The Joys of Coding: Getting Started
Where to Start
Getting started when learning to code can be tricky. Google has a surplus of information but doesn't always tell you where the starting line is. I spent hours and days sifting through computer programming data and sites, desperately searching for a place to start. Even when you finally find a good place to start it's hard to know what's relevant info and what's not. Never fear! I am here to help. I have discovered many different free forums and online academy's that will get you started with anything you need to know about coding. And if you have a cell phone, lets be honest who doesn't, there's an app for coding too!
There are many different areas to get a job when it comes to coding. You have the Front end Developer, Back End Developer, Full Stack and Web Developer. Just to name a few. But how do you know which one is right for you? Well if you're anything like me, you're just going to dive deep into the web and absorb as much coding information until you pass out and are more confused than ever about what you are trying to do.
When I started to get into coding I had no idea what I was looking at. I was foolish enough to think that it was going to be like some matrix stuff or whatever. But I jumped in anyways and actually found out some pretty cool stuff. For one, it was not easy. Very heavy problem solving and you really have to pay attention to detail. I learned that after I spent a week going back through my code trying to figure out why it wasn't working, only to find out I had put a parentheses where it didn't belong. But don't let that scare you! If puzzle solving is your thing then this is right up your alley. I personally love it.
Now I am no expert. I have been learning this on the side while taking care of a 4 year old and working a full time job. So after a year of learning code I've only covered the basics but I am still passionate about it!
Now the first place you want to check out is Codecademy. It is a treasure trove of coding goodies. It has almost every computer language you can think of and it's really hands on. It gives you a good taste of what it's really going to be like to code and it will help you discover what language is right for you! It's very extensive and at the end of each program you will take a final exam. They track your progress and you can always go back and review what you have already completed. Just like any other site, for a small fee you can upgrade your account and get online assistance from their experts. I just use forums and the like to help me when I am stumped, which I will get into later.
Next we have Khan. Khan is a great place for online learning in general. They have all sorts of resources available to the public. And as I am sure you have guessed they also have computer sciences. While they do cover many of the same things that Codecademy does, it's not as in depth. It's a great place to get started and find out what you like. At the end of the program you can meet professionals in the field and read their testimonials to get a taste of what it would be like to become a developer. That in itself is a great feature.
Databases and Resources
There are many databases that are available to the public to help you solve any coding questions you might have while attempting to develop your own code. Coding is difficult and definitely involves a ton of problem solving. Also patience. You have to be able take a step back every once in awhile and gather your bearings before solving a problem. These sites have forums to help you answer any question or problem you run into while writing your code. And trust me, you will get stuck and you will have questions. But never fear! The internet and it's plethora of readily available information is just at your finger tips. All you have to do is know where to look, which is where I come in.
Stack Exchange is an amazing platform for Q&A. You can get all of your questions answered here. It is a bit daunting at first trying to figure out how to find what your looking for. Once you dive in though you'll have a hard time tearing yourself away from this site. The abundance of information on here is addictive. They have newsletters, blogs, commonly asked questions, question of the day and a constantly updated list of recently asked questions. This site is easy to navigate and has no shortage of coding insights. I definitely recommend this site for any of your coding questions.
Github, Stack Overflow, and MySQL
Next we have Stack Overflow which is a Q&A platform as well. Although it does offer assistance to coding problems and the like they also offer a Documentation section that users can use to upload current projects or projects they want to start and get feedback and corrections on their programming through the community. Along with project assistance they offer a job board that lists current Developer and Programmer jobs in the Tech industry. This site is a must if you are really serious about turning your passion for coding into a career.
Then there is GitHub. GitHub is the project paradise. It also acts as an online resume for future employers. Do you want a future in Web Development? You have to have a GitHub profile. There you can create a repository, start a branch, comment on other users projects and work on your own. This site shows the world what you can do. You can post issues you are having with your current developments and ask users to help you. You can also post snippets, share code and other notes that you may have with the community. GitHub is essential to your future in Web Development. It's easy to use and extremely helpful.
MySQL is for developers. It has a ton of downloadable content to help you code and program. They have three repositories, a community server, cluster and much more. There is so much content to help developers further their skills that you can't pass it up. Granted, this is for when you are more advanced in your coding abilities but it can't hurt to check it out nonetheless. It will give you a great idea of where you're headed.
Go for it!
In the end it's all about motivation. You have to really be determined to get started. Coding can be difficult and sometimes frustrating but if you keep at it, you'll find it extremely rewarding. Especially after you have completed your first project! Once you see your first site, that you built from scratch, up and running you will never go back. Seeing your work functioning and on the web is such a thrill! Then you start to get new ideas and create new things.
I discovered an app through the Google Play store called Encode where you can learn simple coding material on the go. It's handy to have around just to get a taste of what it's like to code. There's not an app for that? Make one! The world is your's to take, all you have to do is write the code for it.
So go out there and chase your dreams. Create that app, develop that project and watch your creations improve the lives of others!