You may have noticed that some programmers have computers with amazing capabilities and specs. You may think that those who want to try coding or programming would have to buy powerful machines before they could succeed as programmers. But is a powerful computer really necessary for programmers?
No, you do not need a powerful computer if you want to become a programmer. That’s because programming is about text editing and having a computer that’s good enough to run your program. But you would need to make sure that your specs are good enough because programming still requires a good enough processor.
It is easy to get lost in the aesthetics when you do see programmers with amazing setups. This will make it seem like you need computers with high specs for simple programming tasks. The truth is that, while you still need a good enough computer, it really isn’t necessary for your setup to be powerful and expensive. You can begin your programming journey with an entry-level computer.
Do you need a powerful computer for programming?
Learning how to code or program can be a good way for you to be able to start your career as a software developer or engineer especially if you are looking for a good career path. You can even learn how to program on the side while making money as a freelance programmer.
But there are some people who are immediately put off when they see some programmers with expensive setups. This means that these programmers are using powerful computers with specs that may be at the top of the pack especially when it comes to the computer’s processing capabilities.
The usual setup that you see among some of the more common programmers is that they have large and multiple monitors and computers that seem to be quite powerful.
There really is no need for you to use a powerful computer for you to become a programmer. The reason is that programming is about editing text files that don’t really require you to have the best specs available on the market. In that sense, editing text files really isn’t too different from editing word documents. This means that programming doesn’t really demand powerful specs from expensive computers.
The most probable reason why you see programmers with powerful computers and amazing setups is that they are multi-taskers who would rather have multiple screens and powerful computers that could help them run different software, virtual machines, and emulators all at the same time.
This means that they need to have powerful computers that are capable of multi-tasking. On top of that, having multiple monitors or screens will also make it easier for them to perform multiple tasks at the same time.
In some cases, there are also programmers who double as graphics artists or video editors. Such tasks require them to have computers that are powerful enough to render demanding graphics and video files. As such, it becomes understandable why some programmers actually have powerful computers.
There are also instances where programmers are also avid gamers. So, to kill two birds with one stone, they essentially use the same machine they use for programming. And because gaming is demanding in terms of specs, some programmers really do have powerful machines that are capable of running the best games possible.
All that said, there really is no need for you to have a powerful computer if you want to become a programmer. There are even programmers who would rather recommend that you use an entry-level computer instead so that you can save money and perhaps steadily earn a good sum before you could invest in a more expensive setup.
However, there is still a lot of benefits that you can reap if you do use a moderately powerful computer. There is no need for you to have the most powerful computer with the best specs but you could still benefit a lot from a computer with pretty good processing capabilities and a respectable amount of memory.
That’s because, again, some programmers might want to multitask so that they can save time. Multitasking requires that you have a good enough processor that can handle processing multiple programs and software all at the same time. Of course, the more programs and software you have open, the more RAM you need. That’s why you might want to have a good enough computer that has a respectable combination of processing speed and memory.
What are the minimum requirements of a computer for programming?
To begin your programming journey, you can start out with an entry-level computer with entry-level specs that can handle word processing because, as mentioned, basic programming is simply all about editing text files.
However, while we did say that you can start out with an entry-level computer, you might still want to start out with a good enough computer that has respectable specs. So, what are the minimum requirements that most programmers would recommend?
To stress, there really are no minimum requirements when it comes to computers that are capable of programming. But the requirements we are talking about here relate to what most programmers would recommend for those who want to start out as programmers.
That said, here are some of the requirements that you may want if you to start programming:
- A full HD screen. Any size would do but it’s much better for visibility purposes that you go with a screen that is at least 22 inches.
- 8 GB of RAM. 4 GB should already be good enough but you need at least 8 if you want a computer that can handle multiple tasks.
- An i5 processor. In most cases, an i3 would also be sufficient for starters and beginners but you want a computer that has a respectable enough speed because a slower processor will only make your computer feel sluggish later on as you progress as a programmer.
- At least 500 GB of hard drive space. Hard drive space becomes important when you are now using multiple different files. But it really isn’t necessary for you to have a really spacious drive. You can also go for an SSD, which is faster and should be able to make your programming experience smoother but it isn’t necessary for beginners.
- Multiple docking ports. The reason why you need multiple docking ports such as more than one USB port is that you would probably be using external storage devices or accessories that require their own dedicated ports.
From there, everything else becomes optional. There are some programmers who might recommend that you use a dedicated graphics card if you want to render video files or run some programs that require respectable graphics. However, a graphics card really isn’t necessary for beginner programmers.
Should you get a laptop or a desktop for programming?
Choosing between a laptop or a desktop when you are a programmer is a subjective matter because it really depends on the programmer. Freelancers who like to work away from their homes or offices may be able to benefit more from a laptop. On the other hand, those who spend most of their time in their offices or homes may want to invest in a desktop instead.
However, if you do go for a laptop, we recommend that you don’t go with an entry-level laptop because a cheap laptop will become obsolete rather quickly. Instead, go for a mid-level laptop or even a more expensive one so that you will be able to use it for 4 or more years, give or take, without having to replace it with a newer one when it does get slow.
Meanwhile, for those who prefer desktops, you can use an entry-level desktop at the start because you have the option of upgrading its specs later on when you have the means to do so.