Taking too long? Close loading screen.
Connect with us


3 concrete steps to learning a programming language



Learning a programming language is stretching your skills, as a developer. It’s a new tool in your toolbox, too. With it, you can create something out of thin air. If you’re lucky, others will find your creation useful, and you’ll feel the warmth of being helpful.

Beyond that, I love programming by itself: it’s a game to me. Logic is really fun to mess with.

Learning is fun too: the excitement of discovery, the joy to finally understand a hard concept. It brings more colors to the world.

In this article, I will describe the process I used to learn the programming languages I know. I’ll answer these questions:

  • How can you properly learn a new programming language?
  • What are the best resources to use?
  • What mindset should you have?
  • What tools should you use?
  • What are the other benefits of this learning methodology?

It doesn’t matter if you’re a complete beginner or if you already know a programming language. The process remains roughly the same.

Come with me, dear reader! Let’s go to Programming Land where every variable, functions, and classes live in peace and harmony.

An environment where you can focus

Let’s be honest: learning a new programming language takes time and effort. Nothing is impossible, but don’t expect programming to be easy.

In general, learning something new means you need to focus on the quality of your learning. If you try to push yourself too much, you won’t learn anything. If you watch some funny YouTube videos while learning, you won’t learn much either.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A quiet place where you can focus only on what you want to learn.
  • A place which is inspiring to you. The best environment would be somewhere where you won’t be tempted to do something else.
  • To choose your code editor / IDE quickly. We want to learn a programming language, not finding the perfect tool. Don’t spend hours on it: just choose the most popular option. You can always change later, depending on your needs. I definitely advise an editor with some sort of auto completion, it will help you a lot.

I have a whole article which is more focused on learning in general, if you’re interested.

The first step: Learning the basics of your programming language

The basics include:

  1. Code syntax
  2. The fundamentals of programming

The first is unique per programming language, the second can be applied to many of them.

Don’t be afraid by the fundamentals if you’re a beginner. You’ll get them along the way.

Finding the best resources

To learn the syntax of a new language, the best method is to take a book and copy the code given as examples. It sounds dumb but it’s the most effective to me.

Reading a book is not enough. If you want to learn something new, you need to learn actively. Reading is too passive.

If your book is good enough, it’ll explain the basics of the language syntax, some general fundamentals with code snippets as examples. Copy these examples in your code editor and execute them. Play with them.

Don’t try to understand everything in detail while reading the book, especially if you’re a beginner. You can go back to it later. For now, the goal is to have a good idea about how the language works.

There are a lot of books out there which provide code with explanation. I personally really like the whole learn code the hard way collection. Don’t be afraid by “hard” in the title: it indicates that it’ll teach you properly what you need to know, without shortcuts. This is what we want.

For the folks who already have some experience, these books can be a bit boring . However, it can still teach you some fundamentals you didn’t know beforehand, or refresh some forgotten memories.

You might ask yourself: why a book? Why not follow some articles on internet? Or watch some Youtube video? The quality of the content on the internet can be very random. You don’t want to learn bad habits; it’s easy to learn inaccurate concepts, increasing your confusion. Learning is easier than unlearning.

A book, on the other hand, can be advised by the community of the language you want to learn. You need to be sure you can trust its teaching: you should ask around in forums and discussion groups what would be the best book. Positive book reviews on a website like goodreads can be a good indicator as well.

You want to avoid misconceptions, “knowing” something which is only partially true or absolutely wrong.

Now, I have a little quiz for you. What’s the best way to learn from these very objective propositions?

  1. Focus on your book on a regular basis, from 30 minutes to 2 hours maximum per session.
  2. Cram 8 hours of study every two months, your belly full of RedBull, at 2:00am, when your procrastination can’t let you sleep anymore.

I have no partnership with RedBull and human attention is very short. Learning two hours straight is already challenging. That’s why the first path will make you wise, rich, and glorious. You’ll learn tremendously faster that way.

Take your time, be patient, and you’ll get there. Don’t forget: the most difficult part is the beginning. If you have some tendencies to procrastinate, like everybody, try to open your book only for 10 minutes. Close it if after these 10 minutes you still don’t want to learn.

You might be surprised how far this simple technique can lead you.

