Programming is one of the most sought after and ideal starting point for any one planning their career in IT as an industry.
Given the plethora of training programs, boot camps,courses and resources ; it has become extremely difficult to find relevant material that can align you to the industry. Getting a certificate for watching videos alone and adding it to your resume wont help in an application oriented environment like programming.
One needs to find mentors, structured courses, lots of hands on and forums/communities that can help in accelerate his learning curve. Hence my answer will be more of an approach rather than a generic solution.
Finding the right course/ training institute:
Choosing institutes can be a cumbersome process. My simple suggestion is to find one that is instructor led.
An instructor led training program can be online or offline but involves a trainer in real time (like a classroom) .
This is very important as programming requires hands on and individual attention to ensure structured progress. If one uses pre recorded videos for learning programming he may not be seeing measurable progress in his skill set.
Another advantage is the accountability an instructor led course brings. Unlike a pre recorded course here the trainer will be customizing and delivering the course to suit your skill level and end goal. Again vital for programming.
The best in the business and one I truly recommend is eAge Technologies – Creating better people
These guys are market leaders in B2B with their corporate training including clientele such as Intel, Honeywell, Juniper Networks, Arris, Aricent and many more!!
They have started a B2C model to reach out to aspirants who never gain access to their content rich courses and industry experienced trainers. If you are interested and serious about your end goal from learning a programming language drop them an inquiry on their website.
Finding good resources/tools:
Next, I’ll suggest for self learning and practice one needs to find the right resources. Hands on is the most important part of programming when one starts out and I feel one of the best and free IDE platforms is Eclipse. This is the best hands on environment to learn your programming language, I suggest you check it out once you have sorted out the language/technology you are interested in learning.
Finding the right Forums/communities:
But having the right environment alone never helps. As IT is an ever evolving industry, its important to stay upgraded. The best way to do this is joining forums and communities. Here you get to learn about new developments in your technology, contribute to engaging discussions and even find new job opportunities
Among Forums and communities Stack Overflow – Where Developers Learn, Share, & Build Careers , Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters, Build software better, together are decent bets to keep yourself abreast about your programming language of interest. Its an intensive and open community and their threads can be really long at times!!
Finding the right Technology Index:
I think the above sources should give you a handle on the approach but often this alone does not help. Many of us are confused about the first step itself. Which programming language to choose to learn!!
For this I recommend first to check out TIOBE – The Software Quality Company
These guys make the most comprehensively ranked list of languages one can learn based on their demand. This should be the first place to go for any aspiring programmer who seeks to make a career in IT.
Finding the right Mentors
Mentoring is important. Finding the right mentors will ensure acceleration in the learning curve and ensure your career choices are guided by experienced professionals in your industry.
If you join a premium program like eAge Technologies – Creating better people then they assign mentors as part of your training program and post training assistance.
Its very important to find mentors who can suggest whether your end goal can be ascertained and explain the technology you are learning and the kind of hands on and learning curve involved!!
I suggest using professional networks like LinkedIn (which has a mentor me tool to boot) to find mentors. I have requested many in the past for mentoring through LinkedIn and have received genuine advice. Yes, finding the right people is a challenge and will need some amount of effort to find an ideal mentor.
I recommend you use the resources I suggested or find a similar alternative. Its extremely important that you learn the most relevant and updated content as the industry itself is volatile and obsolete is a word too commonplace IT!