We start a new year (and a new decade) very soon, and many people will resolve to develop new skills, find ways to become more valuable to their companies, or just learn something new that they’re interested in. In the tech field, many people are curious about coding. Understanding the world of code can unlock all sorts of opportunities in terms of career moves and side jobs, but it can also be a fun hobby that allows you to develop websites, games, software, and more. The trouble is that, with so many coding languages to choose from and so many ways to learn, where do you get started? Here are a few things to consider as you think about learning to code.
If you already know what kind of coding you’re interested in, for example, HTML and CSS, which are used for website design, there are dozens of books that can help. The benefit of books is that you can go at your own pace and collect a lot of knowledge. The trouble with some of these, however, is they’re not necessarily as hands on as some of the online options we’ll look at. Books may help you understand the fundamental processes and languages and act as a good reference manual, but without working with code to build something, it may be difficult to develop practical skills you can use. If you’re the type of person who learns from books and can apply what you read to building something on your own, this may be a great option.
Many different educational websites not only walk you through the fundamentals but also guide you through assignments that let you dive right into the code. This lets you see for yourself how little snippets of code become something much larger. Like with books, you can go at your own pace and take on new sections of a course when you’re ready. Since many are hands on, you’ll more quickly develop practical skills you can start putting to work. A few popular online options include:
Coding Boot Camps
Traditional Degree Programs
If you’re hoping to shift to a career path that focuses on software development and you wish to get a more formal degree, most universities, community colleges, and technical schools offer degrees in various areas of software development. Unlike a coding boot camp, completing a degree may take between 18 months and four years as opposed to just a few months, but it could result in a more thorough understanding of an area of focus. You could also gain more opportunities to work on projects, develop lasting relationships, and be involved in other areas of academia as well. If you’re interested in software development for the long haul, consider whether you need a formal degree to make it happen, or if you can just augment current skills with something quicker.
To be an effective coder, you’ll need to spend plenty of time coding for the knowledge to stick. The best way to grasp code is to learn the fundamentals, start coding, and keep coding. Decide what you want to do with code and work toward a tangible goal. For example,maybe you want to build a website from scratch or develop a new app. Having a specific goal to work toward will help energize your efforts. In no time at all, you’ll be crafting a new website, a mobile game, or even a game-changing app.
What coding projects are you hoping to work on?