Assessing your knowledge

Questions are a good way to learn

Come back to the code you wrote from time to time, without the book this time. Ask yourself:

  • What did I learned the last time?
  • What was the purpose of the examples and what the book tried to teach you?
  • What does mean this specific syntax?
  • What the purpose of this function?
  • What is the output of this example?

This is meant for you to remember the fundamentals and the syntax of your new programming language. Trying to remember what you learned the last time will reinforce your memory.

If you’re really motivated, you can even try to find other solutions to get the same output of your code snippets, for example.

When you write your code, don’t use too many comments! Try to understand the code as it is. It will, most of the time, give you enough information for you to find what was the purpose of it. On top, when you’ll be a rich and famous developer working for the NASA, your colleagues won’t comment every single line of code they will write (I hope). They will expect you to understand the code.

If you have no idea what you’ve written, that’s perfectly fine. Even if Yoda himself said the contrary, trying is the most important.

After your tries to remember what you learned the previous learning sessions, open your book and let these “aha! I remember now!” thoughts of victory blossom in your wonderful soul.

You can test yourself every week or every two days, it doesn’t matter. Simply have a study plan:

  1. Read the book
  2. Copy the code
  3. Test yourself, without the book, from time to time
  4. Play with the code – modify it, add your own ideas to understand how it really works
  5. GOTO 1

You need to find your own pace: not too slow or your motivation will suffer, not too fast or you’ll feel exhausted. Find a balance to keep your interest in your new programming language. That’s the most important!

The second step: Beginning a side project

When you’re half-way in your book, you can begin the second step of this plan to rule the universe: beginning a side project.

Actually, you can begin it whenever you’re able to use the syntax of your new programming language without too many difficulties. Just try and adjust: if it’s too hard to build something, you might not be ready yet.

If you’re totally bored with your book, if only opening it feels like a torture, if you have the despite every page of it, it might be a subtle indicator that you need something a bit more concrete and creative. Hence the side project!

What the benefit of a side project, you might ask? Learning the syntax and the fundamentals of a programming language is essential, but definitely not enough. Programming is about problem solving, and you need to be able to solve all kinds of problem with your new language.

What side projects can you build?

I already wrote a series of articles about side projects:

  • The first article is about the mindset to have to carry your side project through its end. Believe it or not, the mindset is the most important!
  • The second article focus on the tools I’m using to follow this mindset.

If you need to remember only one thing from these articles: build something small! You don’t want to build the best application of the year and become rich, famous and unhappy. You want to learn a new language.

Your side project could be anything from a todo list app, a pomodoro app or a calculator. Even better: if you have some personal ideas which could be a fun small project, please proceed. It’s even better than picking random ideas on The Internet.

If you want to build something bigger afterward, feel free to do so. Go step by step, begin by something little, and build bigger and higher, if that’s what you want.

The best way to work on a side project

You need to know exactly what functionalities your side project will have. I will never say it enough: as few as possible, for the beginning, is the best. You can still add more on top later.

Then, follow these steps:

  1. Open your code editor.
  2. Choose the functionality you want to code.
  3. Code.
  4. Google is your friend when you’re stuck.
  5. Hooray! Your functionality works.
  6. Go back to 2.

This is called an iterative process. Even if you’re wrong at the beginning, you’ll fix your mistakes and come closer to your goals after each iteration. Consider the first iteration as an imperfect draft.

Analysis paralysis can be your biggest enemy as a developer: don’t over think. Code something. Don’t try to find the perfection in these wonderful lines of code. Perfection don’t exist, and it’s ugly anyway.

Don’t spend an awful amount of time searching the best tools either. I would suggest not using any framework for your first side project. If you need some libraries, take the first one advised by the community (or first ranked by Google) and go for it. Even better: code it yourself if it’s not too long (or too boring).

If you feel comfortable, you should try to write some automated tests as well. It’s important to know how the language handle testing. Consider it as a bonus.

The third step: Show the world your new talents

learning programming language and talents

Share your code and grow your credibility

If you’re a beginner in the fantastic development world full of unicorns, rainbows and mortal tar pits, you need to get a bit familiar with git. It’s basically a system which allow you to version and push all your code on an external server.

