6 Steps to Code

I’m going to assume that if you are reading this, it means that you don’t really know anything about computers other than using them for basic things like going on the Internet or making a Word document. There’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone starts somewhere.

STEP No. 1: Get a solid foundation.

The first thing I’m going to suggest is that you get a solid foundation in computer concepts. For that, I’m going to direct you to Stanford University’s CS 101 course. Now, don’t be intimidated just because this is from Stanford. This is an entry level course and no computer or math background is required.

Stanford CS 101: Computer Science 101 (Computer Science 101)

STEP No. 2: Start learning web dev.

Now that you’ve got that down, I’m going to point you towards learning web development. There’s a lot to web development, but the tools are free, and there are a lot of great, free resources on the web that can take you from zero to the professional level as a developer.

General Assembly’s Dash has a great introduction to web development. Try to do all five lessons, and you’ll be introduced to HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery, which are all fundamental web technologies. Don’t worry if you don’t necessarily understand everything that is going on there, just learn as much as you can and be confident that you’re going to dive deeper into what you’re learning at Dash in the next step.

STEP No. 3: Dive deeper.

You may be surprised by how many parallels between two apparently different activities like scuba diving and programming can be found. The nature of each activity is inherently complex, but is unfortunately often reduced to making bubbles or creating snippets of code. After successfully completing a scuba course and receiving a diving certificate, would-be divers start their underwater adventure.

Most divers apply the knowledge and skills they acquired during the course. They rely on the exact measurements done by their diving computers and follow the rules which allow them to survive in the hazardous underwater environment.

Alright, at this point you’ve got all the foundation you need. It’s time to get serious and really learn to code.

STEP No. 4: Understand coding concepts.

Something you should understand is that web development has two major divisions: front end and back end. The front end is what you see and interact with on a web page. Everything you did at Dash was front end development.

Back end programming is everything that happens on the server side, which is where the web application will interact with a database of some kind. Some small applications don’t require any back end at all. Most of what you’re going to build in the next six months will not. For now, just be aware that back end development is a thing, and know that you’ll learn it eventually. Once you know both the front end and back end you will be referred to as a “full stack” developer.

One other thing to understand: development (coding) of any kind is hard. It’s hard and that’s okay. You can overcome the challenge with your intelligence and effort, but just accept that there are going to be times when you are very frustrated and don’t think you have what it takes to do this. Commit now to fighting through these times. The only way to lose is if you give up.

Ready? Okay, head to Free Code Camp.

STEP No. 5: Free Code Camp.

Free Code Camp is an incredibly deep and growing resource that will teach you to code at a professional level. You’ll start off with some exercises similar to what you did at Dash, but it’s going to get a lot harder fairly quickly. You’re going to be solving algorithm challenges and building actual projects. There’s enough there to keep you busy for a year at least though you may find yourself employable before that time is over.

Free Code Camp: http://www.freecodecamp.com (http://www.freecodecamp.com)

By the time you finish even the front end part of Free Code Camp, you could probably get a job writing code, but if you want to go even deeper you’ll need to invest some money into it. One of the best coding boot camps in the world today is Hack Reactor, which has both in-person and remote classes. It is an exclusive (and expensive) school, but if you’ve finished the Free Code Camp program you will be ready to apply. There are also other boot camps to look at, such as NYC’s Flatiron School.

Hack Reactor: Hack Reactor – The CS Degree for the 21st Century (Hack Reactor – The CS Degree for the 21st Century)

STEP No. 6: Keep Practicing.

There you have it, a road map that can take you from zero to professional as a coder. It will be much harder to follow than it was to write down, but you can do it if you are dedicated.

Good luck!

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