How To Get Started Programming

Written By John Sonmez

Breaking into the software development industry can be rather difficult. It is dfficult to get a job without experience and it is difficult to get experience without a job.
In this video, I talk about how you can get started learning to program and then how you can actually land that first job.

[blank_space height='3em']

Full transcript:

John:               Hey, John Sonmez from and today I thought I would answer one of the biggest questions that I get all the time.  I get a lot of emails asking basically how do I get started in programming or how do I become a software developer.  I thought I’d address that question this time.

This is a tricky question.  It’s not easy to get started as a programmer or software developer.  If you’re already one you can probably recall when you first got started in your career how hard it might have been to break into the field especially this whole experience paradox which basically is if you don’t have experience how do you get experience?  How do you get a job without having a job?  How do you get experience if you don’t have a job?

There is a way around this.  There’s a good way that you can actually get a job without having experience and to build up experience without a job.  Now starting off, before we get into that let’s talk about where to get started if you just don’t even know where to start.  You want to learn to be a programmer, you want to learn to write code, but you don’t know where to get started.

The best place to get started is to just look around to find some free resources online for learning to code.  There’s a bunch of different resources.  I, of course, do videos for a company called PluralSight and that’s not a free resource, but you can find online training videos for free as well as the ones on PluralSight which are not free, but are usually of higher quality than some of the free things, but you can find these resources online.  Just do a search on tutorials for learning C# or learning Java and you’re going to find that.  That’s the first place I would start.  I would start by actually writing code.

A big mistake that people do is they pick up a book on programming, they start reading through that book and they think they’re going to learn how to code that way.  No, the way you’re going to learn how to code, the way you’re going to learn how to program is to start doing it.  That’s why I say look for tutorial online because that’s going to be more interactive.  You’re going to get started faster.  You’re going to be stepping through and doing what they’re doing and learning that way.  Now it’s going to be very confusing at first, there’s a lot of moving pieces, there’s a lot of things to learn, but you just have to keep on plowing forward and keep on writing code.

Now next let’s talk about how you get that experience.  Let’s say that you’ve got started a little bit.  You’re starting to learn something like Java or C# or Java Script and now you actually want to try and get a job.  Well, before you go and try and get a job here’s what I’d recommend that you do, start learning how to build an application.  Pick some simple project that you’re going to do, some simple application and start working on creating that application.  Learn what you need to know to do that.

Now, a good place to do this is android.  You can make an android application or even an iOS application, but android is probably a good place to start.  Or if you’re a developer, Windows phone 8 those platforms are fairly easy to get started on.  If you create a very simple application and you figure out everything you need to do to create that application and then you actually put that application into the app store, actually put it for sale or for free download, whatever you want to do, but make sure you get it out there then here’s what’s going to happen.

You’re going to put on your resume this company name that you made for building your application.  It’s going to be legitimate because you created that company to build that application, right?  You’re going to walk into an interview and you’ve got experience now because you work for your own company, you own your own company.  Your company wasn’t a fictitious company because it actually released software which a lot of companies don’t even ever release software so you’re ahead of the game there, and you can show your app in the app store.  You pull up your phone and you say, “Hey, look at this, I wrote this application.  I actually know how to code” or “I’m just starting out but here’s what I did.”  That shows some great initiative and you can show the source code for it.  You can pull it up on your laptop and say, “Hey look, here.  This is my app.  Here’s the code that I wrote.  This proves that I can write some code.”

If you’re willing to do this and see, here’s the problem, most people aren’t willing to do this.  a lot of people are going to listen to this video and say, “Ah, that’s too hard.  Yeah, I think I’ll just read a book or whatever.”  If you are willing to do this, if you’re going to put yourself ahead of a majority of the people trying to break into the field, because if you’re out there, you’ve got an app, you’ve built something, you’re willing to get your hands dirty and go through the hard work of learning something by doing it, not just reading about it.  Like I said you’re going to be ahead of a majority of people that are trying to get into the field especially relevant if you’re already—let’s say you’re in QA, you’re a software caster or something like that and you want to switch over to development, start writing code, get an application in the app store, build a web application even.  Have a portfolio that you can show that you know how to write code and that you have the initiative to see a project through to its completion.

Well, that’s my advice for you.  If you’d like to find out more advice like this definitely don’t forget to subscribe to this YouTube channel but also check out my blog at and take care.  Have a great week.