The how and the why of git are beyond the scope of this article. If you want me to speak about that, you can contact me. I would love to hear from you!

Install git on your system and create an account on Github. Then, push your project.

When it’s done, congratulation! You can now show your code to the whole world. This is especially useful if you’re planning to find your first job as a developer. You can show your fantastic side project to anybody who wants to see your new skills.

It’s even better than building a portfolio filled with emptiness!

That’s why a side project is important: it will teach you your new shiny programming language and it will improve your credibility as a developer. More code you will have on Github, more chances you will have to skip the boring and usual interview coding tests. Yes, I hate them.

How nice is that?

Get feedback from your peers

All of that is very nice but there’s something important to keep in mind: working alone on a side project can teach you a lot of crap.

Even if you follow a serious and praised book, you can still misunderstand some concepts. You can as well be victim of illusion of competence, when you think you know something, but you’re not able to use it, or even to explain it. Not really useful in my opinion.

Writing the code from your book and building a side project can prevent you to fill your brain with nonsense, but there is still some risks.

That’s why I would advise you to show your code to a maximum of people. Go to Reddit, forums, Facebook groups, and ask for feedback. Negative ones are the best: they are never easy to handle, but they will teach you a lot, and that’s what we want.

If you know some experienced developers, ask them some feedback too. Heck, you can ask me some feedback!

Having a mentor you know well and who can provide personalized advice would be the best of the best.

Having feedback is great when it’s constructive. Don’t take into account pure criticism without any arguments or explanations. What you want is constructive feedback. They explain your mistakes and give you solutions to fix them.

Does your method really work to learn a programming language?

This part is not only an ego-centered gabbling about me and how great I am (the about page of this blog is there for that), but more about giving you concrete examples.

How did I learn programming 20 years ago

When I was a young man, I wanted to code video games. I loved playing them, and I had already these weird desires to create stuff on a screen.

My parents, tired to listen to me speaking about it, bought me a book to learn C, for my birthday. I spent months on this book. I was already applying the three steps technique I just explained you, instinctively. I didn’t have Internet at that point, so I didn’t have the choice, and I’m very happy about that.

I read everything and copied most of the code while reading. The book taught me as well all the fundamentals of programming I needed, at a low level. It’s goddamn C.

Halfway through the book, I began to code my first side project: a textual RPG where you could choose your race and your weapons to go on a text-based adventure, in the Windows terminal. Then, I went into a wall: be damned, you pointers!

How did I learn Goland in 2018

Let’s go back to a fresher past. After 8 years as a PHP developer, I decided to learn a new programming language to extend my skills. I choose Golang for many reasons. Again, if you want to know them, “comment below” and I will do as you say, master!

  1. First Step: One of my colleague advised me to read Go in Practice while copying all the code given as example. It’s what he did to learn the language.
  2. Second Step: Halfway trough the book, I began my first side project in Golang: testomatic.
  3. Third Step: I shared my code on the Golang google group and on the Golang subreddit. The sweet Golang community gave me valuable feedback, helping me understand the general idioms.

The result? I found a job in may 2018 as a full time Golang developer. My side project testomatic helped me a lot at the beginning, as a reference to look into, when I wasn’t sure about the syntax. Very useful!

  1. Bonus step: after beginning my new job, I read Go in Action to understand better the fundamentals and mechanics of the language.

Here’s some cool graphs on the time spent to learn Golang:

learning a new programming language first step: effective GoFirst step: going through Effective Go

  • On the y-axis are the Pomodoro I did each week.
  • One Pomodoro is 25 minutes of focused learning.

As you can see, I began to read the book in January 2018, slowly but consistently: this is the key to learn anything you want. The time I spent on it in March and April increased: this was the notice period from my position of PHP developer to Golang developer.

I wanted to be ready for my new job, and I was enjoying myself.

learning a new programming language second step: testomaticSecond step: testomatic, my first side project in Golang

  • The red line represent the amount of work I expected to do each week.
  • The blue line is the amount of work I was really doing.

Again, you can see the same pattern: I began slowly but consistently. Then, my motivation went through the roof in March and April.

This is a good example to underline an healthy idea: you don’t have to overwhelm yourself by planning 29 hours of learning a week to make through your side project. Only 25 minutes a day can bring you unexpected results, when it’s done consistently.

