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How to Start Coding: Your Step by Step Guide

Macbook for coding

The average program developer makes just over $86,000 a year. That’s a huge incentive to learn how to start coding.

There are a lot of obstacles in your way, though. Learning how to code isn’t that far removed from learning another language. You need to be so precise, it can be intimidating.

You don’t need to enroll in a brand-new school and take on student loan debt to learn how to code. You just need to follow the steps in this article.

Read on to learn what they are and how you can get started coding.

1. Coding goals

Why do you want to learn how to code? Do you want to make a million dollars from an app? Maybe you want to have a job that is secure and pays well.

No matter what your reason is, you need to understand why you’re going to devote hours to learning how to code. This is an important step because your reason will drive your decisions around the other steps to learn how to code.

Your coding goals influence who you choose as a mentor and your programming language.

2. Pick Your First Language

What programming language do you want to learn first? That answer should reflect your goals.

Let’s say that your goal is to program video games. In that case, C++, Java, and C#. C++ is used by most of the major game developers, but C# is easier to learn first.

What if you want to develop websites? PHP, CSS, JavaScript, and HTML are the ones you must learn. These are the programming languages behind WordPress, which is the system behind 75 million websites.

In that case, where do you begin? HTML is the easiest to learn first. Then move on to CSS, PHP, and JavaScript. As you learn each language, you’ll be able to tell how each one is responsible for different functions within WordPress. 

3. Learn From the Best

Learning to code is like learning how to paint. The resource that you use determines your coding style and your end result.

You could watch a couple of videos online from someone who says they’re an expert, but they produce horrible products. Your code then turns out to be clunky and hard to work with.

That’s why you have to learn how to code from several different resources. Codecademy offers free online classes for people who want to learn HTML, Python, and a few other languages.

There are online communities that are full of developers seeking to improve their code. Check out GitHub, which has a great resource center for beginners. Stack Overflow is another type of community for developers.

You can scan Reddit for coding tips and tricks, and insights, too.

As you’re getting involved in the coding communities online, you can ask developers to see if anyone would mentor you as you learn.

4. Get the Right Tools

Like a painter or a sculptor, you have to have the right tools to work with so you can produce your best work. Is your current computer up to the task to handle programming?

You’ll need to figure out if you want to program in a Mac environment or Windows environment. Ask yourself if you prefer to code on a desktop or laptop computer.

You may decide that you want to get a Macbook for coding as opposed to a Windows laptop.

You’ll need to download software to help you code. Code editors have features that let you share your work, debug, and spot errors in your code.

At the very least, you’ll want to get Notepad ++. Atom is another popular code editor that is easy for beginners to work with.

5. Create a Study Schedule

Learning to code is likely to be a priority, but it can easily get put on the back burner if you have too many other things going on.

How can you create a schedule and stick to it? You can find a couple of hours in your schedule where your mind is fresh and you can focus. Set aside a chunk of time each day and don’t schedule anything over it. That’s your time.

Another thing you can do is find other people learning how to code and create co-working sessions. That gives you accountability, too.

6. Turn an Idea Into Reality

The whole point of coding is to create something. Now is the time to work on some personal projects to bring to life.

That’s the best way to learn how to code. You can take a project from an idea, to design, to development, to a completed product.

Who knows, you might have a viable business on your hands when you’re done.

7. Adopt the Coding Mindset

Coding is so much more than lines of text. It’s very much an art and science. That’s because there is a lot of room for creativity, and you need to be exact in how you bring your vision to life.

You also need to treat coding like a craft. It’s something that you constantly seek to improve. If you have that approach to coding, you will be a huge success.

Learn How to Start Coding Today

Are you ready to build a million-dollar app? You might not do that, but you’ll have the skillset to do that when you learn how to start coding.

The tips in this article showed you all of the steps that you need to take. You might be surprised to learn that not all of them are about pouring yourself over lines and lines of code.

You need to have the right mindset, understand why you want to code and what you want to get out of it. You also want to become part of the coding community by finding mentors.

For more coding tips, check out the Web Design and Development of this site. 

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