The importance of technology in our everyday lives has increased dramatically in the past twenty years. Computers and smart gadgets have slowly but steadily infiltrated practically every aspect of our life. Nowadays, everywhere we move, and everything we buy, even our job, everything has some connection with computers. In addition, this trend will continue to rise, as that is our future. In this detailed Coding Guide we will walk through most important questions.
Coding represents one of the most important skills you can learn these days. Learning the language of computers and understanding programming languages may be a valuable tool to uplift your professional and personal growth. Whatever your motivation is, whether you want to get a promotion at your job, change your career, you love playing games so you want to start developing them, or you simply wish to improve your understanding of the digital landscape and grow at personal level, learning to code is a way to go.
Now, let’s start by answering a few ground questions that will help you start.
Why Learn To Code In The First Place?
Learning a new skill has multiple benefits on both professional and personal aspects. But why learn to code could be a right choice for you?
You Will Improve Your Professional Skills
And this is the most obvious reason to start learning to code. Programming skills are a great tool to have in the workplace, especially as technology becomes more integrated into our everyday tasks and activities. If you search employment websites, you will notice that people with coding abilities are very much in demand, with above average starting salary.
It is a similar case with project administrators and managers. As most businesses are online, knowing mechanics of website builders such as WordPress, or some front-end knowledge of PHP is considered definitely a desirable skill to have.
Improves Your Problem Solving Skill.
Coding is a technical skill which helps you to improve your logic and get a better understanding of the digital environment. Practicing coding increases your ability to solve complex situations and problems. In this case, coding can help you achieve better control and a completely different perspective on difficulties and problems in other areas of your job and life.
Boosts Your Creativity
The power to bring your ideas to life is one of the most exciting aspects of learning to code. And it reflects in other fields too. Creating something new from scratch, and materializing your thoughts, can do wonders. Once you start coding, you will notice how you change your way of thinking in other areas of your personal and work life, and you will get out of your routine and start thinking outside of the box.
It Is A Fun Hobby To Have
Learning to code can be overwhelming, but also an extremely satisfying and enjoyable process. After you master the fundamentals of the language of your choice, you can start working on some projects of your own. This is a possibility to create unique projects, and can be a lot of fun. Even if you decide not to pursue a tech career, coding in your free time can be fun and exciting. Do you like playing games? Why not build your own? Who knows, maybe coding can become more than a hobby one day, and be a source of passive income for you. It is nice to have that option.
What Should You Learn First?
Coding requires knowing at least one coding language. However, there are many programming languages out there, so where to start?
Keep in mind that there are some languages that are more user friendly than the others. This depends on their complexity, and if you are just starting to code, the right choice would be to avoid languages that are harder to learn and focus on easier ones.
This is the best approach when starting to code, as many beginner programmers make a mistake and decide to learn coding language before taking into account the complexity of the language itself. Soon, they find it to be overwhelming and give up. Do not make that mistake. Pick a language that has a user-friendly syntax.
With that in mind, we will go through some languages that are perfect for fellow coding newbies. After you get a good grasp on one language, you can proceed with learning additional libraries of the same language, or learn a new language. That depends solely on your wishes and ambitions.
HTML and CSS
This is definitely where we start our journey. HTML is the language of the web and where it all started. It is the simplest and easiest language to comprehend, and before learning anything else, you should be familiar with HTML.
But is it actually a programming language? Nevertheless, HTML is everywhere and we use it to build all the content on the web. Understanding HTML gives you the understanding of internet structure, how browsers work, how web page elements behave. HTML is a must go, no matter if you continue to learn web development or not.
And when we talk about HTML, we can not not mention CSS. If HTML is a structure, CSS is a look. CSS determines how those HTML elements will appear on a web page and how they will behave. CSS is a language of style and it sets features like colors, element’s sizing, font size and weight, and much much more.
CSS constantly evolves and offers developers new solutions and stunning design options. It always goes together with HTML, and you will want to learn them together. At least the basics if web development is not your cup of tea.
HTML and CSS are considered quite easy to learn mostly because these languages do not require coding background as some other languages. Learning HTML and CSS is also considered a perfect start for beginners, as you can see the results of your code almost instantly in your browser, which is helpful at that stage.
Python is a quite popular coding language today with constantly increasing popularity. This is the result of the fact that it is a fairly simple language to learn, even to those new at coding, combined with an extreme variety of its use. In addition, Python opens a door to many jobs in demand with large starting salaries, such as data scientist, analysts, software developers, game creation and much much more.
What makes Python great for starting a language? Well, it is actually the way Python works, or to be more precise the language logic it uses. Much of Python code sounds like plain English, which makes it easier for beginners to comprehend it and understand its logic, especially when building functions.