You might notice that I never finished the book. When I began to work as a full time Golang developer, I judged that I didn’t really need to. It’s perfectly fine; don’t put pressure on yourself to finish every single book, if you don’t feel like it.

You can always come back to unfinished books later.

How did I learn Clojure in 2020

Ah! 2020! You were full or promises. Humanity as a whole saw your potential. We were full of projects, we ended up on our couches, seeing chaos and misery harnessing the world.

Somehow, I still managed to do something I’m pretty proud of: I learned Clojure.

  1. First Step: I was again advised by a good soul to read the free book Clojure for the Brave and True. This book is so good! The author needs million of dollars and a statue in my living room.
  2. Second Step: Halfway trough the book, I was still trying to understand the first chapters. It’s a whole new paradigm, so don’t judge me.
  3. Third Step: After finishing the book, I found a snake game written in Clojure, and I modified it for my needs. I wanted to teach some Vim concepts with it. Here’s the result.
  4. Fourth Step: Feeling a bit more in control of my destiny, I went on my own project, using a library to build a Sokoban game. I learned a great deal about WebGL at the same time. Why not? I had time.

In this special context, I thought creating funny little games could be nice. Plus, video game development is crippled with states, and functional programming has some interesting ideas about that.

Here are some data:

Time spent on learning Clojure

This is the time I spent in 2020 on reading Learn Clojure for the Brave and True. I copied all the code as well. The red curve was my goal, the blue curve how much time I really spent on it.

In total, 38.75 hours. I spent already 20 hours on it at the end of 2019, so the total is a glorious 58.75 hours.

Again, the hardest is to begin. Then, time flies by!

Time spent on building Clojure games

This is the time I spent to build my two games. In total, 100 hours. Gosh, I didn’t do game development since I was 18. It was good.

The conclusion: if you want to learn a ton, just pick a language in a paradigm you don’t know, with a weird syntax. Many new skills guaranteed.

A language that doesn’t affect the way you think about programming, is not worth knowing. — Alan Perlis

There is nothing exceptional here. Just spend 10 minutes each day on the language of your dreams, and you’ll end up spending hours without even noticing it.

By the way: you’re never really done learning a language, and that’s great. Learning is fun!

Coding is the best way to learn a programming language

Here’s a condensed version of the learning method described through this article:

  • Step 1: find a well-known and rated book, follow it and write the code given as example.
  • Step 2: half-way through the book (or when you feel ready), begin a small side project. If it’s something personal, it’s even better. Continue your book and you side project in parallel.
  • Step 3: show your code to whoever can give you feedback. Having a mentor is the best!

If you need to remember something from this article, remember that: active learning is always better than passive learning.

I agree that copying code examples from a book and coding your own side project are more efforts than passively watching coding videos on Youtube. However, since you’re a (possible wannabe) developer, you should be able to enjoy it, at least most of the time.

If you enjoy learning a new programming language, can we still speak about “effort” and “work”, or more about “pleasure” and “hobby”?

This article was written by Matthieu Cneude and was originally published on The Valuable Dev, a blog focusing on the important and timeless concepts in software development. You can read the piece here


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


The 10 Best Deals of October 27, 2020



Gif: Juliana Clark

Best Deals of the DayBest Deals of the DayThe best deals from around the web, updated daily.

Tuesday’s Best Deals | Kinja Deals

It’s October 27, and we at Kinja Deals are here to bring you the top 10 deals of the day. Kick back with some vegan CBD gummies. Prep for your future Zoom calls with the MySmile Teeth Whitening Kit. Try your hand at indoor gardening with the AeroGarden Harvest 360.


If you’re still looking to snag some deals, take a look at Tuesday’s best deals overall.


If you’re going to give OLED a try, this might be the time to start considering. I’ll contend you can still get away with an LG B7, the baseline from a couple of generations ago, but the TVs have gotten exceptional. Burn-in and input lag are two of the biggest knocks against OLED, especially for gamers, but according to reviews, that should be a non-issue on the LG CX. So long as you’re not watching the news or playing games with the same HUD for many consecutive hours on end, you shouldn’t run into any nasty image retention issues anytime soon.

