Coding (also known as computer programming) is the process that allows computers to perform useful tasks. Skilled software developers write lines of code to tell machines how to accomplish a specific goal.
These instructions can be simple or incredibly complex depending on the software requirements. A basic calculator app can be written in just a few lines of code. On the other hand, an entire operating system consists of millions of lines of code stored in hundreds of different files.
A career in coding is perfect for technically minded individuals who have a passion for problem-solving. If you’re keen for a future in programming, we're here to run through some of the coding skills you’ll need to get started. We’ll also discuss online coding courses and how you can learn these career-ready coding skills from leading experts.
Why Learn Coding?
Talented coders are in high demand. There’s a wide range of different professions that require fundamental coding skills. From web developers, software application programmers, and computer system engineers, to video game coders, and 3D graphic experts.
You’ll need laser-focused learning of relevant programming languages, skills, and tools to get hired in this space. Leading positions can be competitive but the journey will be worthwhile. Aspiring coders can expect a top salary, excellent career opportunities, and job security.
Required Programming Skills
Programming languages are used to instruct computers and machines to perform certain tasks. Each language has its own strengths and weaknesses. Understanding these is essential if you want to make it as a coder. Some common programming languages include:
- Java: Java is one of the most in-demand programming languages. Desktop applications, mobile applications, embedded systems, and processing of big data are done using Java. It runs on over 3 billion devices across the world, which gives you an idea of how powerful and widely used it is. Native Android applications are also developed using Java.
- Ruby: Ruby is a general-purpose programming language. It’s object-oriented, reflective, and dynamic. Ruby is used in front-end and back-end development. Its syntax is intuitive and easy to understand. Ruby is primarily used for building web applications. It’s also used for other tasks like data analysis, proof of concepts, and prototyping. Both Ruby and Ruby on Rails have a wide range of applications.
- Python: Python is a general-purpose coding language. It’s used for web development, fintech, and data science. Python is also a popular language for scientific research. It has multiple science-friendly libraries like Astropy for astronomy, Biopython for biology and bioinformatics, and Psychopy for neuroscience and experimental psychology.
Write Clear, Understandable Code
Most coders work on existing software written by other programmers. This means it’s extremely important to write clear and easy to understand code. Not just for your colleagues either. You might return to some of your own code years later and forget how it works.
Commenting is one way to make code more understandable and involves writing short, single-line notes throughout your program. These notes explain in plain English what each section of code is trying to achieve. You can also write concerns or flag areas of code that might need updating. The compiler ignores comments so they don’t affect your program in any way.
Consistent formatting and indentation is another method you can use to help your code read better. Avoid writing Spaghetti code which is unstructured and hard to maintain. Don’t repeat lines of similar code, instead try to build a separate function that you can call multiple times.
Develop Logical Thinking
Logic is one of the most important skills to have as a coder. It’s used to conceptualize efficient solutions and fix bugs in code. The good news is, logic can be developed over time by training your mind.
Tools like Dcoder can help build your logic and reasoning skills by giving you problems to solve. You can also use the conditional thinking approach that uses the ‘if this, then that’ technique. This approach is used to test variables against values.
Consider spending time on creative hobbies and games. Chess and Sodoku are perfect for developing logical thinking. Don’t worry too much though, you’ll naturally learn to think logically as you learn programming techniques and gain experience as a coder.
Other Technical Coding Skills
Together with core programming skills, a coder is also expected to understand the following principles:
- Algorithms: An algorithm is a set of instructions given to a computer to solve a problem or reach a specific goal. An algorithm consists of a procedure, an input, and an output. Professional coders spend a lot of time writing algorithms, so it’s important you understand the tools and techniques involved in the process.
- Databases: Databases are data structures used to store information. Most software applications use data in one form or another. From customer details on an e-commerce site to a high score in a video game. Coders must read, write, update, organize, and analyze this data using database techniques. Structured Query Language (SQL) is the most popular language used to interact with databases.
- Abstract Thinking: Abstract thinking is often called the foundation of coding. It refers to thinking that’s done without the object you’re thinking about. To become a successful coder, you have to develop abstract thinking because you can’t physically measure or observe the written code.
Coders Also Require Soft Skills
Soft skills (also called interpersonal, essential, and non-cognitive skills) are concerned with how you work in a professional environment. As a coder, you’ll interact with many different people. For requirement capture, you’ll need regular client meetings. Chances are you’ll be working as part of a team, so you’ll also need to discuss development with other coders. The following soft skills are required to become a successful coder:
- Time management
- Analytical mindset
- Problem-solving attitude
- Attention to detail
- Good memory
How to Learn Coding Skills
The coding industry is highly dynamic and constantly evolving. To be a successful coder, you should keep on top of industry trends and stay relevant. There are multiple ways of gaining fundamental coding knowledge:
- Online Bootcamps: Learn from the comfort of your own home with a laser-focused online coding bootcamp. These intensive education programs are put together by leading experts from the coding world.
The course features a relevant and up-to-date curriculum to provide students with career-ready coding skills. Aspiring coders will benefit from one-on-one mentoring and full support as they grow from beginner to hired in less than a year.
- Self-Learning: Teaching yourself to code is also an option. The internet provides plenty of learning resources. YouTube video tutorials and coding blog posts can go a long way in getting you started in this space.
But beware, free online information is sometimes unstructured and out-of-date. It’s important to do your research and actually learn skills that are relevant in the coding industry.
You also don’t get any form of certification or recognition after completing your study. Employers generally prefer candidates that are officially recognized by an educational organization. Here are some things to think about when self-learning:
- Stick to a timeline. Make a schedule, and allocate some hours to practice coding.
- Try solving problems and challenges. This will help you implement your theoretical knowledge and hone your problem-solving skills.
- Master an in-demand skill.
- Avoid procrastinating. Since you are not learning in a structured environment, it is easy to lose track of time and deadlines.
- Post specific coding problems on sites like Stack Overflow to learn from others.
How to Stay Relevant in the Coding World
Your learning doesn’t stop once you land a job. You have to continue learning and upgrading your skills to stay in the field. Some tips for doing that include:
- Never Stop Practicing: Take up new and challenging projects. This way you can practice coding, get better at it, and add to your portfolio. This in turn will impress your future employers.
- Code in a Team: Working in a collaborative team-setting will show your employers how you fit into larger teams and higher positions.
- Network with Others: Forming lasting business relationships can help you stay updated with the latest developments, learn new skills, and gain new opportunities.
Learn Key Coding Skills for a Bright Future in Tech
Even if you’re not certain about your future career direction, learning to code is always a wise choice. You’ll not only gain an advantage in any technical role but managerial jobs can also benefit from coding know-how. By understanding the coding tasks you demand from your team, you can be a more effective manager.
To get started, enroll in our software engineering bootcamp where you’ll learn fundamental coding skills from scratch. Our expert team will support you every step of the way and beyond. As part of the course, you’ll build a professional portfolio of work to wow future employers and help you land your dream coding job.
Before securing any coding position you’ll need to impress during an interview. Take a look at our post on coding interview questions to get an idea of what to expect.
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