8 Coding Challenges and Competitions That May Lead to Money or Jobs

coding-challenges

As a programmer which one of the choices would you prefer? Mailing endless resumes while waiting for that one call, or participating in a live coding challenge to test your skill sets? That’s where competitive programming through contests and challenges can open more doors. The good news is that top tier companies have become enthusiasts. So start tracking these coding challenges for money or jobs and grab that career breakthrough today. 1. HackerRank Leading Companies Hiring: Adobe, Booking.com, Dell, LinkedIn, RedHat, Uber HackerRank boasts of 5 million developers who have sweated over 21 million code challenges so far. The platform assesses…

Read the full article: 8 Coding Challenges and Competitions That May Lead to Money or Jobs

coding-challenges

As a programmer which one of the choices would you prefer? Mailing endless resumes while waiting for that one call, or participating in a live coding challenge to test your skill sets?

That’s where competitive programming through contests and challenges can open more doors. The good news is that top tier companies have become enthusiasts. So start tracking these coding challenges for money or jobs and grab that career breakthrough today.

1. HackerRank

Coding Contests from HackerRank

Leading Companies Hiring: Adobe, Booking.com, Dell, LinkedIn, RedHat, Uber

HackerRank boasts of 5 million developers who have sweated over 21 million code challenges so far. The platform assesses skills with a steady stream of contests on algorithms, machine learning, or artificial intelligence.

HackerRank has four core areas: Practice, Compete, Job, and Leaderboard.

Solve the code challenges in the Compete section and apply for jobs via HackerRank.

Just want to have fun? HackerRank also runs regular hackathons with cash prizes along with sponsored competitions from major technology companies.

Bookmark: Upcoming contests on HackerRank

2. TopCoder

Leading Companies Hiring: IBM, Google, eBay, SoftBank, Nvidia

TopCoder is one of the world’s leading crowdsourcing platforms for anything related to visual design, code development, and data science projects. The TopCoder community takes on challenges from some of the world’s leading brands. The site holds online and local coding contests across multiple cities.

Head to the competitive programming homepage and prepare for your match. Different contests can have different prizes. And there’s a good chance that clients who select winners will pick them up for jobs too.

Bookmark: TopCoder Challenges

3. HackerEarth

Coding challenges from HackerEarth

Leading Companies Hiring: ThoughtWorks, Amazon, Accenture, Walmart Labs, IBM, Intuit.

In 2018, HackerEarth hosted the first International Women’s Hackathon to grand success. This was a women-only event meant to close the gender gap in the computer sciences. The women developers designed apps and tools around four themes—women’s health and safety, economic freedom, social impact, innovation.

If the same event is held this year, then expect the registration to open soon. Last year, the top prize winning team walked away with $2500 and industry recognition. Keep an eye on the link below for this hackathon for women, and other contests through the year too.

Bookmark: HackerEarth Challenges

4. Skillenza

Skillenza activities for developers

Leading Companies Hiring: Amazon, Bosch, ThoughtWorks, Societe Generale.

Skillenza is another competitive programming and hiring platform that has come out of India. Here you can part of a specific community while pitting your skills against the best. Companies can form their own page and tap into these communities to run their coding challenges.

As a coder, you can highlight your achievements in the contests and attract the right company for a job.

Bookmark: Skillenza Challenge

5. Codewars

Choose your programming language at Codewars

Leading Companies Hiring: Apple, Andela, Accenture.

Take on Codewars to crack a few job related “katas”. A “kata” is a specific coding exercise to hone your language or framework-specific skills. The “katas” are created by the community of users. Solve these and graduate through the ranks in the community. And maybe, you will catch the eye of a headhunter.

Codewars is free but Codewars Red is a subscription platform with more features and benefits (for instance, go ad-free and get more server resources for your programs) to anyone looking to upskill.

Bookmark: Codewars is a part of Qualified. The latter is a SaaS platform which companies can use to hire the best talent.

6. Coderbyte

Prepare for a coding bootcamp with Coderbyte

Leading Companies Hiring: Deloitte, PWC, HBO, LogMeIn.

Do you have an upcoming job interview or coding bootcamp? Coderbyte gives you coding challenges and modular courses to prepare with. For instance, you can take the 12 tutorials to study programming and algorithm questions asked in previous Google interviews. Then practice the theory with coding challenges that go from easy to difficult.

The coding challenges cover 10 programming languages. In the end, check your answers against the official solutions and also the best solutions from users. This comparison helps you benchmark your skills against the best practices in the industry.

Bookmark: Coderbyte challenges

7. CodeChef

Codechef is an Indian-based competitive programming website

Leading Companies Hiring: AWS, Samsung, Alibaba Cloud.

Codechef is a not-for-profit competitive coding platform from India. But it has fostered a global community of developers who use the practice problems and contests on the site. Codechef runs three contests in a month called Long Challenge, Cook-off, and Lunchtime. Long Challenges run for ten days while the other two are briefer. Use the CodeChef IDE and choose from 35+ programming languages to take part.

Cash prizes for these coding contests go up to $700 for the global community and may include other freebies too. Snackdown 2019 is the global multi-round programming contest you could start preparing for right now.

Bookmark: Upcoming contests

8. CodinGame

Gamify your coding skills with Codingame

Leading Companies Hiring: Warner Bros, EA, Nintendo, Adobe, Bank of America

This could be the most “fun” coding (and hiring) site on this list. Instead of solving coding problems, you get to write code for a game and test it out with other coders. Think of it as a game-based hackathon. Start on an online IDE where you get a mission statement. All solo and multiplayer coding games are turn-based. At every turn, your program gets new inputs and you must code to output the correct action.

Try it out without an account. More than 25+ programming languages are supported. Crack the puzzles or the sponsored puzzles via the link below to land your dream job with the companies that are looking for the high achievers.

Bookmark: Sponsored coding puzzles

A Few More Coding Challenges for Money or Jobs

The eight on this list will keep you busy. But here are a few more to keep you on the cutting edge.

Be a Warrior and Start to Code

Coding contests are like open markets. Don’t think of them only as gladiatorial arenas but also as real-life schools where you can learn from the instant feedback on your mistakes. Companies have adopted these contests as hiring platforms to get the best and save costs. No wonder, big tech names have their own match ups like the annual Code Jam, Microsoft’s Imagine Cup, and the Facebook Hacker Cup.

At the end of the day, these challenges give you another way to practice your coding skills. As the last coder standing, you could walk away with a cash bounty, a career, or just more brain cells.

Read the full article: 8 Coding Challenges and Competitions That May Lead to Money or Jobs

How to Learn C Programming With This Beginner Project

learn-c

Learning to program is a cumulative experience. Alongside learning the syntax of your chosen language, you must also learn the general principles that all programming languages use. Understanding and learning C programming can be daunting, but there are a few basic ideas worth familiarizing yourself with when starting. A simple project is a great way to learn the fundamentals of C. So where should you start? By saying hello! 1. Hello, World! The first part of almost every coding course is the hello world program. Going over it in detail highlights some of the ways C differs from other languages….