Now down to its all-time low price of $1,497 on Amazon and at BuyDig, this 55″ TV is one of the best LG currently has to offer. It begins with that beautiful OLED panel, of course, which bids sayonara to muddy grays and backlight bleed thanks to its per-pixel lighting. For movies, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision HDR return to give you the best cinematic experience possible, the latter adding a feature that automatically tunes the picture around your ambient lighting conditions and the content you’re watching.

The TV also includes both AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync, both of which are gaming features that eliminate screen tearing with little (if any) added input lag.


This deal was originally published by Quentyn Kennemer.


You can now commemorate your digital rags to riches story in Animal Crossing with a real world bell bag, now bundled with the game for $55. The bag alone is normally $20, and with Animal Crossing: New Horizons usually hovering around $50 these days, it’s a nice $15 value. We’ve talked at length about the game ‘round here, but this rave is all about that bag!


This soft plush bag is super authentic with a brown star patch and a red drawstring to keep whatever you decide to carry inside from spilling out. The bag is about 5.95 inches wide and 4.9 inches tall, which isn’t a whole lot of room, but I’m sure you can find a good use for it!

Put down your purses, backpacks, and pocketbooks and try on an oldish-new way to transport your personal items and currencies. (Or, you know, just add it to your ever-growing Nintendo shrine.)


This deal was originally published by Quentyn Kennemer.


There’s nothing more vegan than letting everyone know you’re vegan, and while I don’t partake in the diet myself, I do try to reduce my animal-based intake where possible. And for avid CBD users like myself, it can be hard to find gummies that don’t use gelatin or other animal products to get their chewy mouthfeel. Complete with vitamins D3 and B12, Sunday Scaries Vegan AF gummies yield all the benefits of its classic Gummies for Chillin’ except, you know, without the dissuasive ingredients. Made from broad spectrum CBD oil and coconut oil, unlike some competing brands, Sunday Scaries’ gummies contain no THC, not even like trace amounts of the stuff. So if you’re trying to cut down on the devil’s lettuce, let our exclusive discount help with that.

Because CBD lacks the psychoactive chemical found in THC, it doesn’t get you “high” per se. Instead, it makes you feel relaxed while sober. Just pop a tasty gummy or two and you’re set to lie down for the night, free from racing thoughts about the impending doom of work tomorrow, hence the name Sunday Scaries. For a limited time, you can save 25% on these vegan CBD gummies using the promo code ESINV25 to see what it’s all about. Automatically applied at checkout, this brings the grand total down to $35, or $31 if you choose to subscribe and save. Before long, you’ll be singing its praises without ethical concern for environmental impact (well, save for the packaging I presume).


This deal was originally published by Gabe Carey.


If you need a massive storage upgrade and don’t need SSD transfer speeds, this Seagate Gold Box is perfect timing. External hard drives are up to 35% off at Amazon for the day, including a 2TB Backup Plus Slim that’s only $53, and you can get more than double the space for less than double the cost with this 5TB for $98.


If you have tons of big games and large movies, you might want to step up to this 8TB instead, which is just $123 with the discount. There are options all the way up to a massive 10TB at Amazon, so shop around before the calendar turns.



This deal was originally published by Quentyn Kennemer.


Over 11,000 customers can’t be wrong. 60% of Amazon reviewers have given the MySmile Teeth Whitening Kit a 5-star rating. If you’ve been looking to clean up a few coffee stains or make those pearly whites a little brighter this is the kit you’ve been searching for. Save 30% on this kit today.

If you’ve seen these sets before you know it comes with a LED light that helps accelerate the whitening process. It has a built-in timer so you don’t need to worry about setting one yourself and each session will be accurate. Also in this kit are the three 3mL teeth whitening gel syringes and the mouth trays for top and bottom. This kit provides enough gel for nine treatments. The trays don’t need to be molded which alleviates a huge headache and is usually my biggest gripe when I’ve tried kits akin to this one. Several customers have mentioned this worked just as well with their sensitive teeth which are really nice to know if you’re on the delicate side. Use these bad boys once a day for ten minutes and see stains from your life fade away even after one treatment. If only you could remove other problems that easily.


Prime members will enjoy free one-day shipping.


