Coding is fun, coding is freedom, coding is money! We all know the drill. Creating your own websites, games, opening new job opportunities, working flexibly and remotely – these are only a few perks of learning how to code.
The whole IT industry is worth $5.2 trillion (2020), hence it doesn’t come as a surprise that more and more people want to be a part of it. There are more than 21 million software developers out there, yet the world still faces a shortage.
On PitchMe, the skill-orientated job searching platform, the most wanted positions require coding knowledge. Getting started with coding can be often the hardest part of it all. If you are considering learning to code, you are probably wondering what language to start with, whether you need a University degree or just a good textbook? Is it easy to get a job and where to look for it? How much experience is enough to start shifting your career into something more code-orientated?
This is why we decided to create this blog that will introduce you to some basics of how to get into coding. What to get right and what options of learning to consider are all included below so don’t wait up and read up!
Learning to code – find your “WHY?”
The best first step on the coding ladder is usually the same as for every professional development. You already established that you want to learn to code, now specify why exactly it interests you. Do you have a project in mind or a certain profession? Someone said you might be good at it? Are you looking for a new hobby or a new career? These answers will be crucial in the next step, which is choosing the coding language!
Find the right programming language
Once you have your “why?” you can start looking for the “how?”. Do you want to code a game? Code a website? Do you want to be a front end developer or data scientist? These are the basics that are good to know at the beginning of your journey as they will allow you to find the perfect coding language to start with.
Once you have your goal, you can simply search on google which coding language is recommended for data scientists or game creators. Future Learn gives a fantastic introduction to coding languages such as Python, Java and others:
An object-orientated language, Python is useful for a range of different application types, including web development, scientific computing, the financial industry, and education.
Big corporations such as Google, Facebook, and Instagram are among the many users of Python. The language scores well in popularity indexes and the code produced is easy to read and flexible. Django, the high-level Python Web framework, also enables rapid development and offers a clean, pragmatic design.
However, Python is generally not used for mobile platforms and web browsers and can have design restrictions due to the fact that it requires more testing than other languages.
Another object-orientated language, Java, is billed as the most reliable programming language within the developer community. Despite being over 20 years old, it’s still leading the pack within the development of Android mobile apps and the enterprise back-end market.
As well as apps, Java can be seen in the programming of Wikipedia search, the Mars rover controller and the computer game Minecraft. Though it’s well-established, it does use more complex and verbose code, which can mean it can be harder to understand.
A newer addition to the scene, C++, is the go-to language for developing embedded software, PC or console games, and IoT devices. Considered a multi-paradigm coding language, it can be used for procedural, object-oriented, or functional programming, and is scalable for both small and large scale sets of data.
As it’s very fast, it’s been used for many high-profile projects including Microsoft Office, NASA and Google Chrome, though it can have security issues due to a lack of friend functions, and it doesn’t support built-in threads which can make it a more difficult language to learn.
It’s versatile, fast, can be inserted into any web page, and can be used to write entire server codes. However, it can be overwhelmingly complex and can be exploited for malicious purposes via bugs, oversights, and errors.
The most recent programming language to the marketplace, Ruby, is popular among start-ups, web applications, and enterprise solutions due to its full-stack framework, Ruby on Rails.
Used by companies including Airbnb, Basecamp and FutureLearn, it’s also simple to use due to the plethora of applications and tools available to its users.
However, because of this, it can sometimes be slow and is ultimately not the most flexible of languages in the application.
Where does the learning coding begin?
Now it’s time to learn! But how? This is where people often become doubtful. Do I have to go to University? Are the youtube videos enough? Should I find a mentor? What textbooks are the best? The truth is, there are no right or wrong answers here. Learning methods and resources will vary depending on your personal preferences and the accessibility of those options. Not everyone can spare a few years and thousands of pounds to go to University!
Have a think about your past learning experiences at school and in private life. Did you enjoy interactive games more than books? Maybe you use to skip classes to learn the material at home? Were you working in groups more efficiently? Based on that you might already get a clue about your learning method. If not, consider taking a learning style test like the one on Education Planner or Arden. Below we will go through some learning options!
Pick a programming course
Online courses are an accessible and usually affordable way of learning new skills. At PitchMe we are all about the skills so we do have quite a few courses to recommend to you! When you create a profile, our clever AI technology extracts your skills from your current online presence. Given a list and chart of your hard and soft skills, we can match you with relevant upskilling courses.
At PitchMe, we wanted to contribute to making upskilling more accessible and affordable so all the courses can be accessed directly on our platform and completely free of charge. In fact, all our services are free of charge – registration, skill assessment, applying for jobs and upskilling.