Read the full article: How to Learn C Programming With This Beginner Project

learn-c

Learning to program is a cumulative experience. Alongside learning the syntax of your chosen language, you must also learn the general principles that all programming languages use.

Understanding and learning C programming can be daunting, but there are a few basic ideas worth familiarizing yourself with when starting. A simple project is a great way to learn the fundamentals of C.

So where should you start? By saying hello!

1. Hello, World!

The first part of almost every coding course is the hello world program. Going over it in detail highlights some of the ways C differs from other languages. To begin with, open up a text editor or IDE of your choice, and enter this code:

#include <stdio.h>
/* this is a Hello World script in C */
int main(void)
{
  printf("Hello, World! \n");
  return 0;
}

This short piece of code prints to the console before ending the program. Save it somewhere easy to remember as hello.c. Now you need to compile and build your file.

Making It Run

Usually, you won’t need to install any additional software on your computer to run C scripts. Open up a terminal window (or command prompt if you are running Windows) and navigate to the directory you saved your script in.

The way you compile and run your file varies from system to system:

  • Windows Users: Make your file executable by typing cl hello.c and pressing enter. This will create hello.exe in the same folder, which you can run by typing hello.
  • Linux and macOS users: Type gcc -o hello hello.c and press enter to make it executable, and run it by typing ./hello.

Whichever method you use, running your script should show you this:

Output showing the results of a Hello World! sketch in C

If it didn’t work on Windows, make sure you run the command prompt in administrator mode. For macOS, you may need to install Xcode from the App store and follow these steps from StackOverflow.

Now, let’s look at the program line by line to see how it works, and improve it!

Under the Hood: Understanding the C Language

Preprocessors

The script you just created starts with the inclusion of a library.

#include <stdio.h>

The first line in the script is called a preprocessor. This is carried out before the rest of the script is compiled. In this case, it tells the script to use the stdio.h library. There are a huge number of preprocessors available for different tasks.

Stdio.h takes care of getting input from the program’s user, and outputting information back to them.

/* this is a Hello World script in C */

This next line is a comment. The slash and star tell the compiler to ignore everything between it and the closing star and slash. While this may seem pointless, being able to leave yourself and others clear notes about what your code does is an essential habit to get into.

The Main Function

int main(void)

Every C program must have a main function. Main is a function which returns an integer, denoted by int. The brackets after main are for its arguments, though in this case, it takes none, which is why you use the void keyword.

You write the code to be carried out between two curly braces.

{
  printf("Hello, World! \n");
  return 0;
}

Inside the function, you call the printf() function. Just like main(), printf is a function. The difference is, printf is a function in the stdio library you included at the start.

Printf prints anything in the brackets, between the quotation marks, to the console. The \n is an escape sequence called newline, telling the compiler to skip to the next line in the console before continuing.

Note that these lines end in semicolons, which the compiler uses to split one task from the next. Pay close attention to these semicolons—missing them out is the number one cause of things not going right!

Finally, the function returns with the number 0, ending the program. The main() function must always return an integer, and return = 0; signals to the computer that the process was successful.

Understanding each step of this script is a great start in learning both C syntax, and how the language works.

2. Creating Your Own C Functions

You can create your own custom functions in C. Instead of printing Hello World in the main function, create a new function to do it for you.

void print_for_me()
{
  printf("Hello, World! \n");
}

Let’s break this down.

void is a keyword meaning the following function will not return anything.

print_for_me() is the name of the function, and the empty brackets show it does not require arguments to work. An argument is any piece of information to pass on to a function to make it work—later you will be adding an argument of your own to change the output! Note: This is not the same as the main() function above which used void. That function cannot take arguments, while this one can (but in this case, doesn’t have to).

The code block should be familiar to you—it’s just the print statement from the original main function.

Now, you can call this function from your main function.

int main(void)
{
  print_for_me();
  print_for_me();
  return 0;
}

You can see here a benefit of using your own function. Rather than typing printf(“Hello, World! \n”) each time, you can call the function twice.

Right now this might not seem so important, but if your print_for_me function contained a lot of lines of code, being able to call it so easily is a great time saver!

Hello world outputting twice through multiple function calls

This is a fundamental idea of programming you will come across throughout your education. Write your own function once, rather than write the same big chunks of code over and over.

3. Using Function Prototypes in C

Prototypes are one of the major ways beginner C differs from other languages. In short, a prototype is a like a preview of a function defined later. If you write the print_for_me() function after the main function, you may get a warning when compiling:

Composite Image showing code with no prototype and the warning the c compiler gives

The warning message is telling you that the compiler ran into the print_for_me function before it was declared, so it couldn’t be sure that it would work correctly when the program runs.

The code would still work, but the warning can be avoided altogether by using a prototype.

#include <stdio.h>

void print_for_me();

int main(void)
{
  print_for_me();
  print_for_me();
  return 0;
}

void print_for_me()
{
  printf("Hello, World! \n");
}

By looking at the full program you can see the prototype for print_for_me() exists at the start of the program, but contains nothing. The prototype function shows the compiler how the function should look, and whether it requires arguments or not.

This means that when you call it in the main function, the compiler knows if it is being called correctly and can throw a warning or error if it is needed. This may be something that seems strange now, but knowing about them now will help in future.

Hello world outputting twice through multiple function calls

This program still works without a prototype, but they are good practice to use. The output still looks the same for now, lets change it to make it more personal!

4. Passing Arguments to C Functions

Changing the Script

For this final step, you will ask for the user’s name, and record their input. Then you’ll use it in the function you created before. In C, words are not known as strings like in other programming languages.

Instead, they are an array of single characters. The symbol for an array is [] and the keyword is char. Begin by updating your prototype function at the start of your script:

#include <stdio.h>

void print_for_me(char name[]);

Now, the compiler will know that the function later in the script takes an array of characters called name. So far, this character doesn’t exist. Update your main function to create it, and use it to store the user input:

int main(void)
{
  char name[20];
  printf("Enter name: ");
  scanf("%s", name);

  print_for_me(name);
  print_for_me("Everyone!");
  return 0;
}

The first line in main creates a character array with 20 possible spaces called name. Next, the user is prompted to enter their name using printf. The next line uses a new function called scanf which takes the next word the user types.

The “%s” tells the function that it should store the data as a string, and call it name.

Modifying the Function

Now when you call print_for_me, you can include name in the brackets. On the next line, you will see you can also pass other characters as long as they are between quotation marks. Both times, what is in the brackets gets passed to the print_for_me function.