This deal was originally published by Sheilah Villari.


I live in a basement apartment so I thought this would be a fun experiment when I got one of these. I also with a roommate who is an excellent cook and constantly looking for fresh herbs and our garden isn’t reliable with the neighborhood creatures. I was pleasantly surprised by the AeroGarden Harvest 360 and if you’re a foodie with a green thumb this is the deal for you. Save $50 on this model right now.

I don’t know what I was expecting but I don’t think it was for them to all grow so quickly. I put the AeroGarden in my room on a high shelf away from all the dogs, so a pretty lightless area. I will say the 20W LED grow-lights are very bright, but duh, they’re supposed to be the sun. They’re on a timer too so you don’t need to worry about turning it on and off. It was easy to set up and I really love that it’s got light indicators that let you know when your plant babies need water or food. Yes, it comes with plant food that’s easy to measure out and pour in the well. It was simple enough to get the pods into the AeroGarden with relatively no mess. I haven’t figured out how to harvest them yet which will need to be done very soon. My pack came with Genovese basil, Thai basil, dill, curly parsley, mint, and thyme. I can say the basil smells lovely. This was a fun experiment that I was pleasantly surprised by and I’d be willing to try some more advanced things like lettuce or tomatoes. The AeroGarden is a great alternative for the plant minded individual worried about pesticides or herbicides.


This item ships free.


This deal was originally published by Sheilah Villari.


Listen, no matter how loud the anti-maskers have a temper tantrum, masks protect yourself and others from COVID-19. We’re living in a pandemic and you know, it requires a bit of preparation for going out in public. This 40-Pack of KN95 masks is $24. Yes, masks are overpriced these days, but these five-layer KN95 masks block 95% of air particles up to .3-micron levels. What are you waiting for? Grab a box and start using them!


This deal was originally published by Ignacia Fulcher. 


If you’ve been looking for a way to take your temperature (or anyone else’s) without touching, you should look into this infrared forehead thermometer. It measures the heat coming off you in about a second for the best possible reading. You can also use it in the ear. It’s only $22, which is about $40 off the original list price. I would grab it before it’s gone.


This deal was originally published by Quentyn Kennemer.


Our pals at Elle Paradis want to treat you not trick you this week unless you’re into that. As a lead up to the spookiest day of the year grab 2 extra good when you spend $75.

My favorite little devil bullet ($22) is one of the free goodies. Channel your dark side in a discrete and clever manner. This smooth silicone little satan vibe has ten different settings and will be as naughty as you want to. Easy to use as it has one button and it’s splash-proof for simple cleaning. This buzzing Beelzebub will need AAA batteries but it’ll be worth it when get to dance with diablo.


A handful of bundles are on sale for All Hallows’ Eve too. This Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun Bundle ($55) that’s discounted 77% in this deal. I do like the variety in this set though. A little something for the backdoor and the front door. Two massagers and a G-spot vibe. Stimulate the spirits just remember to clean the ectoplasm after.


Free shipping on all orders.

This deal was originally published by Sheilah Villari.


If you have the occasional pimple, much like me, chances are you don’t want it to be there. You should check out Rael Pimple Patches. Only $16, they’re made with hydrocolloid that’ll extract all the nasty-ass puss straight from your pimple without ever having to pop them. Which means no acne scars! They also come in two sizes, 10mm and 12mm for regular and extra-large pimples. Shoot, I might buy some!


This deal was originally published by Ignacia Fulcher.


Continue Reading


Microsoft gets a pandemic boost thanks to Surface, Xbox, and cloud services



Microsoft posted the first quarter of its 2021 financial results today, reporting revenue of $37.2 billion and a net income of $13.9 billion. Revenue is up 12 percent, and net income has increased by 30 percent. While the ongoing pandemic continues to force many to work remotely during an economic downturn, Microsoft is benefiting from the shift in the way people are now working, playing games more, and connecting to others through videoconferencing.

Cloud services are the biggest boost to Microsoft’s revenues from the pandemic shift in behavior. Both Office commercial and consumer are up, with Office 365 Commercial revenue growth up by 21 percent. Server products and cloud services revenue has also increased 22 percent as more businesses rely on cloud services for remote working. Azure revenue itself grew 48 percent.

