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How to Choose the Best Laptop for Programming (S5E15)

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We talk a lot on this podcast about non-traditional paths into tech—but traditional education can also be a solid choice to build a wealth of technical knowledge and start your career.

Take Forrest Knight, who went to college for computer science, graduated in May 2018, and got a job as a software engineer that same month. As a part-time YouTuber on the side, Forrest shares his experiences on topics including computer science, software engineering, and advice for choosing the best laptop for programming.

In this episode, Forrest joins us to talk about that last part: how to choose the best laptop for coding, depending on your needs. He also gives us an overview of hardware terms (e.g. CPU, RAM, SSD) and talks about replacing, repairing, and updating your equipment.

Listen to the episode below!

Disclosure: I’m a proud affiliate for some of the resources mentioned in this article. If you buy a product through my links on this page, I may get a small commission for referring you. Thanks!

Key Takeaways

Here are Forrest’s main pieces of advice when you’re trying to find the best computer for programming.

1. Know what you want the computer for

Think about everything that you will be using the laptop for—whether it’s just for coding, or if you will be gaming too, or photo editing, etc. Get a laptop that can fulfill multiple purposes so you don’t regret the purchase later.


2. Educate yourself on computer components

Learn what components make up a computer and learn their function. It will help when you want to buy a new computer/laptop, because you’ll be versed in the lingo and able to actually understand the descriptions.

3. MacBook Pros are popular for software engineers

A MacBook Pro can be a good choice for coding. It runs Mac OS, which is very popular within computer science and software engineering.

mac computer

4. Non-Apple laptops can be good for coding too (and cheaper)

Apple doesn’t completely rule the coding world. If you’re considering non-Apple laptops for coding, Forrest recommends Dell XPS, which are “solid laptops for the price.”

5. Keep your equipment up-to-date

To ensure things keep running fast and smoothly, keep your computer/parts up to date. Computers can last a long time, but if it’s slowing down or important functions aren’t working as well anymore, bite the bullet and upgrade, replace parts, or get it serviced.

fixing the computer

Links and mentions from the episode:

Where to listen to the podcast

You can listen to the Learn to Code With Me podcast on the following platforms:

  1. iTunes
  2. Overcast
  3. Stitcher
  4. Spotify

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