The SmartMe profile shows you where you’re heading, not just where you’ve been. We recommend education courses to fill up your skill gaps. Find opportunities to broaden your knowledge to change your career! On our platform, we offer almost 100 different courses. Depending on your experience, we will match you with one of them. You can see the course suggestions on the right of your dashboard, right under your profile score graph.
What coding related courses do we recommend?
Register on PitchMe and upskill!
Get into coding with YouTube
If you are unsure about the “whole coding idea” and do not feel ready to commit to a course yet, try watching some videos online. Sometimes it can be easier to just watch someone showing you “how it’s done”. You can find all kinds of educational videos about nearly any coding-related topic nowadays: ex-Googlers sharing solutions on coding interviews, YouTubers live streaming their coding marathons, and even programming veterans showing you how to troubleshoot a specific error in any language you want.
If you don’t know where to start, check out Treehouse, the official YouTube channel of the Team Treehouse. Team Treehouse is a learning resource established with the mission of providing affordable education in technology. Teamtreehouse offers lessons on numerous topics including coding in Python and C#. The videos are delivered in a casual and easy-to-understand style by a variety of presenters.
If you need some more YouTube coding inspirations, check out the Top List by Learn To Code With Me!
Find your programming community
Finding the right community can be a crucial step to really getting into coding. Finding a lot of people who think alike and are helpful with your tasks couldn’t be more motivating. If you have a certain career or even just programming language in mind, you can start searching for specific communities. It’s best to start with Facebook groups but LinkedIn groups, Reddit or Quora can be places where you find your real friends in code.
Maybe you can find some communities outside the internet too? Try a local college or a community centre. Research coding events in your city like hackathons or developer fairs.
Get to know the essential tools
Best software development tools are heavily in demand. The software industry is among the largest and fastest-growing industries out there.
Like the majority of tech professions, developers also have a long list of tools that are essential. Some of them are a must-know, but a lot of them will simply make your life easier. They allow to code better, quicker or with fewer bugs. Here is a list of some of the essential tools:
- Git, version control and source repository
- SQL for database interaction
- Docker, a container
- Kubernetes, conteiner orchastration
- Postman, for API testing
- AWS, cloud platform
- Github, software development platform
- Gleek, data modeling tool
- Codepen, share code related issues, good for front end developers
- Buddy, another software development tool for web developers. The tool makes use of delivery pipelines to deploy, test, and build software
- Cloud9 IDE for issues with programming languages
- Atom a well-recognized text-editor that’s surprisingly free to use
- Bootstrap a framework that’s responsive and perfect for use with CSS, JS, and HTML
- HTML5 Builder makes it easy to develop cross-platform apps and is pretty good when it comes to collaboration
- Azure great for creating web apps
- Axure makes it easy to produce documentation, prototypes, and wireframes
Develop projects and solve problems
No matter how many certificates and coding workshops you complete, or how many programming languages you learn, the proof of your coding skills will be in your programming project. While your personal project doesn’t have to be as ambitious as creating the next Google Maps, it should be something you’d want to work on 24/7 to constantly improve and expand its scope.
Start small, but think big. Your project should involve skills you currently have in your toolbox, but you should also have a plan for future features and skills you’d need to turn that vision into reality. Without applying your coding skills in a few projects, you wouldn’t even be considered for professional coding gigs—so start planning and practising.
If you don’t have a project in mind yet, don’t worry! A lot of coding courses include a project or a few, check out the courses above to see what options are there.
Consider a coding mentor
You might be able to find some helpful online mentors through GitHub or meet other veteran developers at a local coding Meetup event or hackathon. Once you gain some experience with programming, you might be able to answer other peoples’ questions, or even teach what you’ve learned to newbies—a great test to see if you really know your stuff.
Build a portfolio
Before you land an interview for your dream job as a software engineer or junior developer at a top tech firm or emerging startup, you’ll need to get noticed. If you’re going to stand out from the pack, an impressive programmer portfolio isn’t an option—it’s essential. A programmer portfolio is more than a simple resume. In essence, it is a showcase that proves that you can do what you talk about in your resume.
To showcase your projects you can build your own website but there are also cheaper options available. Check out these platforms that will allow you to create a professional developer portfolio:
- Github Pages
- Bootstrap – good for CSS, quick and simple portfolios
- Dribbble, Behance and Adobe – great platforms for designers portfolios, visual projects etc.
- PitchMe – when creating a profile on our platform, you can add links to your projects and our AI technology builds a showcase in the portfolio section of your SmartMe profile!
Get into coding? Just do it!
At PitchMe we really hope this simple guide motivated you to pursue your coding dreams! It will be a long but exciting journey! For more guides, tools and career advice for coders and developers follow us on social media or join our email newsletter! Check out the buttons below!
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