Confused about where you should start your coding journey? This brief introduction will tell you everything you need to know!
So, you’ve decided to start a personal journey and you want to learn how to code. It’s a commendable goal! The problem, at least for most beginners, is that there’s so much information, and there are so many guides and tutorials, it can be challenging deciding where to start.
The average journey of coding is not straightforward.
While you should always begin with the basics of coding, to learn the fundamentals and the general concepts behind writing syntax, there are some things you should be made aware of first.
Let’s explore those need-to-know concepts before we move on to the good stuff!
Coding is Not Glamorous or Fun, but It is Rewarding
Coding, much like traditional writing, is not inherently exciting or fun. That does not mean you can’t enjoy the process or experience, but it’s not going to be for everyone.
Whether you’re developing a game, building a website, or working on a mobile app, coding is a drawn-out and tedious process and it’s just one stage of development. When you write a novel, you pen the draft, then you go through a grueling editing process, then you have to submit the manuscript. If it’s accepted by a literary agent or publisher, they might also request more edits before it’s pushed through the publication pipeline. It can take a long time, it requires a lot of invested effort, and it’s not always a satisfying process. The same is true of most coding projects, especially large ones.
This is something to keep in mind before you start your coding journey. It’s not meant to scare you or turn anyone away, but it should help taper expectations, especially if you have no prior experience programming or working with code.
Coding requires work, like many other projects or tasks. At times you may need a little coding motivation to get started or to power through a difficult task. Learning to code also takes time, and you will make many mistakes along the way.
Why Do You Want to Learn to Code?
As the saying goes, the ends justify the means. But what are the means? What are you hoping to achieve?
Before you begin learning to code, you must think about why you’re doing it? Your goals can change, so don’t be afraid that everything is set in stone. However, you must have some purpose behind your actions. This also helps when selecting the lessons or guides you follow. Some are more relevant to building websites, others to building games, and so on. If you know what your end goal is, you know which courses, guides, or channels to focus on.
Why do you want to learn to code? What are you hoping to do with the knowledge and skills you gain?
Here are some examples:
- Building a website
- Developing a mobile app or game
- Creating video games
- Developing and maintaining software
- Working with APIs
- Creating modern devices like IoT and smart home gadgets
- Building smart apps for wearables and other platforms
Of course, there are many more activities that require code, and this is not an exhaustive list.
Where to Start Your Coding Journey
You’re probably thinking: “How do I start a coding journey, then?”
While you might want to dive right in and start writing your ‘Hello World’ sample, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the languages, the process, and the tools first.
What Will You Need?
Fortunately, and depending on the language you want to use, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get started. If you’re working with HTML (related: HTML tutorial) or CSS, for example, you can use a notepad or text editing app to write your code — which you should already have access to in your preferred operating system.
Most languages require an IDE or integrated development environment. This is essentially a piece of software, or tool, for building applications and related components. An IDE merges a graphical user interface (GUI) with more traditional tools, like text-based editors. It also includes tools to test and build the application, such as a compiler or debugger. Most, but not all, IDEs are free and come as part of the primary development package for languages and frameworks.
Before choosing a language, you should consider what you’ll be building, and that will help you decide the best route. Then, you’ll want to download and install the necessary development package(s), whether that’s an IDE or something else.
Which Language Should I Choose?
For the most part, it can be easy to move from one programming language to another, once you’ve learned the basics. While not all syntax or commands are identical, it’s a lot like learning an instrument, once you know how to play one, you can figure out another pretty easily.
That doesn’t mean you should expect or plan to swap languages, but it’s possible to do so. What’s more, knowing that, you can see your decisions are not necessarily set in stone. It makes the decision a lot less intimidating.
That is why you should decide before choosing a language what you want to do. If you know you want to make games, the decision will be much easier and you’ll know where to start. Don’t worry if you have no idea, there are still some excellent guides that will walk you through the coding journey.
Where Should You Start Your Coding Journey?
Made it this far and ready to dive in and start your coding journey? It’s time to choose where you want to learn, and how. There are lots of places to learn free coding advice.
Where Do I Start to Learn to Code?
Think about what works best for you. If you learn best through hands-on activities, for example, then you’ll want to look at interactive boot camps and courses. Maybe you’re better off in a traditional educational environment? Then go with a University course or an online course from somewhere like Udemy, Coursera, or Codecademy. If you’re a self-starter, then work your way through an online guide.
There are many resources at your disposal, you just need to know where to look, and where you want to go!
Keep on coding!
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