Arduino is an open-source hardware and software company, project, and user community that designs and manufactures single-board microcontrollers and microcontroller kits for building digital devices. It can be tricky for newcomers to learn, but here are 5 resources to help you learn about Arduino as a true beginner.
Mini robots, wearables that sparkle, machines that can sense when your plant needs to be watered… These are all exciting Arduino projects that you can make! But, how do you start?
Arduino development is fascinating and enjoyable when you understand how to make things work. But when you are a beginner? It can be hard, even frustrating, to get started. Here are 5 resources to help you learn about Arduino as a true beginner.
What is Arduino?
Per Wikipedia, “Arduino is an open-source hardware and software company, project, and user community that designs and manufactures single-board microcontrollers and microcontroller kits for building digital devices.
The Arduino project began in 2005 as a tool for students at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, Italy, aiming to provide a low-cost and easy way for novices and professionals to create devices that interact with their environment using sensors and actuators.”
Who Should Learn Arduino?
Anyone! Many people like learning Arduino for different reasons. Some people want to practice basic coding skills on a fun project. Others are looking to use advanced electronic and coding skills to make something intricate, like a robot or wearable. There are lots of projects for all skill levels. Whether it’s just making your first project or prototyping something that does not even exist, learning Arduino can be satisfying for many types of people.
Arduino Cookbook: Recipes to Begin, Expand, and Enhance Your Projects 3rd Edition by Michael Margolis, Brian Jepson, and Nicholas Robert Weldin.
Many Arduino enthusiasts I have talked to enjoyed the 2nd edition of this book which has since become outdated. This new edition, published in 2020, is also from O’Reilly Media.
According to the authors, “This book is aimed at readers interested in using computer technology to interact with the environment. It is for people who want to quickly find the solution to hardware and software problems. The recipes provide the information you need to accomplish a broad range of tasks. It also has details to help you customize solutions to meet your specific needs.”
This book is great If you like having a digital or hard copy to refer to as you make your projects, but it does assume that you have some programming knowledge. If you need more support with your programming, the authors say, “Absolute beginners may want to consult a beginner’s book such as Getting Started with Arduino (Make Community), by Massimo Banzi and Michael Shiloh.”
Many workplaces, libraries, and schools have access to LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) for free. At the time of writing this piece, there are 6 or 7 courses to teach Arduino development on LinkedIn Learning. These are detailed, beginner-friendly courses that include helpful information about safety precautions in addition to the foundations you want to learn.
If you have access to LinkedIn Learning, this can be a great first place to start to learn the basics of Arduino without having to spend too much.
Free Code Camp
Free Code Camp offers many resources for coding, including one course for Arduino. Ashish Bansal developed this free course which is featured on the Free Code Camp.org YouTube channel. This course is about 4 hours in length and covers most of the basics of Arduino hardware and software. It has timestamps which mark off the different sections so it is easy to skip around to the parts you might need to review.
Paul McWhorter on YouTube.com
Paul McWhorter has over 30 videos on Arduino fundamentals on his YouTube channel. Here is his channel.
The comments from viewers on his YouTube channel are largely positive, for example: “Dang. You can tell this man really knows his stuff. He is able to explain it in such a way that a child would be able to understand it.”
The videos are simple to follow and start out at a basic level. He has other content and tutorials on his website.
Per their website, “Adafruit was founded in 2005 by MIT engineer, Limor “Ladyada” Fried. Her goal was to create the best place online for learning electronics and making the best-designed products for makers of all ages and skill levels. In the last 10 years, Adafruit has grown to over 100+ employees in the heart of NYC with a 50,000+ sq ft. factory. Adafruit has expanded offerings to include tools, equipment, and electronics that Limor personally selects, tests, and approves before going into the Adafruit store. Adafruit is a 100% woman-owned manufacturing company, a certified Minority and Woman-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE), a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), and WOSB [Women-owned small business].”
Adafruit, as a leader in the Arduino space, has numerous exciting tutorials on their website. These tutorials may be, in some cases, more for the advanced Arduino enthusiast so it might help to build easier projects first. Reviewing the projects on the website can be great motivation for getting your own project started!
And You Are On Your Way!
Although these five resources are readily available on the internet and some of them are free, you might want to seek out local meetups and technology leaders in your area as well. Learning to build projects with Arduino can be challenging, but the rewards are great! From being able to prototype your own creations to impressing your peers, self-discovery in this journey is the best way to learn Arduino for beginners.
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