The Basics of Go: A Beginner's Guide

Are you looking to learn Go? Also known as Golang, it was created by Google and has gained popularity among developers in recent years. But where do you start? Don't worry, this beginner's guide will give you all the basics that you need to start your journey in the Go programming language.

What is Go?

Firstly, let's explore what Go is. Go is an open-source programming language that was developed in 2007 by Google. It is designed to be fast, efficient, and easy to use. It is commonly used for building server-side applications, network programming, and web development.

Installing Go

Before you can start coding in Go, you need to have it installed on your computer. Go is available for different platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux. To install Go, follow the instructions on the official Go website.

Once you have installed Go, you can check if it's working by opening a terminal and typing:

go version

This should output the version of Go that you have installed on your computer.

Setting up a Go workspace

When working with Go, it's recommended to set up a workspace. A workspace is a directory where you'll keep your Go code and dependencies. It makes it easier to manage your projects and share them with other developers.

To set up a workspace, create a directory where you'll keep your Go projects. Inside that directory, create three more directories: src, pkg, and bin. These directories will hold your source code, compiled packages, and executable binaries respectively.

mkdir -p my_workspace/src my_workspace/pkg my_workspace/bin

Then, set the GOPATH environment variable to the path of your workspace:

export GOPATH=/path/to/my_workspace

You can add this to your .bashrc or .bash_profile file to persist it across terminal sessions.

Now, you're ready to create your first Go project in the src directory.

Writing your first Go program

Let's start by writing a simple "Hello, World!" program in Go. Open your favorite text editor and type the following code:

package main

import "fmt"

func main() {
    fmt.Println("Hello, World!")

Save the file with a .go extension, for example: hello.go. Then, navigate to the directory where you saved the file using the terminal and run the following command:

go run hello.go

This should output:

Hello, World!

Congratulations! You've written your first Go program!

Understanding Go syntax

Now that you've written your first program, let's dive into the Go syntax.


In Go, a package is a collection of functions, types, and variables grouped together under a common name. Every Go program consists of one or more packages. The package keyword is used to define a package name at the top of a file.

package main

The main package is a special package in Go that is used to create executable programs.


Go has a module system that allows you to manage dependencies in your project. To use a package in your code, you need to import it. The import keyword is used to import packages into your program.

import "fmt"

In this example, we're importing the fmt package, which provides functions for formatted I/O.


Go is a functional programming language, which means that functions are at the heart of Go programming. A function is a block of code that performs a specific task.

func main() {
    fmt.Println("Hello, World!")

In this example, we're defining a main function, which is the entry point of our program. The fmt.Println function is used to print a string to the console.


Variables are used to store values in your program. In Go, you need to declare a variable before you can use it. The var keyword is used to declare a variable.

var name string

In this example, we're declaring a variable called name of type string. To assign a value to a variable, you use the = operator.

name = "John"

You can also declare and initialize a variable at the same time.

var name string = "John"

Or you can use shorthand syntax to declare and initialize a variable.

name := "John"

Control structures

Go provides several control structures that allow you to control the flow of your program. Let's explore some of the most common ones.

If/else statements

The if/else statement is used to execute a block of code based on a condition.

if x > 10 {
    fmt.Println("x is greater than 10")
} else {
    fmt.Println("x is less than or equal to 10")

In this example, we're checking if x is greater than 10. If it is, we print "x is greater than 10", otherwise, we print "x is less than or equal to 10".

For loops

The for loop is used to execute a block of code repeatedly.

for i := 0; i < 10; i++ {

In this example, we're using a for loop to print the numbers from 0 to 9.

Switch statements

The switch statement is used to execute a block of code based on a value.

switch color {
case "red":
    fmt.Println("The color is red")
case "blue":
    fmt.Println("The color is blue")
    fmt.Println("The color is unknown")

In this example, we're checking the value of color and printing a message based on its value.


In this article, we covered the basics of Go programming language. We explored what Go is, how to install it, and set up a workspace. We also wrote a simple "Hello, World!" program and learned about the syntax of Go, including packages, imports, functions, variables, and control structures.

Now that you've learned the basics, it's time to start your journey in Go programming. Happy coding!

Editor Recommended Sites

AI and Tech News
Best Online AI Courses
Classic Writing Analysis
Tears of the Kingdom Roleplay
Best Deal Watch - Tech Deals & Vacation Deals: Find the best prices for electornics and vacations. Deep discounts from Amazon & Last minute trip discounts
Learn AWS / Terraform CDK: Learn Terraform CDK, Pulumi, AWS CDK
Javascript Rocks: Learn javascript, typescript. Integrate chatGPT with javascript, typescript
ML Education: Machine learning education tutorials. Free online courses for machine learning, large language model courses
Compsci App - Best Computer Science Resources & Free university computer science courses: Learn computer science online for free