Modify that now to use the new information you are giving it:

void print_for_me(char name[])
{
  printf("Hello, ");
  puts(name);
}

Here you can see that the brackets have been updated just like the prototype at the start of the script. Inside, you still print hello using printf. A new function here is puts. This is a more advanced version of printf.

Anything put in the brackets will be printed to the console, and a newline (the \n you used earlier) gets added automatically.

Save and compile your code the same way you did earlier—note that you can name the program something different if you do not want to overwrite your earlier program. I named mine hello2:

The finished program in C

As you should see, the program takes the input and uses it in the function, before sending the preset greeting of “Everyone!” again giving two separate outputs to the same function.

The ABCs of C Programming

This program is simple, but some of the concepts in it are not. More advanced C code must be written very well to prevent crashes. This is why many think it is an excellent language to learn first as it instills good habits into new programmers.

Others think learning C++ is a better idea, as it builds on C while retaining its lower system control. One thing is sure: languages like Python are much more beginner friendly. For an old language, C is still used everywhere, but Python may be the language of the future!

Read the full article: How to Learn C Programming With This Beginner Project

How to Script a Voice-Sensitive Robot Animation in p5.js

voice-sensitive-robot

JavaScript is the language of the internet. Working in front-end development without it is impossible. For beginners, kids especially, it can be challenging to get used to the language’s syntax. To complete novices, even installing and running a local server in the browser can be a stumbling block. What if there was a way to make something cool with JavaScript, without installing anything? Enter p5.js, a coding library designed with creativity in mind. Here’s how to make a sound reactive animated robot head using some simple coding principles. What Is p5.js? The p5.js library was created by Los Angeles Based…

Read the full article: How to Script a Voice-Sensitive Robot Animation in p5.js

voice-sensitive-robot

JavaScript is the language of the internet. Working in front-end development without it is impossible. For beginners, kids especially, it can be challenging to get used to the language’s syntax.

To complete novices, even installing and running a local server in the browser can be a stumbling block. What if there was a way to make something cool with JavaScript, without installing anything? Enter p5.js, a coding library designed with creativity in mind.

Here’s how to make a sound reactive animated robot head using some simple coding principles.

The finished color changing sound reactive robot head in p5.js

What Is p5.js?

The p5.js library was created by Los Angeles Based artist Lauren MacCarthy. It is designed to provide a similar platform to Processing, for creative expression and art. Clear tools go along with well explained tutorials and reference documents to make it perfect for beginners.

Whether you are making animations, music, simple games, or even connecting to external hardware, p5.js can help.

The p5.js Editor

To begin, open your browser window and navigate to the p5.js web editor. Before starting, there are two optional steps.

1. You must be signed in to p5.js to save your sketches, so making an account is advisable. Signing up is free, and you can use your Google or GitHub account to sign in if you wish.

2. Click on the settings cog wheel in the top right corner. Here you can alter the theme and text size for all of you dark theme lovers out there.

Annotated view of a blank project in p5.js

The p5.js editor combines a code editor, console, and output window in the same space. So far there are two functions already set up for you.

Basics of p5.js

Every p5.js sketch begins with two elements. The setup() function, and the draw() function. To those of you who have programmed an Arduino before, this will be familiar!

function setup() {
  createCanvas(500, 500);
}

The setup() function runs at the start of your program. In this case, setup creates a 400-pixel square canvas. Change this to (500, 500) for a slightly bigger area to work.

Setup runs only once and is used to create the parts needed for your program, along with initial values for your program.

function draw() {
  background(220);
}

The draw() method is called every frame. This works much like the loop function on Arduino, or the update function in Unity 3D. Anything that needs to change in your sketch happens here. For now, the background gets redrawn every frame. At the top you’ll see two icons, play and stop. Click play.

The result of running a default p5.js sketch

This is the program so far—a 500×500 canvas with a grey background,

Creating a Shape

Working with shapes in p5.js is a little different to the preset shape objects used the mo.js web animation tutorial. To create a simple ellipse, add this to the code in the draw() method, just below where you set the background color.

function draw() {
  background(220);
  ellipse(250,250,50)
}

The ellipse() method takes several arguments. The first two are its X and Y position on the canvas. Since the canvas is 500 pixels wide, setting these two values to 250 puts the ellipse in the center. The third argument is the width of the circle—in this case, 50 pixels.

A white ellipse rendered on a p5.js canvas

So you have a background and a circle, but it doesn’t look all that good. Time to fix that.

Adding Some Style

Begin by changing the background color. The number in the brackets represents a grayscale value. So, 0 is black, and 255 is white, with different shades of grey in between. To make the background black, change this value to 0.

function draw() {
  background(0);
  ellipse(250,250,50);
}

Now when you click play the background will be black. To give the circle some color, we will want to affect its RGB (red green and blue) values individually. Create some variables at the top of your script (right at the start, before the setup function) to store these values.

var r, g, b;

In the setup function, set the value of r to 255, and give the others a value of 0. Its combined RGB color will be bright red!

r=255;
g=0;
b=0;

To apply the color to the circle, add a fill() call to the draw method, just before drawing the circle.

  fill(r,g,b);
  ellipse(250,250,50);

Now click play, and you should see a red circle on a black background.

A red circle on a black background canvas in p5.js

Making the circle is a good start, but adding interactivity is where it gets really interesting!

Click to Change Color

Adding code to run on a mouse click is quite easy in p5.js. Create a new function below the draw() method.

function mousePressed() {
  r = random(256);
  g = random(256);
  b = random(256);
}

The mousePressed() listens for any mouse presses and carries out the code inside the brackets. The random() function returns a random value between 0 and a given number. In this case, you are setting the r, g, and b values to between 0 and 255 on each mouse press.

Rerun the code, and click the mouse a few times. The circle should change color when you do.

A circle which changes when the screen is clicked in p5.js

Now your animation is reactive to mouse clicks, but what about using the user’s voice?

Setting Up Voice Control

Using the system mic is made easy with the p5.js sound library. At the top of your script, create a new variable called mic.

var r, g, b;
var mic;

Add these lines to your setup() function to assign mic to the audio input.

mic = new p5.AudioIn()
mic.start();

When you click play now, you will get a dialog box asking permission to access the onboard mic.

A permission popup to allow the browser to access the mic

Click Allow. Depending on which browser you use, it may remember your choice, or you may have to click a box confirming. Now the mic is set up, and it’s time to put it to use.

Scaling by Volume

To use the volume of the microphone as a value in your program, you’ll need to store it as a variable. Change your draw() method to look like this:

function draw() {
  var micLevel = mic.getLevel();
  background(0);
  fill(r,g,b);
  ellipse(250,250,50 + micLevel * 2000);  
}

At the start of the function, a new variable called micLevel is created, and assigned to the current microphone amplitude.

