In CodeBerry Programming School’s “Basics of Programming” series, we discuss programming-related topics and everything you need to know to get started. Stay tuned for new articles and find the answer to every “what”, “why”, and “how”, you may have had about coding!

Would you like to learn how to code, online? Come and try our first 25 lessons for free at the CodeBerry Programming School.

Basics of Programming

 

Introduction

Now that you’ve decided that you want to learn how to code, it’s time to turn your dream into reality.

In this article, we’ll take a look at: 

  • Which coding languages are best for beginners 
  • Educational resources available to you 
  • First steps towards learning programming 
  • How to become a programmer 

We’d also like to point you in the direction of some supplementary resources that will help you to continue to learn on your own, such as video tutorials, podcasts, apps, games, and more. 

It’s always exciting to learn how to code

First, let’s start with the most important skills that you’ll need to succeed as a coder: 

Good Programming Languages for Beginners

Python

Python is a powerful, high-level programming language that can be used for a wide variety of purposes such as creating desktop applications, developing web apps, and even solving mathematical equations.

When you hear the term “high-level programming language,” you might get the idea that it’s more difficult to learn or more complex than others. However, the term “high-level” simply refers to the fact that the language is more developed and that it’s closer to a human language. A high-level language saves you time and frustration by allowing you to write in a more natural manner. Writing in a low-level language may require you to constantly repeat yourself and type out the obvious. Python doesn’t generally do that. Instead, it allows you to create highly readable and maintainable code, which is one of the most important aspects of programming. 

Starting with Python is one of the best ways for beginners to quickly learn the basics of programming and to create a basis for future learning. Thanks to a high number of applications and an easy-to-use syntax, Python is a great language to begin with as you embark upon your coding journey.

JavaScript

JavaScript is the programming language that powers the web and makes pages interactive and functional.  

If you’re interested in developing websites, JavaScript is an indispensable tool. While it’s true that HTML and CSS handle the organizational and visual aspects of your website, it’s JavaScript that brings everything to life. You’ll be able to create “scripts” that cause the website to react in a certain way when you click on a button, enter information into a form, and more.

Thanks to its popularity, there are plenty of resources available for learning JavaScript online, such as coding bootcamps and university courses. JavaScript is also incredibly versatile, as it can either be used in the front end or in the back end with the use of a run-time environment like Node.js.

Java

In addition to being one of the most popular programming languages in the world, Java (not to be confused with JavaScript) is extremely versatile and can be used in a wide variety of applications. And if you decide to learn Java, there’s a good chance of landing a job at a large corporation. Java, along with JavaScript and Python, is used by tech giants like Google, Facebook, and many more. 

When you learn Java, you will open up a whole new world of possibilities in your career as a software engineer. Using Java, you’ll be able to write computer programs for a huge variety of devices, such as smartphones, ATMs, TVs, computers, and more. 

With Java, you can also become a mobile developer for Android. Although iOS development was the trend in recent years (iOS uses Swift), creating apps for Android devices has become more commonplace. 

Thanks to its popularity, there is an abundance of resources for learning Java, both online and in the real world.

Which one is the easiest programming language?

Educational Programs

Coding Bootcamps 

As we briefly mentioned in our “Introduction to Web Development” article, coding bootcamps are short and condensed learning programs that function like military bootcamps. You probably won’t be running through tires and scrubbing the toilet with your toothbrush, but you’ll definitely be pushed to your mental limits with one of these intensive courses. 

Coding bootcamps generally last about 14 weeks (3-4 months) and teach you the fundamental skills that you need to succeed in a specific role, such as full-stack developer or frontend developer. Many employers often search for up-and-coming developers at the end of the program and choose from the best talent among the group. 

If one could truly learn everything there is to know about programming in 14 weeks, no one would pursue a degree in Computer Science or spend years developing their skills. Coding bootcamps, however, teach you the skills you need for entry-level programming jobs that don’t necessarily require a CS degree. When you’re just starting out and are looking for your first programming job, a coding bootcamp could be a great fit for you. 

Coding bootcamps are also a great option for those who want a quick overview of coding and need to learn the basics as soon as possible. To continue learning, however, we recommend that you supplement your education with more courses, additional reading materials, and daily practice. 

University Courses

Undoubtedly the most traditional form of education, a university program will provide you with a great overview of Computer Science and will help you to understand the underlying concepts behind the code. However, don’t expect your professors to hold your hand and teach you how to code in Python, JavaScript, or C++. Universities do offer courses that teach you the basics of each language, but you’ll spend more of your time learning very complex mathematics. 

