From smartphones and tablets to TVs and self-driving cars, the tech industry is booming like never before. And we don’t expect that trend to change any time soon, which means that talented coders are highly sought-after in every major industry. If you learn how to write code in today’s tech-oriented world, you can expect a top compensation package and excellent career prospects.
To get started, you’ll need determination, patience, and a passion for building innovative tech solutions. There are no shortcuts here, and learning a new programming language can be tough. But it pays off in the form of a long-term career that promises great job security and high salaries.
It’s important that you understand what’s involved in terms of your time and commitment. What skills do you need, and which programming languages should you learn? We'll take you through everything you need to know to start learning to code, and turn your web development skills into a career you love.
What is Coding?
Coding (also known as computer programming or software engineering) is the process of instructing computers to perform useful tasks.
Besides advanced artificial intelligence, computers generally can’t think for themselves. They must always be told what to do or how to behave. This is where coding comes in.
Any software application you use follows computer code. From business software like word processors, spreadsheets and databases, to mobile applications and video games, you interact with code multiple times a day. Even microwaves, smart watches and cars function correctly thanks to code.
Clearly, writing accurate code that functions the way it’s supposed to is an incredibly useful skill. Our world operates on computer code, and poorly written code can have immense, sometimes disastrous, outcomes.
What Skills Do You Need To Learn Coding?
- Attention to Detail
Programming languages follow a strict set of rules (or syntax). If your code doesn’t match the correct syntax, the computer won’t understand your instructions and the program will crash.
In some cases, missing just one comma in 1000 lines of code will create a bug. You need to have an eye for detail and be able to quickly bug-fix typos and syntax errors that inevitably occur.
2. Abstract Thinking
People often question whether computer programming is an art or a science. In reality, it’s a bit of both. Not only must you solve difficult mathematical problems, but you must also think outside the box and structure your code using objects and abstract classes.
Coding is a very creative process and there are many different ways to solve the same problem. You often need to step away from the low-level mechanics and find solutions on a higher level.
3. Good Memory
Coders tackle new challenges every single day. The ability to retain information and call on past experience will be hugely beneficial when working as a programmer.
There is a steep learning curve for any new coder. You may feel frustrated at times, especially if your code keeps giving you errors. Even the most experienced programmers can spend hours fixing bugs.
Patience is extremely important. As long as you make progress each and every day, you will eventually succeed.
5. Logical Thinking
Writing code requires logical and analytical thinking. You need to make decisions based on strong reasoning.
If you’re not a natural in this department, don’t worry. There are ways you can improve. For example, Dcoder is a tool that provides challenges to help you develop your skills in this area.
In computer programming, there are often multiple ways to solve the same problem. Software engineers are tasked with not just accomplishing a task, but figuring out the best, most streamlined way to execute that task. That requires creative thinking and an innovative approach to problem-solving.
Which Coding Languages Should I Learn?
Every new programmer asks themselves this question, and there's no straightforward answer.
High-level languages are generally easier to learn than low-level machine code. They provide a greater level of abstraction from the inner workings of a computer and many tasks are handled automatically.
For example in high-level languages, you don’t need to worry about memory allocation or garbage collection. This is the process of freeing up memory that is no longer used by the code. In a low-level language such as Assembly, you must carefully manage the memory allocation or risk crashing the computer.
The advantage of low-level languages is that they execute much faster, making them better for resource-limited or time-critical systems.
Easy Languages To Learn
- HTML: HTML (or Hypertext Markup Language) is the language used for websites. Web browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge read HTML documents and output the website to the user.
- Java: Widely used in mobile application development.
- Python: This is a great first language to learn because of its English-like syntax and user-friendly design. It allows you to develop apps quickly for a range of different use-cases including machine learning, data analysis, and web applications.
- PHP: PHP (or Hypertext Preprocessor) is a server-side language used to add functionality to websites. It’s often used with databases to perform back-end tasks.
- Go: This is an open-source programming language developed by Google. It follows syntax similar to C.
Difficult Languages to Learn
- Assembly: First used in the 1940s, Assembly (or ASM) is a challenging language to learn. Computer code written in ASM runs very quickly and uses fewer resources than more modern high-level languages.
- C: Another old but powerful language, C is the predecessor to more modern languages like C++ and C#.
Popular Programming Languages
Experienced coders are skilled in multiple languages. Once you learn one language, the second, third, and fourth languages become easier. It’s usually just a case of learning new syntax and structure.
Having said that, you should start off by learning the most common languages to give yourself the very best career prospects:
- C#, C++, Objective-C
Resources for Learning How to Code
Considering the popularity, scope, and effort required to code, you might be under the impression that learning to code is expensive. This is not always the case. Online learning has provided us with platforms and resources that are affordable and effective.
If you’re interested in learning how to code, here are some free online resources:
Our Software Engineering bootcamp is designed to help you learn the programming skills you need to get hired as a full-time programmer, even if you've never worked in tech before.
This platform provides some good courses for learning HTML and CSS. They are comprehensive and great for beginners.
- Code Avengers
One nice feature about this platform is that you can test what you have learned through quizzes and tutorials. Code Avengers is perfect for people with no coding experience.
- Hour of Code
This resource attempts to put the fun back into coding. They provide you with small interesting projects which bring out your passion for coding. You will no longer see coding as tedious and time-consuming.
This mobile app allows you to learn to code on the go. Understand how games are made or how websites are developed, with easy-to-digest bite-sized lessons.
You can start with basic coding using HTML and move on to more powerful languages. The platform provides free instructions and you can even become certified.
There are countless YouTube channels offering free coding tutorials and advice. Whatever language you’re interested in, a quick search will bring up step-by-step guides by enthusiastic programmers keen to share their knowledge.
The Next Step
When learning how to code, both theory and practice are important. Once you gain some basic programming skills you must continually practice to improve and develop. Set yourself goals, perhaps build a website or simple application. You’ll make many mistakes along the way, but remember, this is the best way to learn and gain valuable experience.
Free online resources are a great place to start, but to take your education to the next level enroll in our online coding course. Kickstart your new career and learn all the skills you need to land a highly paid job in web development.
If you’re still deciding which tech career is right for you, we recommend doing your research. Start by reading more articles about careers in coding, data analysis, and UX design to find the right fit.