Many people decide to learn to code not only because it can be a good career choice. The other reason is that it seems as though it is almost a necessary skill in the modern world of technology. It trains to think in a disciplined manner. It helps turn your computer into a power tool instead of just an appliance.
And it boosts problem-solving and analytical thinking. The best part is you do not need to be a member of a Continental Math League to do that. Sure, it might help, but coding is accessible for anyone motivated and ready to work. If you want to start coding but do not know how to do it, this guide is for you!
Understand the Basics
There are many programming languages, but the following five concepts are shared by all of them:
- variables – names of information storing methods;
- data structures – methods of storing and retrieving data on a computer;
- control structures – management of what variables to use from the existing one in a program;
- syntax – grammar rules of a programming language;
- tools – software that helps you program.
The idea is to understand the way computers process information and the logic behind programming.
Join Coding Communities
A great way to learn is by collaborating with others. Joining a community of beginners online helps tremendously. You can find lots of information and recommendations, discover the best practices, and stay motivated. Here are some places to join:
- Reddit and channel /r/learnprogramming;
- Stack Overflow;
- social media communities.
People there share their experiences and useful links, books, and tutorials.
Choose the Language
Install Necessary Software
Of course, coding is quite accessible in terms of tools. You do not need much to start. Actually, what it takes is a text editor. You can use it for HTML or Python (save the file in .py)
But one can also download Notepad++ that highlights the mistakes in the code.
The next step is to install whatever software you need to run the files you are going to create. It depends on the language you’ve chosen. But the computer needs to know how to read your programming.
For more complex and sophisticated projects, you’ll need an integrated development environment (IDE).
Find a Book or a Course
The next step is to decide on the source that’ll guide you. Choose a book or an online course that will teach you the basics and the first exercises. It is the same as if you wanted to master causal essay writing. In that case, you’d go to the source offering causal essay topics and start working from that point. Before creating your project, you need to get plenty of background information. Some good books are
- The Art of Computer Programming (Donald Knuth);
- Facts and Fallacies of Software Engineering (Robert Glass);
- A Practical Handbook of Software Construction (Steve McConnell).
You can also choose many free online courses focusing on the area that interests you, like website architecture or programming a mobile app.
Code as You Read
The best advice one can give is to put theory to practice. When you work with a book or course, try to do what you’ve just learned immediately. It doesn’t matter how basic it is; even if you can write only one sentence – do it.
This way, you will be less anxious about the process. It will also help learn and remember fundamentals. As an exercise, you can even try to write code on paper to see how easily you can remember the syntax and variables.
Exercise With Programming Games
The more you practice, the better you get at something. One can find many programming exercises online and try to do them. And there are more fun ways to learn – through games. There are lots of mobile apps of this kind, and there are also a couple of sites, such as
- CodeCombat – gets harder as you go;
- Codewars – jumps straight to coding and debugging.
Start Your Project
As soon as you’ve nailed all fundamentals and feel comfortable writing the code, it is time to start a project. It can be anything – from creating your on-screen calculator to a website.
A good idea would be to copy an existing website. For example, you can take the DanChaon website as a blueprint and try to build it on your own. It is reverse engineering that will help you understand how this process works and how to approach it.
Coding is a great skill to learn, and it is accessible to anyone. You’ll need some time, effort, and motivation to continue. Start small, learn the basics, and do not forget to put all the information to practice.
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius