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Learning Programming – How to Become a Professional Software Developer

What does a Programmer Do?

Let’s start with the job description: What does a programmer do? He (or she) solves problems with a computer.

Figure 1. A computer solves problems given an input and a program to produce an output.

A computer is a machine that takes an input, processes it according to a sequence of commands, which is called a program, and then produces an output. So the task of a programmer is to understand a problem, find a way to solve it and make the computer solve it for him. The last part of it is done by writing a program, and this program is formulated in a programming language.

Figure 2. A programmer creates a program that will produce the desired output with the given input.

This means you have to learn skills from three different fields to become a software developer:

  1. Understand how a computer works.
  2. Learn to understand problems and rethink them in a way that also a computer could solve them.
  3. Train a computer to solve them, e.g. write a program in a programming language.

As you can see, only the last skill set is actually using a programming language! So to become a programmer, you should not start head first with a programming language. Instead, learn about your computer first.

How to do it will be the topic of the next article in this series.

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