You’ve come a long way! I think I can safely call you Programmer, Gear Head, Propeller Head, or even Geek rather than Alfie or Austin….
If you’ve worked through this book, you’ve learned a great deal about programming. You understand enough about the syntax and structure of programming so that you should pretty easily be able to pick up the details of any modern programming language—and use it to great effect! Best of all, you’ve learned the right way to think about programming and code. Along the way, you’ve also learned to “think like a computer.”
The concepts you’ve learned in this book will stand you in good stead as you start programming for the rest of your life. Best of all, you’ve learned the habits of good, consistent, methodical programming—so there’s nothing you’ll have to “unlearn” as you continue programming.
As I’ve said repeatedly in this book, the best way to learn programming is by doing it.
To learn more about programming and to keep the skills you’ve learned in this book from getting rusty, you need to keep programming.
As the joke goes, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Practice, practice. The same thing is as true for programmers as it is for musicians. If you keep practicing programming, you’ll become a virtuoso.
The Star Wars character Yoda might have said, “Programmer you must be. There is no other way.” Once a programmer, always a programmer. By reading and working through this book, your life has changed. It’s up to you to internalize the change, to continue thinking like a programmer, and to add to your programming skills.
There are many paths you can take to continue programming, and which you choose largely depends upon your needs, situation, and interests. Here are some suggestions (also please see the “For Further Information” sidebar):
You can write macros for Microsoft Office applications such as Word or Excel.
You can learn to create programs for applications that display graphics on the Web, such as Macromedia Flash.
You can explore languages such as C and Java.
You can learn more about Visual Studio .NET and the .NET languages including Visual Basic .NET and C#.
Good luck in your journey as a coder!
Finally, as I’ve said, I’m personally interested in your progress. Please send me a note from time to time at the special email address <firstname.lastname@example.org> and let me know how you’re progressing as a programmer.
With a sound conceptual understanding of programming and programming languages, you’ll find many good sources for information about programming topics.
You’ll find many great books about programming available from Apress (the publisher of this book) at http://www.apress.com.
Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) provides tons of useful information about programming in Microsoft Office, Visual Studio .NET, Visual Basic .NET, and C#. You’ll find the MSDN home page at http://msdn.microsoft.com.
If you’re interested in learning to program in Visual Basic .NET, you’ll find my book Visual Basic .NET for Windows: Visual QuickStart Guide (Peachpit Press, 2003) helpful. This book is, in part, the continuation of Learn How to Program; it picks up from where Learn How to Program ends.
You can download a version of Java, also at no cost, and learn tons about the Java programming language at Sun’s Java site at http://java.sun.com.
Programming Macromedia Flash is very cool and a good way to apply your new programming skills. A good book on the topic is William Drol’s ObjectOriented Macromedia Flash MX (Apress, 2002).