The ellipse had a fixed width of 50 pixels. Now 50 pixels is the minimum width, added to the micLevel value which updates every frame. The number the micLevel multiplies with will vary depending on the sensitivity of your microphone.

gif showing voice controlled scaling in p5.js

Experiment with higher values—a value of 5000 will create a more dramatic change in scale!

Note: if this does not work for you, your microphone may not be set up correctly. The browser uses the system default microphone, and you may need to modify your sound settings and refresh.

Constructing the Robot

Now you have all the tools needed to create the robot. First, move the ellipse you have created, and add another one to make the eyes.

  ellipse(150,150,50 + micLevel * 2000);  
  ellipse(350,150,100 +micLevel * 2000);

The “teeth” are a series of rectangles extending from the bottom of the screen. Note that the rect() method requires an extra parameter for its fixed width.

    rect(0, 500,100, -100 -micLevel * 5000);
    rect(400, 500,100, -100 -micLevel * 5000);
    rect(100, 500,100, -100 -micLevel * 3000);
    rect(300, 500,100, -100 -micLevel * 3000);
    rect(200, 500,100, -100 -micLevel * 1000);

This time, you only want the height of the teeth to change, and to give the “smiling” effect they must have different sensitivities. The minimum height is -100 (as it comes up from the bottom of the canvas), so the micLevel must also be a negative number.

Click play, and you should see an almost finished robot face!

the almost constructed robot face in p5.js

Once again, you may need to tweak your multiplier numbers for the best results.

Adding Finishing Touches

Add pupils to the eyes with even more ellipse() calls. Use another fill() to make them white. Add this to your draw() method, below the “teeth” you just created.

fill(255);
ellipse(150,150,20 + micLevel * 1000);
ellipse(345,150,30 + micLevel * 1000);

Finally, to give the whole piece a little definition, change the stroke weight in your setup() function

strokeWeight(5);

That’s it!

The finished color changing sound reactive robot head in p5.js

If anything isn’t working, check your code thoroughly, and you can see the full code from this tutorial in the p5 editor if needed.

Moving Forward With p5.js

This beginner tutorial covers some basic concepts with p5.js, showing just how easy it is to be creative. As always, this project barely scrapes the surface of all that p5.js is capable of.

Spending time creating art with p5.js is time well spent, as you are familiarizing yourself with thinking like a programmer and JavaScript syntax. These are all important skills to take forward if you decide to dive in wholeheartedly and really learn JavaScript!

Read the full article: How to Script a Voice-Sensitive Robot Animation in p5.js

The 5 Best Websites to Learn Python Programming

python-programming

Over the past decade, the Python programming language has exploded in popularity for all types of coding. From web developers to video game designers, from data scientists to in-house tool creators, many have fallen in love with Python. Why? Because Python is easy to learn, easy to use, and very powerful. Want to learn Python programming? Here are some of the best resources and ways to learn Python online, many of which are entirely free. For optimal results, we recommend that you utilize ALL of these websites, as they each have their own pros and cons. 1. How to Think…

Read the full article: The 5 Best Websites to Learn Python Programming

python-programming

Over the past decade, the Python programming language has exploded in popularity for all types of coding. From web developers to video game designers, from data scientists to in-house tool creators, many have fallen in love with Python. Why? Because Python is easy to learn, easy to use, and very powerful.

Want to learn Python programming? Here are some of the best resources and ways to learn Python online, many of which are entirely free. For optimal results, we recommend that you utilize ALL of these websites, as they each have their own pros and cons.

1. How to Think Like a Computer Scientist

One of the best Python tutorials on the web, the How to Think Like a Computer Scientist interactive web tutorial is great because it not only teaches you how to use the Python programming language, but also how to think like a programmer. If this is the first time you’ve ever touched code, then this site will be an invaluable resource for you.

Keep in mind, however, that learning how to think like a computer scientist will require a complete shift in your mental paradigm. Grasping this shift may be easy for some and difficult for others, but as long as you persevere, it will eventually click. And once you’ve learned how to think like a computer scientist, you’ll be able to learn programming languages other than Python with ease!

2. The Official Python Tutorial

What better place to learn Python than on the official Python website? The creators of the language itself have devised a large and helpful guide that walks you through the language basics.

The best part of this web tutorial is that it moves slowly, drilling specific concepts into your head from multiple angles to make sure you truly understand them before moving on. The website’s formatting is simple and pleasing to the eye, which just makes the whole experience that much easier.

If you have some background in programming, the official Python tutorial may be too slow and boring for you—but if you’re a brand newbie, you’ll likely find it to be an indispensable resource on your journey.

3. A Byte of Python

The A Byte of Python web tutorial series is awesome for those who want to learn Python and have a bit of previous experience with programming. The very first part of the tutorial walks you through the steps necessary to set up a Python interpreter on your computer, which can be a troublesome process for first timers.

There is one drawback to this website: it does try to dive in a bit too quickly. As someone with Python experience under my belt, I can see how newbies might be intimidated by how quickly the author moves through the language.

But if you can keep up, then A Byte of Python is a fantastic resource. If you can’t? Try some of the other Python tutorial websites in this list first, and once you have a better grasp of the language, come back and try this one again.

4. LearnPython

Unlike the previously listed Python tutorial sites, LearnPython is great because the website itself has a built-in Python interpreter. This means you can play around with Python coding right on the website, eliminating the need for you to muck around and install a Python interpreter on your system first.

Of course, you’ll need to install an interpreter eventually if you plan on getting serious with the language, but LearnPython actually lets you try Python before investing too much time setting up a language that you might end up not using.

LearnPython’s tutorial incorporates the interpreter, which allows you to play around with code in real-time, making changes and experimenting as you learn. The programming exercises at the end of each lesson are helpful, too.

5. Learn X in Y Minutes: Python 3

Let’s say you have plenty of programming experience and you already know how to think like a programmer, but Python is new to you and you just want to get to grips with the actual syntax of the language. In that case, Learn X in Y Minutes is the best website for you.

True to its name, this site lays out all of the syntactic nuances of Python in code format so that you can learn all of the important bits of Python’s syntax in under 15 minutes. It’s succinct enough to suffice as a reference—bookmark the page and come back to it whenever you forget a certain aspect of Python.

In fact, Learn X in Y Minutes is my favorite resource for learning any programming language’s syntax.

Bonus Resource: CodeWars

CodeWars isn’t so much a tutorial as it is a gamified way to test your programming knowledge. It consists of hundreds of different coding puzzles (called “katas”), which force you to take what you’ve learned from the aforementioned Python websites and apply them to real-life problems.

The katas on CodeWars are categorized by difficulty, and they do have an instructive quality to them, so you’ll definitely learn as you go through each puzzle. As you complete katas, you’ll “level up” and gain access to harder katas. But the best part? You can compare your solutions with solutions submitted by others, which will significantly accelerate your learning.

