your first programming language

The first step is to just learn a programming language. This course will teach you a language called Python. Python is relatively easy to learn, but it’s also a powerful language. For example, artificial intelligence software is often written in Python. Whatever you end up doing, Python is a good language to have in your repertoire.

Furthermore, the most important thing for you to learn is how to think like a programmer, not any particular language. There are many parallels between programming languages and natural languages. Natural languages aren’t just for communicating ideas we’ve already thought to other people. We think in natural languages; they help us have ideas in the first place. It is the same with programming languages. As you learn the vocabulary and grammar of your first programming language, you will learn how to take an idea for a program you want to write and break it down into small, understandable steps.

After you’ve learned that process in one language like Python, learning another language is much easier. You have to learn a new vocabulary and grammar, but you don’t have to relearn the hardest part: how to think. Learning additional languages will improve your ability to think, but you’ll be building on top of what you have already learned instead of starting from scratch.

After you complete this course, you can continue writing programs in Python if you like. You may need to learn additional languages if there’s something in particular you want to make like websites or smartphone apps. I’ll give you some direction on this at the end of the course.

You’ll need to be familiar with a couple tools before you get started. The first one is called the command line.

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