Coding for Beginners: Top Tips To Get You Started

The job market has a serious shortage of developers right now. It’s estimated that by 2021 there will be a shortage of more than a million software developers.

It sounds bleak, but the upside for you is that there has never been a better time to learn to code! It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been thinking about it for a while or you’re tempted in by the perks of the job. Our article can help you figure out coding for beginners and get you started. 

What Is Coding?

Most of us would say it’s the act of writing a particular code, but there’s a bit more depth to it than that. In a sense, coding is the language used to translate instructions between people and machines.

Coding refers to a broad variety of computer programming languages, which we’ll go into more depth on below. The purpose of code is to tell computers and machines what we want them to do, or what actions to perform.

Code can be used to build websites, apps, programs, operating systems, games, and more. This is why there’s such a wide variety in coding languages, as languages are used for different purposes of coding. 

For example, a backend web developer would use code to create the functionality of a website, but they would use a very different coding language to those working on space vehicles at NASA. Although they’re very different, they’re both still coding. 

This is why you need to figure out what type of coding job you want to do before anything else. This will dictate the coding language you learn, and guide you through your learning process. 

Why Should I Learn to Code? 

If the job shortage statistic we opened the article with wasn’t enough of a hint that it’s an employees market, then maybe another statistic will help. The average pay for a software developer is $103,620. For senior roles, you can expect this to go much higher. 

The shortfall of candidates also means there’s great job security as well. The technology sector is renowned for great perks like remote working and flexible hours as well.

Coding for Beginners

Before you even begin learning, you need to figure out a few things:

  • What language(s) you’re learning?
  • How much time are you dedicating to learning?
  • What resources will you use?
  • How much money are you investing?

Use these questions to build a roadmap of sorts to clarify your exact learning journey. Coding is an extremely steep learning curve, partially due to the fact it isn’t generally taught in schools. Your roadmap can help you stay focused on your exact goals and avoid being tempted off by other courses or languages. 

What Coding Language to Learn? 

Writing an exhaustive list of coding languages could take hours to read, as there are more than 700 of them! Fortunately, there are more commonly used languages. We’ll go through the most popular below.

Java

Java is probably the most widely used programming language today. It’s versatile and is used for a wide variety of things like apps, backend web development, and even smart TV devices. Comparatively to some other coding languages, it is quite easy to learn.

This is because it reads almost like English, instead of binary. Because it’s so widely used, it also means there is a large number of jobs for coders who know Java.

Python

Another widely used coding language is Python. Like Java, it’s very versatile. It’s used for everything from artificial intelligence and machine learning through to data analysis programs for academics. 

It’s also relatively straightforward to learn because the code is very readable. 

HTML

The grandfather of the internet as we know it today, HTML is the original front-end web development code. If you want a career in front-end web development then HTML is the code for you.

It’s used to mark up text so computers can read it. It’s a very simple language to learn, and a great place to start for a career in front-end web development. 

CSS

A close relative to HTML, CSS is used pretty much exclusively with HTML. Its primary function is usually to format and style content on webpages. When used in combination, you can create great looking sites, which is highly in demand from employers. 

JavaScript

Similar to Java only in name and the fact that it is an object-orientated language. JavaScript is an increasingly popular coding language that is in widespread use. 

Originally created for front end web development, JavaScript is becoming more used for other purposes like back end development and app development thanks to JavaScript libraries.

A JavaScript Library is a library of pre-written code that makes developing other JavaScript applications easier. Once you’ve mastered the basics of Javascript you can check out more advanced libraries like django web app. 

Ruby

Also on a rise in popularity, Ruby is useful for full-stack web development. It’s additionally used increasingly on web applications. It’s relatively easy to learn and a powerful tool once mastered. 

PHP

PHP is the heart of sites like WordPress and Facebook. It’s an open-source language, so similar to JavaScript, there’s a ton of existing pre-built modules out there. PHP coding is embedded within HTML, which makes it easier to master overall.

Choosing the Right Resources

Once you’ve picked a language, you need to pick the right way to learn for you. We would suggest a combination of:

  • An online course
  • A code editor
  • An online community

There are loads of online courses available on coding for beginners. Covering every coding language imaginable, some of these are free and some paid.

As well as your online course, you’ll need a code editor. While often you won’t initially have to do this on a course, it’s good practice to start now. Most languages have code editors available to download, or simple languages like HTML can be written into a simple text document. 

A little known secret? Mastering coding isn’t really mastering, sometimes things won’t work and you’ll have no idea why. This is why a huge amount of online coding communities exist.

From novices to experts, online communities are a great place to get support with queries and conundrums.

Ready, Set, Code

The most important thing to remember is that coding is a steep learning curve. Many of those starting coding for beginners become disheartened due to the complexity of it. But keep trying and don’t give up!

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