Though it has a relatively shallow learning curve, Python is a powerful language that can be utilized in multiple applications. Its popularity has grown consistently over the years, and there’s no indication that the language will disappear any time soon.

Still have questions? Check out our answers to the most frequently asked questions about Python programming.

Read the full article: The 5 Best Websites to Learn Python Programming

3 Easy Coding Projects for Kids Using Microsoft Small Basic

coding-projects-kids

Learning to code can be daunting, especially for children. The combination of having to learn complicated syntax alongside programming concepts is enough to put many people off. Nevertheless, learning to code is one of the most important things your kids can learn, and tools are available to make it easier for them. One such tool is Microsoft Small Basic, which is easy to get started with. Here are three projects kids can use to take their first strides into coding. What Is Microsoft Small Basic? Microsoft Small Basic (MSB) is a language designed to make it easier to learn the…

Read the full article: 3 Easy Coding Projects for Kids Using Microsoft Small Basic

coding-projects-kids

Learning to code can be daunting, especially for children. The combination of having to learn complicated syntax alongside programming concepts is enough to put many people off. Nevertheless, learning to code is one of the most important things your kids can learn, and tools are available to make it easier for them.

One such tool is Microsoft Small Basic, which is easy to get started with. Here are three projects kids can use to take their first strides into coding.

What Is Microsoft Small Basic?

Microsoft Small Basic (MSB) is a language designed to make it easier to learn the basics of coding. Aimed at children (but perfect for adults too), it provides a stripped-back language and a user-friendly interface. Now in its 10th year, MSB is a forgiving integrated development environment that allows some wiggle room with syntax.

This helps avoid some of the frustrations beginner coders can typically experience.

This project is a walkthrough of coding a personalized clock. The project covers simple programming concepts, and while aimed at children, beginner adults can also benefit from following along. While the IDE can be downloaded to computers running Microsoft Windows, today’s tutorial uses the web based IDE. It can be completed on any computer with a browser and an internet connection.

Getting Started With Microsoft Small Basic

To begin, open a web browser and navigate to smallbasic.com. You should see a website with these two buttons in the middle:

Microsoft Small Basic Splash Page

Click on the button Start button, and you will be taken to a screen that looks like this:

New Instance of the Microsoft Smal Basic IDE

This is an online version of the Microsoft Small Basic IDE. An online IDE is a place where you can write code and test it, all in one place. As you can see, there is already some code in the text window. Press the blue, triangular, Run button to see what the code does.

Output of basic Hello World Script

Press the little x in the top right corner to close the program. Look at the code. You will see that whatever is inside the brackets gets printed when you run the program. Try changing the word World to your name and click run again. If it didn’t work, then make sure that you still have the quotation marks in the brackets (“…text…”) like this:

Code for a personal greeting!

To understand why this happens, let’s break down the line into pieces. It starts with TextWindow. This tells the computer that whatever comes next should happen to the text window. TextWindow.WriteLine means that we want the TextWindow to write a line. TextWindow.WriteLine(“Hello, Ian!”) means we are telling the TextWindow to write a line, and what is in the brackets is what gets written!

1. Ask for a Name

Now, you are going to change your program to ask for the user’s name when it begins. Start with the obvious question:

Code to ask the users name

To get the user’s input, we need two things. A way to read what they type in, and a place to keep it. This line gives you both:

Storing the username in a variable

This line makes a variable called name. A variable is like a box to store data in—in this case, the user’s name.

Next, there is an equals sign (=). This means that whatever comes next will be stored inside name.

Then you tell the TextWindow to Read what the user types in. Don’t forget the brackets—even though they are empty, the computer needs them to know what to do!

Now, when the program runs, the user is asked their name. When they type it and press enter it is stored. All that is left is to tell the computer to print it back to them.

Personalized greeting output

You’ll notice that not everything in the WriteLine brackets has quotation marks. This is because you are combining saying “Hello, “ with whatever is stored in the name variable, using a plus sign. This is called string concatenation. Don’t worry if you don’t understand what that means yet—it’s a good phrase to know later on when you’re more comfortable with programming, or have taken a programming course. Now when you run your program, the user gets a personal response.

2. Telling the Time

So far your program greets each user by name. Now you can make it tell them the time using Clock.Time. Add it to the same line you just made:

Telling the user the current time

Note where there are quotation marks and where there aren’t. Also, make sure you include all of the plus signs in the right place. Getting this right is important! Run your code again—along with your greeting, you’ll see the time.

Output for personalized clock

Great! If you are getting any errors, or you are missing any spaces in the text window, look carefully over your code for any mistakes.

3. Making It Personal

Now that you have your clock let’s make it so that it only works for you. We need a way of checking that the name that’s entered is your name. We do this with an if statement. Change your code to look like this:

Simple If and Else statement

By adding the word If to the code, the computer knows that it has to check something. This time, you want to check if the name variable matches your name, using the equals sign.

So far, if the name variable that the user typed in equals your name, it will tell you the time. What happens if someone else uses the program?

That is what the Else statement is for. If any other name is typed in, the program skips over the if statement, and does whatever it says after Else.

Finally, type EndIf so that the computer knows that the if statement is over. Now when you run the program you will get a different response back depending on if you enter your name or not:

The output for both the correct name and any other input

You just coded a clock that works for you, and greets anyone else who uses it!

Learning More With Microsoft Small Basic

This project has some essential basic concepts for programming. Using a simplified IDE allows beginners to learn programming concepts and get used to coding syntax. This can help down the line with more complicated languages like Python.

Microsoft Small Basic is not the only way to learn, and if actual code is a little too much at this stage, you have other options.

Scratch is a purely visual language that is perfect for kids. There are also several educational elements to Minecraft designed to teach core concepts. Minecraft’s Hour of Code provides a familiar learning environment for intrepid young builders!

Image Credit: olly18/Depositphotos

Read the full article: 3 Easy Coding Projects for Kids Using Microsoft Small Basic

How to Create Your Own Command Line Programs in Python With Click

pythod-programming-click

Click is a Python package for writing command line interfaces. It produces beautiful documentation for you and lets you build command line interfaces in as little as one line of code. In short: it’s awesome and can help take your programs to the next level. Here’s how you can use it to liven up your Python projects. Writing Command Line Programs Without Click It’s possible to write command line programs without using Click, but doing so requires more effort and lots more code. You need to parse command line arguments, perform validation, develop logic to handle different arguments, and build…

Read the full article: How to Create Your Own Command Line Programs in Python With Click

Click is a Python package for writing command line interfaces. It produces beautiful documentation for you and lets you build command line interfaces in as little as one line of code. In short: it’s awesome and can help take your programs to the next level.

Here’s how you can use it to liven up your Python projects.

