Are you thinking of studying Computer Science at university or just want to have a go at programming? Well C# is a great starting language for you to have a go at and I will tell you why!
A second year engineering student asked me if I could teach him to code in a very basic way. He explained to me his idea and what he wanted his application to do and I made a start at turning his idea into code while I taught him what I was doing. He then went on to ask me, ‘How did you learn all of this and how can I learn more?” to which I replied, “I started with a yellow book and free tools from Microsoft”.
However, the yellow book I described is not a generic yellow book and is in fact a free publication by one of my lecturers at the University of Hull, Rob Miles. I have covered the topic of Rob’s yellow book many times before and it is one that I highly recommend for anyone who has no idea what programming is but wants to make a good go at it. You can pick up a free download copy here: robmiles.com/c-yellow-book
In that book, you will find the fundamentals to C# programming from you very first ‘Hello World’ application to your own simple Banking system. Obviously as a free publication, the book will only walk you through the basics and you will end up learning more along the way through online resources and other books but it is a great starting place for you and one that I highly recommend.
Tools of the trade.
So, now you have the book but you need the software. Well the great thing about that is, if you’re a student, you can register at dreamspark.com and get hold of a free copy of Visual Studio 2013 to get you started on your development. Microsoft offer the DreamSpark incentive to encourage students to learn and develop new, exciting products. If you aren’t a student but just want to play around with the C# programming language though, you can still pick up an Express copy of Visual Studio 2013 which is light-weight in terms of features but still allows you to do everything in Rob Miles’ yellow book. You can download that here: visualstudio.com. Take a look at this blog post about source control management too! You’ll find it very useful: Why it is important to use SCM for your university work
Depending on how fast you can pick up on Rob Miles’ helpful book, you may end up understanding and implementing his tutorials using Visual Studio in a matter of weeks, possibly days! Now that you’ve completed that though, now what do you want to do? The great thing about C# is that the .NET Framework branches out into so many avenues. You can now start looking at web development with ASP.net. You could try your hands at Windows Phone and Windows 8 development. You could create software for PCs with WPF or WinForms. Whatever it is you choose to do, .NET allows you to start small and end big.
For Windows Phone & Windows 8.
Have you decided on mobile development for Windows Phone and Windows 8? Here is a list of some great resources that I recommend you check out:
- Windows Phone 8 Programming in C# (Free eBook)
- Developing apps for Windows Phone (Online Resources)
- Learn Windows Phone Development with JamesDevs (YouTube Tutorials)
- How to: Implement features into Windows Phone & Windows 8 apps (YouTube Tutorials)
- Windows Phone From Zero To Hero (Online Resources)
- Microsoft Virtual Academy – Windows Phone Development for Beginners (Online Resources)
- Building Windows 8 apps with C# and XAML (eBook)
Is mobile development not your scene? Well here are some resources for developing for the web:
So you’re not interested in mobile app or web development? How do games sound? I thought so. Check out these resources to get you developing games: