One thing I always wish I would have paid more attention to when I was younger was coding. I believe my generation is just the start of the potential batch of humans that become masters of writing code and making apps that do random things. My problem is I feel like I’m a bit behind the curve because I didn’t pay as much attention to it nor did I have a solid path to learn code in the first place…
There’s a huge demand for software developers. A lot of these developers went to school for computer science and built up the foundations necessary to be successful in that career. While I’m decent—I could hold my own if I was writing something with HTML/CSS, Python, or PowerShell—I think I would be even better if I had paid more attention. When I was younger, I didn’t care so much about stuff like that. I wasn’t interested in the future. I was interested in girls and just making it through high school. If I had really kept my nose in the books so to speak, I could have gone to a good school and today I would have a CS degree and likely be pretty good in software development.
I know what you’re thinking. Just because I didn’t get a degree doesn’t mean I can’t excel at programming. You’re right. That’s why I’m good with the above languages I cited. I used to be good with PHP, too, but that was before high school and those brain cells rusted out; a lot has changed with PHP but it’s not foreign to me. I use WordPress every day and I can handle my own when reading and understanding code.
Where to Learn
There are a ton of resources out there to learn to code, some online and others in person. Here’s a good list from what I’ve discovered and personally think are fantastic:
There are a lot more out there, I’m sure, but these are just the ones I’m familiar with. Not all services and locations will offer up the same courses, but I think there’s a good mix of online and in-person resources to get anyone to a good place to start making their own apps.
Once you have a solid foundation, it’s time to experiment and start making stuff. You’re at the point where you won’t get a high-paying software development job just yet, but it’s coming. Here are some ideas and idea lists to get you started:
- 5 Project Ideas To Help You Learn Programming Faster (Make Use Of)
- Ideas for Coding Projects (Code Conquest)
- 1500+ Coding Project Ideas (Linux Training Academy)
- Summer Coding Ideas for 2014 (Fedora Project)
- List of Beginner Projects (Github)
- Five Crucial Projects for Beginners (DaniWeb)
I’ve combed through a lot of these resources myself and have used some of the earlier resources I listed for learning to code. I personally believe that if you have the time and resources to learn in-person, you’ll have a much better time. If you don’t, please don’t fret. You might be surprised by how much you can learn online. If you ever get stuck, the very popular Q&A site for whatever StackExchange has great sub-sites for various programming languages but their biggest is StackOverflow. You’ll find an answer there, I’d almost guarantee it. Your problem probably isn’t unique if you’re working on something that may have been done before.
I might have regrets about not learning to code sooner, but it’s also very much not too late to learn. With the amount of free resources, there’s no excuse.
There’s an iPad app called Code Academy – Hour of Code that also provides great resources on the basics of development and programming. If you have an iPad and want to learn the fundaments in an hour a day, give it a look. It’s free so you have nothing to lose and no excuse not to do it.