A guest post by Eleven Fifty Academy
A few decades back, Windows computers were popular among programmers. This has since changed as coding becomes more demanding and programmers shift from getting the job done to focus on performance, resilience, and efficiency. Today Macs have taken over the programming world. If you look around, you will notice that almost every programmer uses a Mac. But why is that?
Some of the reasons why programmers prefer Mac to PCs lies with the operating system, the community behind Mac OS, the Mac build-quality, cross-platform compatibility, and of course, personal preference.
Just like with the Windows computers, Mac developers have a lot for you on their menu. Apple products include; MacBook Air ($999 – $1,249), Mac Pro ($5,999 -$6,499), iMac ($1,099 – $2,299) , MacBook Pro ($1,299 – $2,399), and Mac Mini ($699 – $1,099). They also recently released the M1 MacBooks Air and Pro, and M1 Mac Mini. With this long list of Mac computers, you can’t help but wonder which one to go with, especially if you’re getting started in your coding journey.
To solve this mystery, we’ve highlighted the key features to look out for in a Mac. We’ve further given you a tip on which Mac product to go for and a few insights to actualize your passion for programming.
Features To Look Out For
Coding requires a computer that can take in a lot more than the ordinary PC on the market. The features we’ve covered below will help you choose the right Mac for programming.
As a programmer, you probably need a minimum of two to three active windows to operate from, whether you’re learning to code, coding, or doing some bit of research. This means that a sizable screen, from which you can multitask with ease, is necessary to avoid the tedious closing and opening of tabs.
While you don’t necessarily need the 27-inch iMac screen, you want a sizable and programming-friendly one. The screen display is also crucial. Since you want to catch up with the ever-advancing technology, you want a 5k plus display with good brightness.
As a programmer, you need a powerful processor to manage all the necessary software for app development. This will give you an upper hand. Provided you aren’t running some sophisticated large-scale software, you don’t need to go overboard. A good start will be a dual-core i5 Mac. A MacBook Air or MacBook Pro meeting this specification will work just fine.
Programmers with an eye on the future might be interested in exploring Macs that use the new Apple M1 chip, which boosts laptop performance significantly and takes medium-level devices to professional levels of power and speed, as well as extending device battery life and allowing devices to run more quietly. The new M1 MacBook Air has everything a programmer could want; An 8/8 core processor with 16 GB RAM and 512 GB hard drive costs $1499, while the MacBook Pro at that same spec set costs $1799. M1 devices out-perform all but the previous Xeon-powered devices by a longshot, and can truly take your processing power to the next level.
RAM and the Mac Storage
RAM and storage are inseparable. One of the nightmares that programmers have to go through is computer crashes. The latter happens if the computer processing capabilities cannot handle the power and speed needed to execute a chain of commands.
A Mac with a minimum of 8GB RAM is a good start – if you can afford more then get it – you can’t upgrade later – so 16GB will help future proof your Mac. This will go a long way in keeping you ready to work on any line of code. Storage does not matter a lot. But it will pay if you have a minimum of 256GB for a start, although as with everything in computing more is better.
Which One to Go For? MacBook Pro
With several options to choose from: MacBook Air, iMac, Mac Mini, MacBook Pro, and the high-end Mac Pro and iMac Pro ($4,999) – narrowing down to one can be challenging.
The three features highlighted above summarizes the specs needed as far as performance and functionality are concerned. The MacBook Pro is a value mac for anyone looking to take their coding to the next level, whether you’re a professional or an amateur programmer. The latest model, 13-inch, is an improvement of the previous one. It comes with 8 GB RAM, an 8th generation i5 intel core CPU, and a storage of 256 GB.
The cost of a 13” M1 laptop is between $999 (base MacBook Air) and $2,299 (top spec MacBook Pro). The Intel powered MacBook Pro 13-inch is between $1,799 and $3,599. All of these are a great investment for any programmer who values convenience and flexibility. Also the range covers a wide range of budgets.
Getting Started: Learn to Code With Your Mac
Now that you’ve found the right Mac to begin your coding journey, you need to source the right materials/resources that will propel your career forward. If you have the time to teach yourself how to code, this will save you a lot of money, and you’ll build your career from the ground up, taking one step at a time.
If, on the other hand, you want to fast-track your way to becoming a niche programmer, a coding Bootcamp will make the most sense. These programming courses are always geared to those looking for specific coding skills to get them ready to enter the job market.
Coding bootcamps are often costly unless you qualify for some scholarships or financial aid or military benefits. Some coding bootcamps allow military veterans and their families to use GI Bill benefits to learn to program with subsidized fees. This can be a great way to get started with your career and work your way to becoming a successful programmer.
That said, coding should be fun and comfortable. Getting yourself a good computer, preferably a MacBook Pro, and finding the right learning resources will be of great importance. Where possible, utilize any financial benefits or scholarships to pay for coding Bootcamps, and you will accelerate the learning process.