If you want to learn how to code, taking your first steps into this huge universe might seem like a daunting, if not intimidating task.
Learning the art of programming can be a bit of a struggle for some. However, knowing some ways for making your learning process faster can be a huge help for you.
Whether you’re an adult looking to transition into the tech industry, a student looking to learn the latest language, or a hobbyist who just wants to understand how software and services work, all you need is a computer and internet access to start your programming journey.
Know The Why?
Take a few minutes (or a day) to think about the reasons—the real reasons—why you want to learn a programming language. Be honest with yourself. Are you trying to learn the barest minimum to score a promotion? Are you looking to make a big career change? Do you want to create the next greatest app?
Your answer can help determine which programming language(s) you should master, as well as what sort of commitment (in time and money) your goal may require.
On the other hand, if you’re a mid-career professional looking to transition into a tech career, a short-term coding boot camp might make more sense than going into debt for a second degree.
Start with the Basics
Once you figure out why you want to code, you can more easily pinpoint which programming language you should tackle. While there is no single “best” programming language to learn, some languages are more user-friendly than others. HTML and CSS are considered the easiest entry points into the coding world, but they are only really useful for developing basic websites.
A mistake many students commit in any learning process is to try and skip the basics or spend less time with the fundamentals of a subject, and jump to chapter 3 or 4 right away—ignoring or skimming over the first few chapters.
Try Online courses
If you want more control over your learning schedule (or don’t want to go at it alone), an online coding course might be a better option than an in-person coding boot camp. However, there are many different online classes that teach the same programming languages, and it can be hard to figure out which one is truly worth your time and money.
Sites like free code camp, Coursera, Udacity, CodeAcademy offer beginner-friendly courses.
Find a mentor
Seeking help from professionals while learning a new skill is never looked down upon. As with many professions, a fellow programmer will likely not feel any hitch in sharing their knowledge with you. In most cases, they have been in the same position as you find yourself to be in now, and help will be forthcoming.
You may need help with understanding where the bug in your program is or when getting stuck in a debugging effort. Like solving a Sudoku game or a crossword puzzle, the other person’s glance might go straight to the point, which might have escaped your attention all day long.
Practice with personal projects
No matter how many certificates and coding workshops you complete, or how many programming languages you learn, the proof of your coding skills will be in your programming project. While your personal project doesn’t have to be as ambitious as creating the next Google Maps, it should be something you’d want to work on 24/7 to constantly improve and expand its scope.
Start small, but think big. Your project should involve skills you currently have in your toolbox, but you should also have a plan for future features and skills you’d need to turn that vision into reality.
Celebrate small wins
Coding is all in the details, which is why you need to “celebrate small victories,”. It takes practice to make each element work on its own, as well as constant testing to ensure each line of code will work with all the rest—without errors. If you don’t do seemingly minor things right like closing an HTML tag, you’d be stuck debugging a simple syntax error rather than writing more impressive and complex code.
Google your error messages
This is our best piece of coding advice: If you can’t figure out why your code is broken; you can always look for solutions online. You’re probably not the first person to make your mistake, after all, and someone on the internet has surely already found a solution to your issue. Just “copy and paste” your error message into Google (or your preferred search engine), add a pair of quotation marks around the entire phrase so that you’re not just searching for keywords, then hit “Enter.” Hopefully, this little trick will lead you to the correct answer.
Attend coding boot camps or meetups
Coding boot camps can be controversial: They’ll give you a quick introduction and experience to lots of skills, but they might not be your golden ticket to a brand-new Google job.
Multiple programming languages can help you solve the same programming problem. However, you need to select a language that you feel is relevant to perform your task. If you decide that a language does not suit your business requirement, you can always move on to a new language.
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