Although PHP’s popularity has been in decline for the last few years, it is still a very influential programming language. It is still most commonly used for website development. If we look at data, 78.9% of all websites today are built with PHP. More data avilable at Kinsta article.
Have in mind that PHP is not the simplest language to learn. It can be quite confusing actually. However, its usage percentage still makes it a language in demand and if you wish to pursue a career in web developing, PHP can be a language of your choice.
C and C++
C and its successor C++ are popular choices for beginners. Although not the easiest to learn as it demands much more code than others, this can be helpful with learning other programming languages later in your career.
It is important to note that C/C++ developers are in growing demand. Why? It is a popular language choice because it is considered fast and reliable. Due to this, it is mostly used for demanding tasks, such as game development, video editing applications, mobile development.
How To Start?
Thanks to the internet, today is easier to acquire any skill than has ever been before. And that is the case with programming. But where to actually start?
Sign Up For Online Course
There are thousands of online courses on multiple platforms online. After you decide which coding language you wish to learn, you can browse and find the one course that suits you the most. Whether you pick to start with HTML, or something complicated like PHP, you can definitely find the course that is according to your needs and preferable teaching method.
I have finished multiple courses myself on multiple platforms, so I am able to recommend some and give you some general tips.
- First, before picking a course, go through the course syllabus. Take a detailed look at what lessons the course contains, just to be sure the course you picked has what you need.
- Second, pick courses that offer interactive lessons. Courses that have projects and examples for you to practice are always a better choice, because you have an option to practice what you learn right away.
- And third, read feedback if available. Users feedback will often provide much more insight and additional information, which can help you to make a decision.
There are multiple platforms out there to start learning, and one of them is Udacity. Udacity is where lifelong learners come to learn the skills they need and land the jobs they want.
YouTube offers something for everyone. And that is the case with programming. There are a vast number of videos offering great tutorials and tips, especially for beginners. And completely free!
Search through YouTube videos and you will find a lot of content and great tips to get started.
E Books can be great option to start learning coding today. Books are great if you prefer reading, but also a good option when you are on the go. Here are some recommendations.
Connect With Community
You will want to get involved with a community of fellow coders. Being a part of a community will not only push you to go the extra mile in your efforts, but also help you to stay on track and not give up.
In addition, your coding colleagues will often offer their help if you need it and assist you if you need to solve a problem in your code, or you just have difficulties understanding something.
Last but not least, being a part of the community will help you to stay up to date with the latest development of the language you chose, and learn some new tricks every day.
Here are some communities that you should join:
- Stack Overflow
- Women Who Code
Do Your Own Projects
You know that saying “practice makes it perfect”? That sure is the case when learning to code.
Yes, following online courses and tutorials will give you much needed knowledge of the topic, but creating something on your own – that is a completely different level.
This is the best way of learning any topic, programming included. By doing your own projects, you will practice what you learned, but also get a completely different perspective on the subject. Especially when you face difficulties and problems to solve.
Working on some projects on my own has always been the best lesson I could get. That is why I believe it is mandatory to practice what you learned all the time, and try to create something new.
Here are some projects to think about:
- Create Animations
- Create Submit Form
- Build your own Web Page
- Build restaurant menu
- Create grocery list
- Functional To Do list
- Guess the Number Game
- Tic Tac Toe
- Countdown Timer
- Password Generator
- Online Survey App
- Resume Builder
- Search Engine
- Tickets Reservations
- Course Management System
- E-mail System
- Currency Converter
- Credit Card Validator
Look For Programming Courses In Your Local Community
You never know when the opportunity will show up, and such opportunity could be right there in your neighborhood. Local communities around the world offer coding courses, and some of them even for free of charge.
For example, in the town I am from, two times each year you can sign up for coding bootcamp for free (there is a limited number of participants, so you should pass the test and interview of course). It is a coding bootcamp designed specially for beginners, with no prior coding experience, and for people who wish to change their career. The course lasts three months, with highly intense lectures and everyday practicing. However, once you endure that, you are in a great position to start your coding career. They even offer their help to find you your first job!
Go out and inquire of the same community projects in your own neighborhood. The opportunity is sometimes right before your eyes.
In the end…
Yes, anyone can start coding, but that does not mean this will be an easy task. Arm yourself with patience, as some languages require years to master (if that is even possible). But do not give up.
Yes, you will come across some problems that will look impossible to solve, which will take much more time to solve than you planned. Keep in mind this: that is completely expected and normal. Stay on track and continue to practice. Results will come.
Slow and steady wins the race… You will learn to code and write amazing projects soon than you think, just keep learning.