Mastering Linux: Top Commands Every New Computer Programmer Should Learn

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Are you new to the world of computer programming? If so, learning Linux commands is an essential step in your journey. Linux is a powerful and versatile operating system used by developers across various fields.

In this blog post, we’ll cover the most important Linux commands that every new computer programmer should learn to level up their skills.

(Want to learn even more about Linux? Check out Linux Pocket Guide: Essential Commands and The Linux Command Line: A Complete Introduction.)

pwd (Print Working Directory)

The ‘pwd’ command displays your current location in the filesystem. This helps you stay oriented while navigating directories and understand where your files and folders are located.

cd (Change Directory)

The ‘cd’ command allows you to move between directories with ease. This is particularly useful when managing and organizing projects in the filesystem.

ls (List)

The ‘ls’ command lists the contents of a directory. You can use flags like ‘-l’ to get a more detailed view, including file permissions, ownership, and modification dates.


The ‘touch’ command enables you to create new empty files with a specified name. This is perfect for quickly setting up a new project or creating placeholder files.

nano, vi, vim

These are popular text editors available in most Linux distributions. They allow you to create and edit files directly in the terminal, making it simple to manage your code without leaving the command line.

mkdir (Make Directory)

The ‘mkdir’ command allows you to create new directories easily. This is useful for organizing your projects and files in a structured manner.

rm (Remove)

The ‘rm’ command is used to delete files or directories. However, use this command with caution, as it can permanently remove your data. Flags like ‘-r’ can be added to remove directories and their contents.


The ‘grep’ command enables you to search for specific patterns within files. This is useful for finding specific content in your code or debugging issues.

mv (Move)

The ‘mv’ command helps you move or rename files and directories, streamlining your project organization and making it easier to manage your work.

cat (Concatenate)

The ‘cat’ command allows you to display the contents of a file or concatenate multiple files. This is ideal for quickly reviewing or merging files without opening them in a text editor.

chmod (Change Mode)

The ‘chmod’ command enables you to change file permissions, controlling access and execution. This is essential for ensuring the proper level of security for your files and projects.

man (Manual)

The ‘man’ command provides access to the manual page for any Linux command. This is a valuable resource for learning more about each command’s functionality, options, and usage examples.


By mastering these Linux commands, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a proficient computer programmer. As you continue to practice and refine your skills, you’ll unlock new opportunities for success in the world of coding. Remember that practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to dive in and start exploring the power of Linux. Happy coding!

By joshuapsteele

The Rev. Dev. I solve problems with a pastor's heart for people and a programmer's eye for detail. Learn more at