C# Foundations


It’s time to start coding! Welcome to fantastic world of C#! If you haven’t yet, checkout the C# Setup article. You’ll need to set up your C# developer environment before starting.

Now it’s time to learn the basic C# syntax. You need to be familiar with a few concepts and techniques before jumping into your first real project. The way you’ll attack this first contact with the language will depend on your learning style, but here’s my advice: Don’t try to understand EVERYTHING before starting to build.

You don't need a lot to start building

One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting to code is assuming they need to know A LOT before building interesting things. You’ll be surprised about what you can create with basic concepts you can learn within a few hours.

By all means, make lots of notes when you’re first learning to code. Go through the entire material once or twice. But that’s it! The basic syntax hasn’t and won’t change significantly across the years. You’ll have to get back to the basics many times during your journey. Everything you initially have contact with will only be internalised with PRACTICE. So make sure you don’t spend more than a few hours learning the basic theory.

Here’s an example of your self-talk when you start your first project: 'Oh, what do I need to do here? I think an if-else statement will be good to get the user input. How do I write it again? I remember I saw it in the documentation, but I’m not quite sure'. Then you’ll go back to your notes or the documentation, get what you need and apply in your code. You won’t know exactly how to do it, or even how it works yet, but you’ll know where to look and learn how it’s applied once you use it.

Learning With Microsoft and Free Code Camp

In 2023, Microsoft partnered up with Free Code Camp to create a C# certification. It's an excellent course, perfect for absolute beginners to get started. Experienced C# learners will also benefit from this certification as we all have knowledge gaps, no matter how long we have been learning for.

We highly recommend you don't rush past the sections of this C# Certification. Read every line carefully and make notes. An effective way to write notes is writing the concepts that are new to you. Or anything that jumps to your attention. Don't write down things you already knew, as it's unlikely you'll ever touch those notes again if they aren't actually interesting.

After submitting your certificate to the Academy, you'll be rewarded with 20 Experience Points. The certification is required for students get their Green Belt.

Video Course

Here’s a playlist of videos with an intro course by the C# Academy that aim to provide the foundation you need for the upcoming projects. It differs from most beginners tutorials because we don’t just teach concepts that you have no idea how to apply in a real program. We will create a desktop game so that you see how each concept is applied in the context of a real world application.

In the first part of the tutorial, we will build a console app where we’ll go over all the basics you need to get started. Starting with a console app is important because you can focus purely on C#. If you jump straight into Web, Desktop or Mobile Apps, there’s a lot of overhead code and setup that will distract you from actually learning what’s necessary at this stage.

But we understand that console apps aren’t very exciting. It’s nice to create something beautiful very early on, so in the second part of the tutorial we will build the same app using the state-of-the-art .NET Maui, a modern cross-platform solutin that allows us to build apps for Windows, Apple, Android and Mac using a single code base.

In the second part of the tutorial, you’ll again build a math game, but this time building a Desktop app, with the amazing .NET Maui. You can use the knowledge gained from this project to build an interface for all of your projects from now on. It can serve as a sandbox for you to practice your C# skills as opposed to the console.

Creating Your Library

In the C# Setup article , you learned you have to create your source control repository. This will be your ultimate reference book. Every piece of code you ever write should be saved there. And guess what? That will also become your tool box. You’ll constantly grab pieces of code you’ve written before to reuse in your projects.

You can also use your note taking system for that. If you keep your notes and repository organised, you’ll feel like you’re building a nice library of code and saving time not having to rewrite everything from scratch. That will allow you to look for the next, more complex challenge, which will in turn become part of your library. Imagine where you’ll get after a few years doing this.

More Videos

It’s great to learn from different sources. While we’re biased towards C# Academy’s beginner’s tutorial above, since it’s unique in that you learn concepts by applying them, we strongly encourage you to learn from different instructors throughout your journey. Here’s my favourite Beginners tutorial. Mosh touches on everything you need to get started and after this video you can jump straight into the projects. Tim Corey is another excellent instructor to get started with.

The most watched C# course on Youtube is excellent but it’s 4 hours long. It might take you weeks to watch it. I suggest you don’t go through the whole thing before jumping into projects. That’s exactly the type of behaviour that makes people quit. Initially stay away from super long, comprehensive tutorials, unless you break them in pieces and mix theory with practice.

Also, use Youtube to close knowledge gaps. If there’s something you don’t get during your journey, search for that specific topic and you’ll find tutorials just about that subject. The different teaching styles and approaches will help you understand that particular area you’re having trouble with.

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