Writing Command Line Programs Without Click

It’s possible to write command line programs without using Click, but doing so requires more effort and lots more code. You need to parse command line arguments, perform validation, develop logic to handle different arguments, and build a custom help menu. Want to add a new option? You’ll be modifying your help function then.

There’s nothing wrong with writing your own code, and doing so is a great way to learn Python, but Click allows you to follow the “Don’t Repeat Yourself” (DRY) principles. Without Click, you’ll write code which is fragile and requires lots of maintenance whenever any changes happen.

Here’s a simple command line interface coded without Click:

import sys
import random

def do_work():
	""" Function to handle command line usage"""
	args = sys.argv
	args = args[1:] # First element of args is the file name

	if len(args) == 0:
		print('You have not passed any commands in!')
	else:
		for a in args:
			if a == '--help':
				print('Basic command line program')
				print('Options:')
				print('    --help -> show this basic help menu.')
				print('    --monty -> show a Monty Python quote.')
				print('    --veg -> show a random vegetable')
			elif a == '--monty':
				print('What's this, then? "Romanes eunt domus"? People called Romanes, they go, the house?')
			elif a == '--veg':
				print(random.choice(['Carrot', 'Potato', 'Turnip']))
			else:
				print('Unrecognised argument.')

if __name__ == '__main__':
	do_work()

Python command line interface example

These 27 lines of Python work well but are very fragile. Any change you make to your program will need lots of other supporting code to change. If you change an argument name you’ll need to update the help information. This code can easily grow out of control.

Here’s the same logic with Click:

import click
import random

@click.command()
@click.option('--monty', default=False, help='Show a Monty Python quote.')
@click.option('--veg', default=False, help='Show a random vegetable.')
def do_work(monty, veg):
	""" Basic Click example will follow your commands"""
	if monty:
		print('What's this, then? "Romanes eunt domus"? People called Romanes, they go, the house?')

	if veg:
		print(random.choice(['Carrot', 'Potato', 'Turnip']))

if __name__ == '__main__':
	do_work()

This Click example implements the same logic in 16 lines of code. The arguments are parsed for you, and the help screen is generated:

Python Click automatically generated help screen

This basic comparison shows how much time and effort you can save by using programs such as Click. While the command line interface may appear the same to the end user, the underlying code is simpler, and you’ll save lots of time coding. Any changes or updates you write in the future will also see significant development time increases.

Getting Started With Click for Python

Before using Click, you may wish to configure a virtual environment. This will stop your Python packages conflicting with your system Python or other projects you may be working on. You could also try Python in your browser if you want to play around with Python and Click.

Finally, make sure you’re running Python version 3. It’s possible to use Click with Python version 2, but these examples are in Python 3. Learn more about the differences between Python 2 and Python 3.

Once ready, install Click from the command line using PIP (how to install PIP for Python):

pip install click

Writing Your First Click Program

In a text editor, start by importing Click:

import click

Once imported, create a method and a main entry point. Our Python OOP guide covers these in greater detail, but they provide a place to store your code, and a way for Python to start running it:

import click
import random

def veg():
    """ Basic method will return a random vegetable"""
        print(random.choice(['Carrot', 'Potato', 'Turnip', 'Parsnip']))

if __name__ == '__main__':
    veg()

This very simple script will output a random vegetable. Your code may look different, but this simple example is perfect to combine with Click.

Save this as click_example.py, and then run it in the command line (after navigating to its location):

python click_example.py

You should see a random vegetable name. Let’s improve things by adding Click. Change your code to include the Click decorators and a for loop:

@click.command()
@click.option('--total', default=3, help='Number of vegetables to output.')
def veg(total):
    """ Basic method will return a random vegetable"""
    for number in range(total):
    print(random.choice(['Carrot', 'Potato', 'Turnip', 'Parsnip']))

if __name__ == '__main__':
    veg()

Upon running, you’ll see a random vegetable displayed three times.

Let’s break down these changes. The @click.command() decorator configures Click to work with the function immediately following the decorator. In this case, this is the veg() function. You’ll need this for every method you’d like to use with Click.

The @click.option decorator configures click to accept parameters from the command line, which it will pass to your method. There are three arguments used here:

  1. –total: This is the command line name for the total argument.
  2. default: If you don’t specify the total argument when using your script, Click will use the value from default.
  3. help: A short sentence explaining how to use your program.

Let’s see Click in action. From the command line, run your script, but pass in the total argument like this:

python click_example.py --total 10

By setting –total 10 from the command line, your script will print ten random vegetables.

If you pass in the –help flag, you’ll see a nice help page, along with the options you can use:

python click_example.py --help

Python Click help

Adding More Commands

It’s possible to use many Click decorators on the same function. Add another click option to the veg function:

@click.option('--gravy', default=False, help='Append "with gravy" to the vegetables.')

Don’t forget to pass this into the method:

def veg(total, gravy):

Now when you run your file, you can pass in the gravy flag:

python click_example.py --gravy y

The help screen has also changed:

Python Click help screen

Here’s the whole code (with some minor refactoring for neatness):

import click
import random

@click.command()
@click.option('--gravy', default=False, help='Append "with gravy" to the vegetables.')
@click.option('--total', default=3, help='Number of vegetables to output.')
def veg(total, gravy):
    """ Basic method will return a random vegetable"""
    for number in range(total):
        choice = random.choice(['Carrot', 'Potato', 'Turnip', 'Parsnip'])

        if gravy:
            print(f'{choice} with gravy')
        else:
            print(choice)

if __name__ == '__main__':
    veg()

Even More Click Options

Once you know the basics, you can begin to look at more complex Click options. In this example, you’ll learn how to pass in several values to a single argument, which Click will convert to a tuple. You can learn more about tuples in our guide to the Python dictionary.

Create a new file called click_example_2.py. Here’s the starter code you need:

import click
import random

@click.command()
def add():
    """ Basic method will add two numbers together."""
    pass

if __name__ == '__main__':
    add()

There’s nothing new here. The previous section explains this code in detail. Add a @click.option called numbers:

@click.option('--numbers', nargs=2, type=int, help='Add two numbers together.')

The only new code here are the nargs=2, and the type=int options. This tells Click to accept two values for the numbers option, and that they must both be of type integers. You can change this to any number or (valid) datatype you like.

Finally, change the add method to accept the numbers argument, and do some processing with them:

def add(numbers):
     """ Basic method will add two numbers together."""
     result = numbers[0] + numbers[1]
     print(f'{numbers[0]} + {numbers[1]} = {result}')

Each value you pass in is accessible through the numbers object. Here’s how to use it in the command line:

python click_example_2.py --numbers 1 2

Python Click nargs result

Click Is the Solution for Python Utilities

As you’ve seen, Click is easy to use but very powerful. While these examples only cover the very basics of Click, there are lots more features you can learn about now that you have a solid grasp of the basics.

