Places to Learn Go

This article covers tools and resources that can help you ramp up with Go programming and make you learn enough Go to be dangerous, at least.

Introduction

If you are familiar with programming and you know basic concepts like loops, variables, flow controls, and the like, then there are many resources available that can help you ramp up with Go real fast.

In this article, I’ll list some of those resources, and I’ll share my opinionated order to consume them.

Getting Your Feet Wet

Although if you squint enough, Go looks and feels like Python, C++, or even JavaScript, Go is unique in the way it approaches fundamental programming concepts. Don’t be deceived by the similarity.

One piece of advice that I can give you is to always keep in mind while learning Go is to unlearn what you have previously learned.

Most of the time, the “Go way” of doing things will be unique: Trying to mold it with patterns and paradigms that you’ve known from other programming languages will result in futile resistance.

Forget everything you know and embrace the Go way.

A Tour of Go

That clarified you can start with visiting A Tour of Go, an interactive tutorial that teaches you the fundamentals of the language in under a few hours.

Go Programming Language Specification

After finishing the tour, I would resist the temptation to start coding right away and read the Go Programming Language Specification. It’s amazingly human-readable as far as a spec goes, and it’s “the” authoritative source about how the program behaves, so don’t skip it; read the spec cover-to-cover at least once. Later on, when you have trouble understanding how a code block behaves, refer to the spec first before digging into other places like Stack Overflow.

Go Frequently Asked Questions

In Go Frequently Asked Questions, you’ll find helpful information about the design principles and how the language feels from a higher perspective. I’d recommend you read it twice: First, before you begin your Go journey, and second, after you are comfortable with Go to be dangerous at least.

Set Up Your Go Development Environment

After this initial exploration, now it’s time for Setting Up Your Go Development Environment. Once you set up your development environment, have fun playing with Go locally to explore the language a bit further, and then proceed to the following sections for a deeper dive.

Writing Canonical Go Code

The most challenging part of learning Go is maybe to feel comfortable with “the Go way”. Here, I’ll list a series of articles and resources that will help you get more comfortable with the patterns and paradigms of the language.

  • How to Write Go Code demonstrates developing a simple Go package inside a module and introduces the go tool, the standard way to fetch, build, and install Go modules, packages, and commands.
  • Effective Go is a brief overview that walks you through how to write canonical Go programs.
  • Go Proverbs are from Rob Pike’s talk at Gopherfest SV 2015. They might look like one-liner, zen-like suggestions, but you can write articles—even books—about each of those sayings. I’d, again, recommend you read them at least twice: First, while you are relatively new to Go, and then read them once more when you feel like you know enough Go to be dangerous at least.
  • Go by Example is a collection of everyday Go-related tasks in byte-sized annotated example code pieces. It’s a must-read if you want to have a general feel of the language and become more comfortable with it.

Read the Docs

When you want to learn how a package is used and its public API, there’s no better way than reading its documentation and usage examples.

pkg.go.dev is a place where you can read the public API documentation of standard Go libraries and any other publicly available Go packages.

Dive in Further

If you have followed all of the resources outlined here so far, you should have gotten enough Go-fu to be dangerous, at least.

If you want to drill down further, here are a few essential books that I recommend:

  • The Go Programming Language, authored by Brian W. Kernighan—and anything written by Kernighan is worth your time.
  • Introducing Go covers the language’s core features with step-by-step instructions and exercises.
  • Concurrency in Go is a book about… well… concurrency. To be honest, concurrency is an overly-marketed feature of Go that you don’t end up using too much. But still, you cannot claim to know Go thoroughly without learning about concurrency and various concurrency patterns and practices. This book is one of the best resources you can find on the subject matter.

If you want to get practical, I can recommend Go in Action and (especially if you are into Web and APIs) Go Web Programming.

In addition to these books, go.dev constantly updates its list of Go learning resources, and it is one of the “go-to” places on the web to learn Go.

There are also free books that you can read online:

  • Go Bootcamp Book contains everything you need to know to get started with Go.
  • Essential Go is another free book that you can read online. It’s written to provide a clear and concise explanation of topics for both beginner and advanced programmers.
  • Go 101 is a book focusing on Go syntax/semantics and all kinds of runtime-related things and tries to help gophers gain a deep and thorough understanding of Go.
  • Digital Ocean has an excellent tutorial series on How to Code in Go: Great quality content.
  • Similarly, Microsoft has an equally excellent series of tutorials about Go.

Keep Up With the News

To keep up with the news and what’s coming up next about Go The Go Blog is the official resource you might want to look into.

Follow the Gophers

Programming is not a path that you walk alone, and learning Go is no exception to that. Join the following communities, and follow and interact with your fellow gophers:

Conclusion

Go is a prevelant language, and with the simplicity and clarity it brings to the table, its popularity will likely grow even further.

In this article, I’ve tried to sum up valuable resources that can help you ramp up in Go no matter where you are in your programming journey.

If you know about other tools, tutorials, lessons, or resources that have helped you become a better gopher, share it in the Zero to Hero Discord community.

And until next time… May the source be with you 🦄.

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