Coding for beginners - how to get started

To the uninitiated, learning code can seem like a truly insurmountable challenge. Faced with lines and lines of random letters and symbols, you would be forgiven for thinking learning Chinese might have been a better choice. Fear not, learning code is not quite as daunting as it used to be, with a wide array - excuse the pun* - of resources to help you.

Benefits of learning code

There are many benefits of learning to code and it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to become a developer at the end of it. Of course, if you reach a good level of proficiency you can save money by building your own websites or programs using your new found skills. You will also be able to make changes to things on your site without having to consult external help.

Another incredibly useful benefit of learning at least some code is the ability to understand how a website or program is built and communicate more easily with the programmers you work alongside. From a position of knowledge rather than ignorance, you will have a better idea of whether tasks are possible and how long they might take.

Lastly, like any new skill, such as learning a language or driving a car, learning to code will push your brain to places it doesn’t usually go to. If you are a more creative, words-based kind of person, getting to grips with programming languages will take you out of your comfort zone thus improving your problem solving and logic skills. Even if you never use the code you’ve learnt, it’s still a worthwhile activity.

Where to learn

Convinced? If you decide to learn some code but don’t know where to start, there are many free resources on the internet which can help you. Here are some of the best:

Free Code camp

http://freecodecamp.com/ 
Free Code Camp takes you through a series of challenges and by the end it you can provide some code for non-profit organisations. If you get stuck there is a large community of fellow coders to help you out.

Code Academy

https://www.codecademy.com/ 
Code Academy are trying to ‘disrupt’ education by introducing new methods of learning and teaching. Code Academy offers a series of challenges to learn code, with a forum of people to help you along the way and a sandbox where you can try out your code.

Code.org

https://code.org/learn 
Code.org provides learning resources for a wide age range, from children to adults. You can create your own games or learn code whilst playing games! It also provides useful advice for teachers who need help teaching code to elementary school aged children.

Code School

https://www.codeschool.com/ 
Code School focus on teaching programming languages through fun and entertaining content. They combine videos and browser-based coding challenges to make learning fun. Like the others, there is also a ‘Support’ section if you run into problems.

Which languages to learn

This question could (and will) take up an entire blog post in itself and of course the answer is ‘it depends’. Most people recommend starting with JavaScript and certainly if you’re looking to work on websites, then knowing JavaScript and some HTML/CSS will serve you well. Besides that, Java, C#, Python, C and C++ are probably the most commonly used languages but it depends what you’re goal is. Mashable did a pretty concise article on this if you need more information.

So what are you waiting for?

So you’ve decided you want to learn code, you know which languages you’re going to start with and where you’re going to learn. So what are you waiting for? Go get started! And if you turn out to be a programming whizz, why not see if Techloop.io can find you a job?

*if you get the pun, then you’re doing well!