If you’re looking for some Python projects to practice your new found skills with, why not learn how to control an Arduino with Python, or how about reading and writing to Google Sheets with Python? Either of these projects would be perfect for converting to Click!

Read the full article: How to Create Your Own Command Line Programs in Python With Click

5 Toys That’ll Teach Your Kids How to Code

teach-kids-code

You’ve likely heard about the importance of coding, especially in helping prepare your children for their future careers. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) skills are increasingly vital in all walks of life. But it can be intimidating. Where exactly do you start? What’s the right age for your kids to start learning how to code? Do they need prior expertise? Fortunately, you can find great toys for all youngsters, and make learning fun. 1. Barbie Robotics Engineers Doll Barbie Career of The Year Robotics Engineer Doll, Blonde Barbie Career of The Year Robotics Engineer Doll, Blonde Buy Now At Amazon…

Read the full article: 5 Toys That’ll Teach Your Kids How to Code

teach-kids-code

You’ve likely heard about the importance of coding, especially in helping prepare your children for their future careers. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) skills are increasingly vital in all walks of life.

But it can be intimidating. Where exactly do you start? What’s the right age for your kids to start learning how to code? Do they need prior expertise?

Fortunately, you can find great toys for all youngsters, and make learning fun.

1. Barbie Robotics Engineers Doll

Barbie Career of The Year Robotics Engineer Doll, Blonde Barbie Career of The Year Robotics Engineer Doll, Blonde Buy Now At Amazon $13.44

Suggested age range: 5- 12 years.

The key to getting kids into coding is inspiring them to see its potential and normalizing that attitude. That’s where the Barbie Robotics Engineers Doll comes in.

This brand has been a staple of the toy industry for over half a decade and has survived by adapting. Its latest development is a partnership with Tynker, a gaming platform that replaces source code with colorful building blocks.

Dolls come with six free lessons that can be unlocked on the Tynker site. These games are designed around an impressive assortment of careers: Robotics Engineer, Astronaut, Beekeeper, Farmer, Musician, and Pastry Chef.

They’re not especially intensive either. A course takes between 45 minutes and an hour, so your kids shouldn’t get bored.

And you can leave them to it because the program guides users through potentially complex notions like sequencing, problem solving, and debugging without the need for assistance. Nonetheless, Tynker offers instructions for parents and tutors if they do want to help out.

2. Lego Boost Robotics Toolbox

LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox 17101 Building and Coding Kit (847 Pieces) LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox 17101 Building and Coding Kit (847 Pieces) Buy Now At Amazon $159.95

Suggested age range: 7- 12 years.

Lego’s popularity knows no bounds, so this is the perfect way to get your kids interested in coding. Yes, it seems a bit pricey, yet no more so than a full-sized Millennium Falcon, the Hulkbuster armor from Avengers: Age of Ultron, or any of the Technic sets.

Plus the Lego Boost Robotics Toolbox is educational, so you can justify the $160 price tag without sweating too much.

You can build five models: the robot plastered over the box; a cat; a guitar; the Multi-Tooled Rover; and, perhaps coolest of all, an auto-builder—that is, a miniature production line for Lego bricks. Each take a couple of hours to make (alas, using the same bricks, so you can only have one robot at a time).

It’s ideal if you want to spend some time with your children. But they can also learn independently, using the tutorials available through the free Boost app. You’ll need a tablet running iOS 10.3/ Android 5.0 or newer; smartphone screens are simply too small.

It’s so fun, youngsters won’t even realize they’re learning something so valuable. And once they’ve finished with Boost, they can progress to Lego Mindstorms. Alternatively, the Raspberry Pi is an excellent next step, giving kids a similar level of hands-on experience.

3. WowWee Elmoji

WowWee Elmoji Junior Coding Robot Toy, Red WowWee Elmoji Junior Coding Robot Toy, Red Buy Now At Amazon $28.96

Suggested age range: 4- 10 years.

Once more, you’ll need a tablet for this one; it does offer some variation, however, as you can connect it to two apps via Bluetooth. WowWee Elmoji is a small, brightly-colored robot with a simple screen for a head; by default, it displays the red Sesame Street character.

Elmo is a solid entry-level character, intended for preschoolers. But the two apps allow you to change its face into an emoji if you’re worried your kids are too old for the Muppet. Indeed, this is based on the Coji device, so you can learn to code using emojis.

Elmoji won’t occupy your children for countless hours, but it will prove a good distraction for a while. Considering this, the $60 RRP seems steep, but many retailers offer it for a much lower price, making this a fair introduction to coding.

Make sure you buy plenty of batteries, however. The three AAA batteries required are not provided and you’ll go through them surprisingly quickly.

4. Code & Go Robot Mouse

Learning Resources Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set, 83 Pieces Learning Resources Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set, 83 Pieces Buy Now At Amazon $32.99

Suggested age range: 5- 15 years.

Kids bugging you to get a pet? Here’s a neat solution which you won’t have to feed or clean up after!

Okay, your youngsters will probably still want a dog, but the Code & Go Robot Mouse should keep them preoccupied for a while.

This is more hands-on than many other sets as you don’t need a tablet to take part.

You use 16 grids, 22 partitions, and three tunnels to create a maze for the robotic mouse, Colby, to navigate. With 30 coding cards and ten activity cards, it might seem intimidating at first—which is why this is an excellent toy for parents to get involved. If all goes according to plan, it won’t be long until your children will be able to carry on independently.

It’s a reasonably priced set, though a cheaper variant, including a mouse called Jack plus coding cards, is also available. The two together would make a great Christmas present for siblings.

5. Ozobot

Ozobot Bit Coding Robot (Blue) Ozobot Bit Coding Robot (Blue) Buy Now At Amazon $44.88

Suggested age range: 6- 15 years.

Ozobot’s main selling point is its marrying of technology and art. You’re encouraging STEM skills and creativity!

The robot moves by following marker patterns—your child draws on a piece of paper using different colored pens and the robot follows. Of course, it’s not quite that simple, but the accompanying OzoBlockly editor app is easy to understand.

The classic Ozobot Bit is suitable for ages 6 and above, while the newer Evo adds sounds and special features and so has a bigger appeal.

Our favorite bit is the custom skins to stick on your Ozobot. Don’t underestimate the appeal of superheroes on youngsters and big kids. It’s massive fun dressing your robot up as Rocket or Groot from the Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s also a great Spider-Man set (in which the wall-crawler is packaged alongside a Venom skin), but if you’ve got an Evo, bulkier Avengers models are available.

Just don’t be surprised at how tiny they are.

Where to Next for Kids?

These toys might take a little time to master, but let’s not underrate kids’ ability to pick up new skills. In fact, you might have to work hard to keep up!