The biggest news here from a consumer point of view is that Microsoft 365 Consumer subscribers have also increased to 45.3 million. That’s a jump of 27 percent year-over-year, and likely thanks to Microsoft’s renewed focus on consumers with Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams earlier this year.

Cloud and Office aren’t the only products driving Microsoft’s growth, though. Surface revenue has jumped by 37 percent this quarter to $1.5 billion. That’s a big increase for a quarter that hasn’t seen any new Surface devices introduced. Microsoft only just introduced a new Surface Laptop Go device and updated Surface Pro X earlier this month, but those will count to next quarter’s revenue.

Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox consoles.
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

Over on the gaming side, Xbox content and services revenue has also increased significantly by 30 percent compared to the same quarter last year. A number of consumers have turned to gaming and services like xCloud or Game Pass during the pandemic, and it’s clear there’s an increased demand for Microsoft’s gaming services. Microsoft notes that Xbox Game Pass subscriptions and strength in third-party and first-party titles helped with revenue.

Microsoft is now gearing up to launch its next-gen Xbox Series X and Series S consoles on November 10th. The consoles complement Microsoft’s xCloud game streaming service that launched last month, and the company’s ongoing efforts with Xbox Game Pass. Microsoft revealed it has 15 million Xbox Game Pass subscribers last month, but the company hasn’t provided any fresh numbers today.

Microsoft appears to be bullish about demand for the Xbox Series X and S consoles. “We expect very strong demand following the launch of our next-generation Xbox Series X and S consoles,” said Microsoft CFO Amy Hood during a call with investors. This demand should drive “supply constrained hardware revenue growth of approximately 40 percent” next quarter.

Microsoft reported a jump in Windows usage earlier this year after lockdowns throughout many parts of the world led to remote working for many. This jump in usage hasn’t resulted in increased Windows OEM revenue during this quarter, though. Windows OEM revenue has dropped 5 percent, and Microsoft blames lower commercial demand for the dip.

While commercial demand for PCs might be softening, Windows OEM non-pro revenue has grown by 31 percent, thanks to consumer PC demand. It’s likely that students and families are driving this growth during the pandemic, turning to PCs to help support remote learning. During an earnings call with investors, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said “PCs have become mission critical,” and that Microsoft is seeing double digit growth in monthly active devices for Windows 10.

Surface Laptop Go.
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

Elsewhere, LinkedIn revenue has also grown by 16 percent year-over-year with 722 million users. Search revenue has decreased by 10 percent, though. Microsoft splits its various businesses into three buckets: productivity and business processes, intelligent cloud, and more personal computing. The more personal computing bucket includes Surface, Xbox, and Windows, and Microsoft says gaming and Surface drove its revenue growth of 6 percent for this quarter.

Azure drove the intelligent cloud revenue growth, and Office 365 and LinkedIn helped the productivity and business processes bucket. It’s clear that these main revenue drivers — Azure, gaming, Surface, and Office — have been influenced by the pandemic.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said at the beginning of this pandemic that the company had witnessed “two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.” That transformation appears to be continuing for many businesses, students, and consumers.

Update, October 27th 6:10PM ET: Article updated with comments from Microsoft’s investor call.


Continue Reading


You can now buy Vizio’s rotating Atmos soundbar



Vizio’s Elevate soundbar has finally hit shelves. You can buy it today for $999.99. The 48-inch soundbar supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. The soundbar houses 18 speakers and comes with a wireless eight-inch subwoofer. The cool thing is that some of the speakers rotate — they face upward while you’re playing Dolby Atmos content and point forward for standard audio.

I spoke to Vizio CEO William Wang about the Elevate earlier this year. He said the soundbar is intended to hook non-enthusiast customers on Dolby Atmos by showing them, visually, the difference between the two tiers of audio. He also noted that while the Elevate is asking a steep price, he expects the rotating speakers to appear in lower-cost devices down the road. The Elevate is being positioned as a good companion purchase for Vizio’s first 4K OLED TV, which is also now available.

Currently, you can order the Elevate at Best Buy and Walmart. Vizio says it’s coming to Amazon and Sam’s Club, too, but those don’t appear to have active links yet.


Continue Reading