For jobs in research, or at high-profile companies like Google, you’ll want to complete a Computer Science degree. However, if your dream job is to work at a medium-sized company or game studio, there’s a good chance that you won’t need to attend a University. 

In a university course, you’ll learn ideas, concepts, and theories, but very few skills that you can use immediately upon graduation. It’s up to you to learn various programming languages and search out the resources you need to succeed. This may be a disappointing reality for some when they graduate with a degree in Computer Science and leave the university lacking a sense of accomplishment. Regardless, being self-motivated and seeking out new knowledge on your own is a key characteristic of successful coders. 

This is why we recommend that both graduates and those currently enrolled in a Computer Science program learn to code on their own time. Online courses, coding bootcamps, and supplemental resources will all help you become a programming pro. 

Online Courses 

Online courses combine the best of traditional education with the skill-focused philosophy of a coding bootcamp. Not only will you learn the overarching concepts and theories behind programming, but you’ll also learn the skills you need to get a job. 

The freedom to study where, when, and how you want provides online learners with the flexibility that isn’t available to traditional students. You won’t need to quit your job, move to a new city, and pay thousands of dollars in tuition to learn valuable skills. Instead, you’ll be able to develop professionally in the comfort of your own home.

Online courses also come at a fraction of the cost of a university program. An online class generally provides you with the resources you need in a digital format and, unlike a course at your local university, you probably won’t have to spend anything on old, outdated textbooks. Instead, you’ll have access to a specialized curriculum that is written by industry professionals. 

For English speakers, there are a variety of courses available online, such as Codecademy. Codecademy is a free resource that teaches you the basics of a variety of different programming languages. However, if you want to choose a specific career path, such as web development, data science, or computer science, you’ll have to sign up for the pro (paid) version. The pro version also gives you access to more advanced material. 

At CodeBerry, you’ll find in-depth courses that are specialized for specific career paths, such as sitebuilder or front-end developer. In addition to teaching you programming in your own language, CodeBerry also assigns you a coding mentor, pairs you up with a learning buddy, and gives you access to a friendly online community.   

Supplemental Resources: 

Although only 20% of the world’s population speaks English, it’s estimated that over 55% of the internet is written in English. This means that the majority of resources you find online won’t be written in your native language. Therefore, the availability of the following resources will vary depending on your native language. 

Watch Videos 

I’ve learned a lot of important skills over the years by simply watching YouTube videos. YouTube is a great free resource that contains videos and channels dedicated to nearly every topic imaginable. 

There are plenty of great videos from real web developers and programmers who share their personal experiences and give you “insider knowledge” on what you need to know. YouTube also contains many interviews with coders who give their thoughts on finding a job and how they reached professional success. 

While a great supplement to your core learning, YouTube videos aren’t consistent enough in quality to provide you with a solid education. You’ll also discover many gaps in your knowledge and have trouble finding resources to answer all of the questions that you may have regarding in-depth topics.  

Online Communities

Joining online forums and groups will help you connect with fellow coders that may be able to guide you in the right direction and provide you with helpful advice for your career. Learning from the experience of others can also help you avoid the same mistakes that they have made and find a smoother path towards success. 

Whether you realize it or not, becoming part of a community is also important for developing your confidence and building your identity as a “real” coder. Through interaction with others, you’ll leave behind the imposter syndrome that appears after learning new skills and beginning a new career. As you search for that first job or your dream job, a community will provide you with the support and stability you need to move forward.  

By chance, you might even find job openings and opportunities through online communities, as employers often browse the web to find talented programmers. You can also network with fellow programmers and work on projects together, reinforcing that sense of belonging to a community. 

It can often be difficult to find online communities in your own language for coding and programming-related topics. Fortunately, CodeBerry gives you access to an online community with fellow students who speak your language and learn alongside you. 

Find a Coding Mentor

One of the most valuable resources you can have as a learner isn’t a resource at all, but rather a person. Since they have already gone through the same process, mentors are like gold mines of tips, tricks, and experience. Think of your mentor as your future self who can help you arrive at your goals. 

You’ll learn from their mistakes and make sense of your own as you talk with your mentor and discuss your progress. 

Mentors can also help you after graduation by giving you advice on how to find jobs, grow your portfolio, and what to expect in an interview. 

If you personally know a programmer or developer, ask them if you can become their apprentice and help them with their daily work. Tasks that might be easy and mundane for a professional could be a great learning experience for you. This way, you’ll gain invaluable insights and experience while providing them with value in exchange for their help.  

