So, You Want to Learn Programming?

Posted on March 3, 2013 by Brian Jaress
Tags: advice, reference

Recently, more and more people I know have said they’d like to learn programming. Here are some resources for anyone who’s interested:


Eloquent JavaScript by Marijn Haverbeke

This book has some of the best explanations I’ve seen, and the programming language it teaches is one of the most useful for today’s beginners. The digital version is free online and has places right in the page for you to type code.


No theory, just step-by-step interactive exercises. I normally don’t care for this style of teaching, and I don’t much care for the Ruby language, but this site is very well done and very easy.

Non-Programmer’s Tutorial for Python 2.6 by Josh Cogliati

This one gets down in the trenches and teaches you how to write and run programs on your own computer, not in a sandbox on a website designed for learning. It also covers “realistic” topics that many introductions omit, such as figuring out what’s wrong with a program, splitting a large program into parts, and working with data files. It also teaches Python, a pretty good general-purpose language.

Tips from Me

Background Information

99 Bottles of Beer | Top Rated Real Languages

This site has a large number of small programs that all do the same thing (print out the lyrics to “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall”) in a variety of languages. Ignore the really long examples that are written as jokes or to prove it can be done with a specific part of the language.

Programming Principles and Programming Rules of Thumb

Two Wikipedia pages that really should be combined. You don’t need to learn anything on these lists to learn to program, but a little browsing through them might help.

Introduction to Computer Science and Programming

A video lecture that takes a big step back and asks, “What is knowledge?” It eventually works it’s way to things that are covered in the beginning of the tutorials listed above.