So what can they advance onto? We’re great advocates of the Micro:bit—this little device is supported by the BBC, and distributed primarily to educational institutions. But you can get your hands on one anyway. They’re perfect for beginners, and if your children show enough enthusiasm, there’s chance to grow their knowledge even further using various accessories.

Read the full article: 5 Toys That’ll Teach Your Kids How to Code

The 10 Best Beginner Projects for New Programmers

beginner-projects-programmers

The world of programming seems endless in every direction. If you’re not mastering PHP, you’re looking to Python. If it’s not a language, it’s a framework. You’ve got to start somewhere. Yet when there’s so much to learn, where should you begin? While you’ll hear programmers stress the need to find creative projects, you’ll need something small to build your confidence. Here are the best beginner programming applications you can create in a few hours, start to finish. Where to Begin as a New Programmer? If you’re an absolute beginner, and don’t have to skills necessary to attempt a project,…

Read the full article: The 10 Best Beginner Projects for New Programmers

beginner-projects-programmers

The world of programming seems endless in every direction. If you’re not mastering PHP, you’re looking to Python. If it’s not a language, it’s a framework.

You’ve got to start somewhere. Yet when there’s so much to learn, where should you begin? While you’ll hear programmers stress the need to find creative projects, you’ll need something small to build your confidence.

Here are the best beginner programming applications you can create in a few hours, start to finish.

Where to Begin as a New Programmer?

If you’re an absolute beginner, and don’t have to skills necessary to attempt a project, here’s a primer of the bare-bone basics regarding two basic markup languages: HTML and CSS.

If you’re comfortable with the basics, you can then venture out and create projects. While programming allows for a seemingly endless array of projects, the best projects end up being crash courses in coding themselves. That means they push the boundaries of what you already know, allowing you to consider a language, or a bit of code, in a new light.

The following projects are simple by design, even if they’re not exactly easy. While you aren’t going to end up with a beautiful UI or completed web app, you will walk away from the project with two things: a portfolio piece you can show to prove your ability, and a better understanding of just how wide-ranging programming can be!

1. Make Your Own Chess Game

Chess is a game as old as time, and has always followed the same rules (deviations aside). The logic of chess, however, matches up very nicely with the same logic you would use to program a game. Additionally, Chess makes for a fantastic starter piece—pun intended—towards a programming career.

You’ll start by mapping out both your board and your pieces. Then, you’ll go on to giving specific movements for your pieces. From brainstorm to final product, you’ll be forced to think of chess as less of a physical game and more of data-driven mental gymnastic! Click on the video above to begin learning how to maneuver your way through creating your very own chess program (and how to modify it to create your own version of chess).

While the video above isn’t exactly a step by step tutorial to create the program, it is an absolutely necessary insight into how programmers think and code in order to create a final product.

2. Program a Soundboard

If a blinking cursor gets your stomach in knots, know that there are other, simpler alternatives to text-based coding that can assist in understanding how programs operate. MIT App Inventor, an adult alternative to the kid-friendly and highly popular Scratch, allows users to create an Android app using a simple and understandable UI.

Creating a soundboard is highly educational for a variety of reasons. For example, you are forced to understand how sound files and user interactions mesh together. Individual files, pieced together, become the immersive audio environments you enjoy when playing your favorite games!

3. Build Your Own Calculator

Inputs are absolutely vital to learn as a programmer. Creating a calculator allows users to perform simple tasks using simple operations like multiplication and division.

It may not be the most exciting application, but you can rest assured it’s absolutely necessary for a beginning programmer.

 4. Create a To-Do List App

Building a to-do list app is how you know you’ve gotten somewhere. It involves most of what you would need to create a simple UI: buttons, animation, user interaction, and events.

Because the above video uses the big three—HTML, CSS, and Javascript (learn more about JavaScript)—you can then upload it to a portfolio of your choice for showcasing, or integrate it into a website instantly.

5. Develop a Weight Conversion Tool

Along the same lines as a to-do list, you can also add a few simple formulaic operations to create a great looking weight conversion tool. Keep in mind that with projects like these you can add or subtract as much functionality as you’d like.

The above example integrates Bootstrap toolkit into your project as well, which some would consider an absolutely crucial experience for modern web development.

6. Code a Rock, Paper, Scissors Game

Rock, Paper, Scissors is kind of a catch all. It requires both user input and a randomizing element. You’re essentially playing against a robot, which you created, in a game you also created.

Additionally, it provides beginner coders with a tangible, interactive product you can pick up and play immediately. Since there are various graphic objects to interact with, you can be as personal and creative as you’d like!

7. Build Your Own Tic Tac Toe

Whereas a successful Rock, Paper, Scissors app can be created using randomized parameters, Tic Tac Toe requires a bit of strategy. Using HTML, CSS, Javascript, and a little math knowhow, you can learn how to create an unbeatable Tic Tac Toe bot.

You can even use the program as a Tic Tac Toe teacher of sorts, expanding the amount of teachable moments you can achieve with this project.

8. Web Scraping With Python

Python is famous for automating boring things, and the above project is no different. You can use Python, along with a Python library called Beautiful Soup, to extract data from HTML and XML documents, even if you’re a complete newcomer to python.

The above example exports data you’ve scraped into a CSV file, so you can even use a program like Excel to create charts, graphs, plots, and so on from your data.

You will have to download a Python distribution named Anaconda before you undertake this project, as it’s not present on your PC by default. This is the case with many programming languages, so it’s best to get used to the process early on.

9. Build a Basic HTML5 Website

Few projects will teach you as much as a basic HTML and CSS website. From learning simple design principals, file linking, and web hosting, creating a simple website is always a great way to either begin, or further, a programming portfolio.

The complexity and general impressiveness of your website will grow the more you learn. Most other programming languages you learn in your coding journey can also be applied to websites, making them a fantastic go-to when flexing your programming skills.

10. Code Snake With JavaScript

After you’ve been coding for a while, you gain an almost intuitive sense of the logical progression of an application. A game as simple as Snake, for example, is not a complete chunk. It’s a sequence of logical pieces.

The above video perfectly exhibits an actual programmer undertaking a casual project (which I wouldn’t try coding along with in real time). With a thorough understanding of the language you’re coding in, along with a mental coding library developed through practice, you too can recreate in parts what always previously seemed like a solid chunk.

While a game of Snake isn’t the most impressive project you’ll undertake, the workflow exhibited in the above example is what you’re aiming for as an amateur programmer.

Start Small, Think Big

Programming projects bleed into each other. Pick up a project with HTML and CSS. Next thing you know, you’ll be playing with JavaScript. Before long, you’ll be creating Python games in your sleep. It’s miraculous what a steady, consistent flow of projects can do for your programming knowledge.

Now you have ten to pick apart and piece together. Or rather, a starting ten. Choose one, two, or all, but whatever you do: get coding!

Read the full article: The 10 Best Beginner Projects for New Programmers