I want to learn to code online, where do I start?

Alright, so you’ve decided that you want to learn to code, but the question is: where does one start? There are so many different opinions online and when you Google this question, most of them say different things. I’m obviously not the expert when it comes to programming, as I am just learning it myself – but that’s also why I can help you, because I’m only a few steps ahead of you and it’s all fresh.

Step 1: You need to understand the way computers work

Where to start when you want to learn to code online

Even if your end goal isn’t becoming a programmer, you still should understand the way computers function as well as what they can and cannot do. Computers are powerful, but they have limitations. So before learning how to speak their language, you need to understand why they speak this way – what’s the logic behind it all.

At the end of the day, computer programming is all about logic, which partially why it gets its reputation of being dry. But once you master the algorithms, a new colourful world opens up to you, where your creativity can run wild to create amazing projects.

But back to the real world: again, to write even simple code, you need to understand computers. The best way to do so is (no, not Wikipedia – unless you’re a genius who doesn’t get scared or confused by unknown technical terminology) by enrolling in an online introductory computer science course.

There are plenty of them out there, you can search Coursera and edX, for example. The one that I did and that I would recommend is a Stanford Online course called Computer Science 101.

What’s the benefit? Well, you will learn about how computers work and some basic programming. I have to say, I can be a coward, but that course really helped me to understand what goes on inside a computer and to go forward with my coding education voluntarily 😉

Step 2: Start learning and writing

There is no better way to study than by practicing it straight away. Dry theory is never as efficient as hands-on learning, especially when it comes to programming.

I want to learn computer programming

At this point you may have lots of questions in your head, one of them being: “Which language should I learn?”. From my experience, programming languages aren’t like the languages that we are used to, such as English, Spanish or French. The best way to learn is by building up and working your through them – once you know a couple, you understand the logic (yes, it’s my favourite word for today) behind them and learning new ones is relatively easier.

Most of the courses that I have looked at started with HTML and then progressed into CSS, JavaScript, etc. And I think it’s done for a reason, because you first need to understand how websites work and what elements there are – to build upon that and make them interactive. You also learn more about tags and get used to the way you should write code.

There are lots of different courses that you can take, but the one that I’ve found the most practical is by Codecademy. In a few short courses, you can learn the basics of various languages (from HTML and CSS, to Ruby on Rails and Python) and build a few small projects yourself. It is really amazing and I will dedicate a blog post to it very soon.

Another course that I’m taking is Developer Bootcamp by Rob Dey, that I wrote about the other day. It’s awesome, it takes you through the basics and builds up, preparing you to freelance as a developer! How cool is that? Rob Dey is amazing at explaining things and he makes sure you understand the way Internet works before proceeding with complicated stuff. This course uses Codecademy courses as your homework, so I you start with this one, you will end up using both resources.

Step 3: Decide on what you want to do and go more indepth

I am not there myself yet, so I can only guess what one should do at this point. But I will let you know, so watch this space 😉

The reason why I’m recommending courses is because there is so much information out there, but when you’re just starting, it’s hard to connect the dots together. You almost need someone to take your hand and guide you through this experience until you know enough to walk on your own and won’t get sidetracked or discouraged.

I hope you’ve found this helpful! Let me know if you have any feedback/thoughts/suggestions, remember, it’s a learning experience for me too 🙂

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