programming languages of choice are C and C++ for the embedded systems I'm working on and the product lifecycle is long - 10 to 15 years.

So I'm stuck in my roots, programming with the same languages and writing even more documentation of the software I code.

Getting started?

Now, how do I get to start on a new programming language?

Last week I was sitting in front of my computer and looked on my desktop. The last months had taken its toll. The desktop was cluttered in files from 3d printing, pictures and files for different private projects.

There it was! A problem I want to solve.

A program to sort away my files. A program which can help me and other people to clean their computer.

Getting started!

This problem allows me to add one more point I always wanted to learn to my todo list. Implementing an UI. In my day job I did only some small tweaking to user interfaces, never building one from the ground up.

Starting goals:

  • Use Swift for the application
  • Use SwiftUI for the user interface
  • sort files by filetype to different destinations
  • move / copy these files from one location to the other

Nothing more - just the minimal working solution to my problem. No fancy features, no fancy UI.

How to get started

In conclusion - you can start learning a language by doing tutorials. You will learn a lot, especially when you are new to programming.
But you have to jump into the deep end sooner or later. A tutorial can only teach you the syntax and how small parts of the language work. Making an application on your own is a different story.

Find a problem you want to be solved. Break it down to smaller pieces you can solve and start from there.

Don't be afraid to fail. The internet is full of sites helping you solve the problem you may find on your way!

The first versions of the application are already done, getting more features over time. I want to continue this as a small series. Publishing more stories in the next weeks on my journey to learn a new programming language and solve my problem.

Picture: Image by Mariann Szőke from Pixabay - Thank you!

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