If you haven’t already heard, coding is currently considered the most valuable skill. Every piece of technology we use is built on and powered by a programming language. When you learn to code, your skills are applicable in a wide variety of industries, giving you versatility on the job market. Learning to code can offer job security and opportunities for years to come. Many job applicants are given the nod due to having coding skills that another applicant might lack.
For instance, just as easily as you could work at a tech company like IBM, those same skills could be applicable in the automotive or healthcare industry as a software engineer. Whether you’re interested in cryptography and encryption or software development, options are limitless.
“Furthermore, knowing how to code affords you with a deeper level of security—coding jobs are not only here to stay, but their field is growing”, says the experts at encryption and data security firm Proofpoint.
But not everyone starts learning code at a young age. No matter where you are in your professional life, you can teach yourself to code with dedication and patience. Here are some tips for achieving this:
Choose the Right Language
Learning any skill from the beginning can be frustrating, so it helps to have a goal in mind before you start learning to code. For instance, are you aiming to build a mobile application, or do you want to learn how to create a website from scratch? Knowing what your end goal is will help steer you in the right direction, and give you the drive you need to keep pushing forward.
For example, if your goal was to build web applications, you might take Python courses. Python is one of many programming languages, and because it’s open-source, you’re able to cut your costs as a developer significantly and benefit from the added flexibility. Major programs, like Spotify and Instagram, are built with Python. Another popular programming language is Ruby on Rails, which is good for mobile applications. The Basecamp and Airbnb apps are both built with this programming language.
Take an Online Course
Now that you’ve gone ahead and decided on a goal and a programming language to suit it, it’s time to get to work. If you don’t have the time or schedule to take an in-person course, you’re in luck: there are plenty of online programming classes. Online courses are also ideal for the programming enthusiast that’s on a tight budget.
If this is the case, you can start by researching free programming tutorials on platforms like YouTube and Udemy. Couple this with free online ebooks, and you’ve got yourself a solid starting point. Then, you can move forward with a paid online class that meets your needs. Many of these classes are priced favorably, and you can always take classes in smaller chunks to save money. A strategy that includes affordable classes, self-education, and scheduled time to practice will yield the best results.
Sign Up for a Coding Program
If you’re someone who needs face-to-face interaction, you might want to dedicate some time to an in-person coding program. Local community colleges and universities likely have computer science and programming courses you can benefit from. Check out nearby college websites to learn more about what courses are currently available.
If you would rather attend a hyper-focused face-to-face program, you might have to travel, but it could be worth your while. For example, General Assembly offers immersive coding classes in major cities and even has free prep courses to give you an idea of how their programming boot camps work. If you’re looking to secure a job with your coding skills, these types of classes also assist with job placement.
And there are plenty more coding programs and boot camps, too. Le Wagon is an institution that strives to educate entrepreneurs on coding over the course of a 9-week program. With schools in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bali, Berlin, and much more, you can combine travel and education with ease. Then there’s the App Academy, with online courses and physical locations in New York City and San Francisco. Their goal is to teach software engineering in 12 weeks, and they offer a deferred tuition program that allows participants to pay for their classes after they land their first job out upon graduation.
Have Fun With Online Games
Gamification is the process of adding gaming elements to non-game contexts. It’s the process of making tedious actions seem even more fun. Today, there are plenty of ways to apply your coding knowledge and bring your code to life by playing online games. With Codingame, you write your own code to crack puzzles and challenges.
With Shenzhen I/O, you develop circuits and assembly code for those circuits to run on. And with RoboCode, code your own robots to defeat enemies. While these games don’t teach you everything you need to know to program, say, a mobile application, it’s a great way to have fun and learn basic to intermediate skills. Many wannabe programmers use these games as a starting point and then branch out from there. The ability to have fun while learning basic to intermediate skills can allow a person to prep themselves for a more advanced course.
Get Involved In Local Meetups
If you head over to Meetup.com and search for programming meetups in your area, chances are you’ll come across a few events. Learning to code on your own—especially if you’re taking online courses—can feel like an isolating journey. By attending meetups, you can meet like-minded people of all skill levels. Not only will you be able to cultivate a community, but you’ll also have the added support and ability to learn from others. These types of communities are open-minded and happy to have newbies join the group. A project incorporating a few coders as a side project can be the perfect opportunity to watch other coders and have them critique your work.
Coding can change your life for the better by offering immense opportunities. New opportunities for employment or increased job security due to learning these new skills can change your professional life forever. Taking the time to put in the work combined with patience will allow you to become the best coder possible. Frequently becoming overly frustrated when encountering an obstacle does not bode well for a person who wants to code as a profession. Learn to code to see what doors open due to this immensely valuable skill.