Alba Rodriguez

Learning coding is just a matter of time

If you feel lost or you don't know where to start, don't worry about it, you're not alone.

First steps

It's great to take some time to read other people's experiences, reach out to other developers, ask questions...

I remember I read The Complete Software Developer's Career Guide where John Sonmez analyses 3 different ways to get into Software Development: Uni, bootcamps, self-learning. This may be also helpful for your if you haven't decided yet. This is not a book you would read from cover to cover because it's targeted to different audiences, from beginners to experts, so if you decide to give it a go, just pick up what you think it's relevant for you.

Do some research on languages and its applications. If you're not sure which one you should start learning, it's okay. Just pick up one, learn it, practice it and build your first project. If you then need to learn another language, it will be easier. I would however recommend to avoid jumping from one language to another before you get a solid grasp of one.

I started learning HTML and CSS, and I then built a couple of static websites to put into practice what I had learnt. These are a great entry point for beginners.
A couple of months later, I decided to start learning JavaScript. I chose this combination of languages because I knew I wanted to pursue a career in web development but this will depend on your personal preference.

I also found really good tutorials on Youtube that helped me learn the fundamentals of programming, git and Github, but Youtube is just one of the thousands of resources available out there. We'll see some of these later.

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!

I built my first programme in JavaScript. It took me quite some time and it all was a rollercoaster. Some days I would just get stuck in a simple problem and I would find myself thinking: "Programming is not for me. What am I doing?! I will never be able to learn this". At that point, what works best for me is to have some rest and try the next day again. THAT'S MAGIC! Trust me, the next day everything is clearer.

I strongly recommend to start building things early in your learning journey. It's going to be hard, but with consistency you can achieve anything. Take your time, do your research, it's okay to google stuff. You'll never be supposed to know everything and google will become a good friend of yours.

Something I've learnt is that there's no need to reinvent the wheel. What I'm trying to do, it's been done already by someone else. Use this to your advantage. Learn from others.

I would also recommend to break the problem down into smaller tasks. Write down all the tasks you need to complete to resolve the problem in plain English and start tackle one by one. There's always time to refactor your code and make it prettier, but your first goal is to resolve the problem, so focus on this first.

It takes some time to get used to do this, but it's 100% worth it. It saves time and frustration, and it's helps to understand how the computer thinks.

Online resources

Today we're really lucky to have loads of free and good resources at hand:

YouTube: Classic! There are countless tutorials of anything you can imagine. If Python is your choice, Corey Schafer is great! If you're trying to learn JavaScript, Dev Ed is a good option.
Codecademy: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, Java and much more completely free!
Mozilla Developer Network: By developers for developers. You can find anything from tutorials to documentation.

Some great platforms to practice your coding skills are:
https://www.hackerrank.com/
https://www.codewars.com/
https://www.coderbyte.com/

Great reads

  • Code if you're interested in understanding how computer works.
  • Hello World is a great book if you want to get a great understanding of the role that algorithms play in our world.
  • Clean Code is a must-read if you're new to code. It will help you understand the difference between good and bad code, why writing good code is important and how to achieve it.

Learning how to code is just a matter of time, consistency and practice. Make it fun and don't give up!

Alba Rodríguez 2020