We live during times when the Internet, computers and smartphones are becoming an important part of our life. In fact, we use these things for practically everything- from reading news to online shopping, banking and playing games.
But are you aware who makes all these activities over the Internet, computers and smartphones possible for us?
It’s a large army of software programmers and coders. Because they create software and apps that we simply take for granted and use in our daily lives.
So what’re the educational qualifications or skills that coders have? Actually, most of the coders that create apps such as your favorite games, are people that learned coding themselves or from some simple course.
And yes, let me emphasize that coding is simple and easy to learn and use.
This brings us to the question: what is coding?
To begin with, coding is a skill or ability to write in a language that computers use and understand. By computers, I also mean smartphones such as Android-based ones and iPhones as well as mobile tabs.
We search for stuff or perform a transaction in English or other languages. But these languages aren’t really known to software and apps.
Therefore, there’re people known as coders that create apps and software using coding languages. Whenever we type something in English, the app or software converts it into code to provide us the necessary results.
Now computer programming is slightly different from coding. Software programming is a very specialized skill that often requires a Bachelor or other degree in software engineering.
On the other hand, coding is very simple. Any high-school graduate or even a retiree can learn it easily. In fact, it’s something that you can learn if you have the inclination and the time to learn a new skill.
How to Learn Coding?
If you’re serious to learn coding, follow these simple steps I’ll explain in this article. Depending upon the time you spend every day on learning and the speed at which you learn. Continue reading to know how to learn coding.
Identify Reasons to Learn Coding
The first and obvious step to take is to identify reasons why you wish to learn programming. There could be several reasons.
One of the main temptations being to cash-in on the growing demand for apps for Android and Apple smartphones and other mobile devices. The other could be personal interest such as developing games that you dream of creating.
The average salary of coding professionals is just about $33,217 per year, according to information available from various sources. Professional coding instructors holding the necessary certificates and engineering degrees earn more than double the amount.
These figures might sound very attractive at the moment. But here’s the flipside. The demand for coders in the US and worldwide is dropping by seven percent to nine percent per year, according to figures from Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This means, you can learn coding but don’t expect to find work immediately or have a very profitable profession at the moment or in the near future.
Coding is in lower demand thanks to the entry of newer technologies that make the skill almost redundant in today’s world. And coders are getting lower pay than ever before since there’s fierce competition for every job or freelance work.
Select a Programming Language
As I mention earlier, coding is a language that computers understand. There’re several coding languages.
This means, you might face some confusion about which coding language to learn. Honestly speaking, there’re no clear or explicit answers to this question.
However, here’s some good news, if you decide to learn coding despite the flipsides. That is, all coding languages are almost similar to one-another.
Therefore, you could choose to learn any coding language to begin with. And once you’re proficient in that coding language, you could easily learn others.
To draw a parallel, let’s consider that learning coding is like learning the English language. Once you’re fluent in English, you would find it easy to speak, read and write in the language for any part of the world.
For example, English in the UK varies slightly from the American version while that spoken in India is a bit more different. Yet, you can converse easily in these countries because you know English.
The same holds true for coding. Once you master a coding language, adapting yourself to learn others is very simple because there’s not really much of a difference between them.
Take a Free, Basic Coding Course
The best way to learn coding is to take a free and basic course about coding. There’re countless such free courses available online. You can check e-learning portals such as Udemy for starters. They have a wonderful selection of free basic coding courses for beginners.
Going for a free, basic coding course online has several advantages. The main one is that such a course will provide you insights into the world of coding and help you learn the basics.
If you don’t like to continue, all you would have wasted is some time and effort. However, it’s worth a try.
Because there’s no point in going for an expensive and elaborate coding course and finding later that you’re unable to complete it because of difficulties, lack of time or any other reasons.
Alternatively, you can look for free and basic coding courses that’re available in your area. A few training institutes offer such courses for a few hours only because they wish to promote their main, paid course which is for advanced learners.
Go for an Advanced Course
If you find coding interesting from the free, basic course, you can then go for a paid, advanced course. There’re also a few free courses that train you in intermediate level coding.
You can find them too on Udemy and other platforms by simply Googling for ‘Free Coding Courses in USA.’
Depending on your personal needs and interest in coding as profession, you can opt for a free or paid course. Here I would suggest paid courses since they’ll teach you a lot of tricks and tweaks that free ones generally don’t provide.
Also, paid courses will help you get the necessary certifications. These certifications would prove handy if you’re looking at coding for freelancing or as a career choice.
In any case, the type of course and its syllabus depends upon the time you’re able to give every day and interest in the topic. Look for courses from renowned trainers because they’ll be able to provide the most useful tips and tweaks.
Start Practicing Your Coding
Once you complete a coding course and are well versed with the language of coding, begin practicing at home.
You can develop apps and games or some basic software using your skills. Obviously, testing these apps and games isn’t free. You’ll have to pay a market research company or app testers to do the needful.
You can start by installing the app on your computer and smartphone. Allow friends and relatives to use these apps and provide feedback. Such feedback is vital because it would help you patch up any glitches in your creations.
It’s also possible to provide your app and games to others through free resources such as Facebook Marketplace. Don’t offer a reward or cash incentives. Instead, simply ask people to try your creations and provide feedback.
This can prove an uphill task. However, if you’re serious about coding, the time and effort on reading feedback and improving your apps or games would prove worth the while.
Register on Crowdsourcing Platforms
The best way to improve your coding skills and learn more about coding is by joining any good crowdsourcing platform.
If you don’t know about crowdsourcing, here’re some basics. Generally, a crowdsourcing platform is website that brings together people with similar skills.
These are freelancers. Whenever a company or individual has a large project, they crowdsource the work by hiring a team of freelancers.
This means, you get an opportunity to work alongside a team of experienced and qualified coding professionals from America and elsewhere on various projects.
This in turn allows you to learn a lot more about coding and put your knowledge to practical use on apps and games among others, that’re going to be launched commercially by some large organization.
And this experience and learning will prove vital in your career in coding.
Other Things to Learn Coding
One more thing that you shouldn’t neglect if you wish to learn coding: creating a LinkedIn profile. A superb profile on LinkedIn as coder helps you network with similarly or highly qualified people around the world.
You can read their posts, follow persons and develop a superb network of contacts in the coding industry.
Some of these contacts would prove useful to get freelance or other paid work in coding. Others might prove useful as references.
By any yardstick, the above steps are the simplest ways to learn coding for free or at a very economical price. But remember the flipside too, before you jump to learn coding. There’s still some demand for coding but that might not remain in the near future.