There are a few websites that can help you find mentors online, such as codementor.io. On Codementor, you’ll be able to find experienced programmers and developers who can give you the guidance you need—at a price. This can be quite costly, as mentors start at about $10 per 15 minutes of advising ($40/hr). We would recommend this option only if you don’t have any personal contacts with programmers. 

CodeBerry, on the other hand, provides you with a mentor to help you in your coding education journey. 

Our coding mentors are IT professionals with years of experience in their field. In addition to answering your questions via chat, our mentors help you craft your learning plan, review your code and give suggestions to enhance it, and keep you accountable and committed to your courses. 

Listen to Podcasts

The true beauty of podcasts is that they are free, educational, and allow you to learn on the go. When you feel the need to study while you’re stuck in rush hour traffic or commuting on the bus, you can pop in your earphones and listen to some great resources. 

Because coding is highly visual, audio might not be the best way to learn how to code. However, podcasts will keep you informed of recent updates to programming languages and related technologies. 

A great coding podcast for beginners is CodeNewbie which discusses the experiences of new coders and how they learned to code, how they landed their first job, etc. Other podcasts like Software Engineering Daily and Coding Blocks cover more technical topics and provide a lot of valuable knowledge for free. 

Books/Resources

It’s nearly impossible to memorize every command in a programming language. Books and other online resources such as W3 Schools provide you with documentation to reference when you need a quick hint or reminder. If you prefer print over digital, there are plenty of great books available on websites like Amazon that provide you with a handy guide to programming languages. For the rest of us, W3 Schools has free guides on their website that will help you as you learn to code.  

You can learn how to code almost everywhere.

Coding Games & Apps 

If you want to learn how to code and have fun at the same time, coding games and apps are perfect for you. You’ll have so much fun playing these interactive, educational games that you’ll forget that you’re actually learning. Oftentimes, reading books and documents on code can be dry, boring, and a great way to cure sleeplessness. On the other hand, games and apps will keep you interested and engaged, creating the perfect environment for learning. 

Games such as CodeCombat and CodinGame are extremely fun and help you continue to learn when you feel like your brain is fried after a traditional study session. 

CodeCombat is a browser-based RPG that allows you to control your character with lines of code. Through this method, you’ll learn languages such as JavaScript and Python without even realizing it. Not to mention, it’s a complete blast to play.

With various lines of code, you’ll make your hero move, attack, and perform certain actions that help you complete each level. As you progress through the levels, you’ll learn important programming concepts such as syntax, arguments, strings, and more. 

CodinGame is another website that features a wide variety of games that will help you improve your coding skills. CodinGame is much more difficult than CodeCombat and is geared towards those who already have a basic understanding of programming languages. If you are completely new to coding, you might want to try simpler games, such as CodeCombat, first. 

Personally, it took me a while to just navigate the site and figure out what I should have been doing. After I got adjusted to the layout, I was happily coding away in Python to control my spaceship and fire lasers at alien enemies; it felt pretty good. 

Practice & Good Study Habits

As a wise man once said, “Practice makes perfect.” 

No matter how many books you read, videos you watch, or the classes you attend, you’ll have to write code frequently to solidify your knowledge. Find projects to work on and create personal goals that cause you to always test your limits and learn new skills. Over time, you’ll find yourself prepared to start your first job. 

You’ll also want to have the drive and initiative to teach yourself the skills that you need to know. Self-taught learners tend to make the best programmers, since technologies and languages are always changing. 

In many careers, it’s possible to become an expert in a given topic and feel like you can sit back, relax, and quit growing. As a programmer, you don’t have the luxury of letting your guard down and ceasing to learn new things. The moment that you stop learning is the moment when your knowledge starts to become outdated. 

The team at CodeBerry would like to encourage you to be a lifelong learner and to continuously seek to improve your coding skills. If you’re interested in learning to code in your own language, being paired up with a mentor, and want access to a friendly online community, visit our website and sign up to take our first 25 assignments for free. 

Begin to Research Languages 

As you learn more about programming and start to identify your personal goals, you’ll discover which languages are best for you. We encourage you to begin researching various programming languages and to find out what suits your needs. In the next article, “Which programming language is good for you?“, we’ll provide you with an overview of the most popular programming languages so that you can start learning. 

Thanks for reading; see you in the next article.

In CodeBerry Programming School’s “Basics of Programming” series, we discuss programming-related topics and everything you need to know to get started. Stay tuned for new articles and find the answer to every “what”, “why”, and “how”, you may have had about coding!

Basics of Programming

Would you like to learn how to code, online? Come and try our first 25 lessons for free at the CodeBerry Programming School.