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Saturday, July 14, 2018

How to Learn To Code on Your Own

If you are new to it, learning to code may seem like an impossible venture. However, with so many great quality yet free resources available online today, learning how to code on your own has become much easier. In fact, in no time you will be able to start building your own functional prototypes. However, before you start doing any coding, you need to learn a few programming fundamentals. Below are some the steps you can follow in order to transition from a novice to a professional coder and programmer.


1. Learning How To Code

Conventionally, for you to be able to start coding on your computer, you may need to set up the right kind of environment for the same, and as a beginner, it is very easy to get stuck in the process. The best part is that there are various free interactive websites such as codecademy and freeCodeCamp, which have been designed to make your first steps in coding much easier. These have platforms where you can type in your code and check whether it is correct. 

However, if you are the kind of person who prefers learning from videos rather than reading too much, then you may want to consider video-based sites such as pluralsight and Lynda.com. These have comprehensive video tutorials that will guide you through every step of your coding journey. The sites have a range of free resources and free trials that you can use to your advantage. 

At this stage you will need to focus on learning common programming basics such as; 

a) Variables, 
b) Functions, 
c) Arrays or lists (depending on the language you are using)
d) For loops
e) If statement as well as 
f) Classes and objects

2. Building a Personal Project

Once you have mastered the basics, the second step would be to start building your own personal project. And the greatest huddle would be how to choose such a project. If you are stuck and do not know what to do from here, there are basically three criteria you could use in order to choose the kind of project you could work on, namely:

a) Your Personal Interests: 
You should choose something that you are interested in doing or building. For instance, if you are a fun of playing video games, you may want to go for a project that involves creating a video game. If you like photography, you can build a portfolio website where are able to upload and showcase your best photos and if you are into stock or bitcoin trading, you can build a system that analyses stock charts for you. 

b) Simplicity: 
Start with something that is much simpler to build.

c) Suitability: 
Build something that will be useful either to you or other users. This will give you extra motivation and also add to your resume especially if it becomes successful. 

3. Getting Help When Stuck

Coding and programming is not always a walk in the park and you are bound to get stuck at some point. When this happens, there are various ways you could get help. For instance, if you have encountered an error, you can just copy and paste it in your search engine such as Google, and you will be directed to a page where someone had the same error and how they resolved it. To be a bit more specific, you can put the error in quotation marks and Google will find you web pages with that exact error you have encountered.

You can also ask something about that specific error on “Stack overflow,” which is a website that is dedicated to programming related questions. You can also seek help from websites such as reddit, or language specific subreddits. Other options include Facebook groups such as the freeCodeCamp Earth, as well as language specific groups like Java groups. You may also want to consider getting involved in offline communities in order to get help and ideas in person. You can use platforms such as meetup.com or Facebook events to get such groups or related events near you. 

4. Applying Your Coding Skills

When learning coding on your own, you are likely to make a number of errors which you may not even notice. However, by finding a place where you can apply your coding skills, whether it is a job or an internship, you will be able to notice and correct such mistakes and ultimately learn much faster. You can get such opportunities by applying online; for instance through Linked, volunteering at your local communities and through networking; where you build personal connections. 

5. What About Going to a University or Coding Boot Camp? 

If you do not have a degree yet but are planning to get one in order to advance your passion with coding, then computer science will be the best course for you. The course will give you the fundamental knowledge you need for writing efficient codes. In addition, you will also have an edge over those people that did not take any coding courses at such levels especially when applying for programming-related jobs or internships that have such requirements. 

However, if you already have your first degree in any other field, then going back for a 4-year course just to learn programming might not be the best idea unless if it is a short-term program, that takes say two years. On the other hand, coding boot camps are basically private schools where you go to learn how to code for a much shorter period of just about 3-4 months. These have good support systems including connecting you to potential employers, but are a bit expensive. 

Final Verdict

Besides the above options, you can also learn to code by playing a range of interesting coding games that are readily available online today. All in all, leaning how to code will open up different opportunities that you could use to your own advantage. For instance, you may decide seek for employment as a programmer or even start your own software development business that will give you the flexibility and freedoms you have always wanted. You can also subscribe reliable YouTube channels that offer comprehensive information on coding for beginners.

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