In the last 10 years alone, technology has expanded to lengths previously thought impossible. As a result, the job market demand for coding has skyrocketed. It is now so ingrained into our daily lives that coding governs nearly every device you see and use. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a software developer was nearly $90,000 per year in May 2020, which means jobs in this industry offer a highly competitive pay rate. You can also pursue a coding career from anywhere in the world, which might give you the flexibility to freelance or work remotely.
In this guide, we’ll lay out some programming principles before suggesting ways you can learn how to code in your spare time.
Coding refers to the set of instructions given to a computer that compiles to form programs and has unique functions executed by a code reader.
In simpler terms, coding acts as a mediator between a human and a computer. It refers to the syntax and structure that we require to write commands. The computer then translates commands into binary and executes them.
Learning to code is not only fun and rewarding, but it’s also a valuable career skill. Becoming proficient as a programmer can open many doors and opportunities for you. Computers run on binary, which most humans don't understand. However, programming languages help us communicate and order computers to carry out useful functions. When you learn how to teach yourself programming, you also gather practical skills to benefit you in the long run.
Here are some reasons you should consider looking into how to learn coding on your own.
Coding is challenging and often frustrating, but it’s fun. Put in a few months of effort, and you can be fluent in at least one programming language. Imagine using your creativity to design online games or build a website from scratch.
You live in a world primarily governed by machines. It makes sense that you should put in the effort to understand how they work. Learning to code will help you learn valuable skills, which can broaden your career prospects. It’s no coincidence that software developers can earn such high salaries.
Almost every industry needs programmers, especially as more consumers shop via websites and apps. If you know how to code, many employers will immediately take an interest in your LinkedIn profile and want to hire you.
Coders and programmers are always in need in every industry. Learning a programming language offers you job security.
You might use a computer daily without giving a second thought to how it works. Fundamentally, a computer is a piece of hardware that stores data and processes information. Its software relies on a language called binary, which is a unique string of zeroes and ones.
Programmers write instructions that allow humans to interact with computers and make them carry out various processes.
Having a clear concept about the fundamentals of how a computer works is crucial when learning to code.
A computer runs on hardware and software. Software is a conglomeration of instructions and programs which have a different function. Programs you regularly use, such as the Microsoft Office suite, are examples of software. A software engineer is someone educated and trained to develop and code computer software.
On the other hand, hardware is the extrinsic or physical device used to interact with the computer, enter information and execute the software. Monitors, keyboards and speakers are all examples of hardware.
In software development terminology, programmers broadly categorize programming terms into two areas that use different skills, tools and goals.
As we’ve already established, the demand for programming languages is skyrocketing. Each day, you encounter various programming languages, probably without realizing it. Each language has various advantages and drawbacks.
A programming language is a set of instructions compiled and executed by the computer to carry out functions. There are hundreds of programming languages in existence, but professional developers only rely on a few. In coding, many languages require formatting in the imperative form, while some others use declarative methods. A program usually consists of two sections: syntax and semantics. While you try to learn coding at home, you should remember that every language functions according to a paradigm.
Procedural programming usually focuses on executing a combination of sentences that produces a result. Procedural programming languages use repetitive loops, myriads of variables and other elements, making them different from functional programming languages. Its functions may vary from variable control to function value returns.
Functional programming languages use stored data and eliminate frequent loops to avoid repetitive functions. This type of language mainly concentrates on the return results.
Suppose you are using a pure and useful language, aka a function. You wouldn't expect it to modify or perform any operations. However, it can create algorithmic calls and change their parameters.
Object-oriented programming languages organize data as objects within the development environment to solve a given problem. These objects typically hold private data internally and provide publicly available functions for accessing the data externally. Object-oriented programming relies on the concept of encapsulation, which refers to the grouping of data and its related functions within each object. Encapsulation keeps the internal data and implementation details safe from external elements and misuse.
This language also demonstrates reusability through inheritance — a concept where one object or class derives from another using the same implementation procedure and maintaining similar behavior. For example, the object "Car" would hold essential information like color and top speed, and have functions to make it go and stop. Another class, "EV," may inherit all the data and abilities of "Car," but would also hold information about charging voltage and maximum range.
Many coders consider scripting programming languages to be procedural. However, they include some elements of object-oriented programming. These sorts of programming languages require small syntaxes to start with.
Logic programming languages often make declarative statements, then let the machine decide the result. Most of these languages have elements and features from different sources, making it easier to increase their usefulness and efficacies.
Similarly, app developments for platforms like Android and iOS use languages such as Java and Swift. Choosing the best programming language is crucial.
The first step to picking where to start is to figure out why you want to learn coding in the first place.
Java has earned a reputation as the most flexible programming language. It is versatile, multipurpose and user-friendly. Developers primarily use it for building Android apps and back-end development. If you want to start teaching yourself to code with something easy, Java might be the right choice for you. It offers a plethora of entry-level jobs as well.
In the modern world, Python is the most commonly used programming language after Java. Like Java, Python is very adaptable. Most universities and colleges use Python to build data analysis programs to help their research projects or academic studies. Its rise to popularity began after laying the foundation for artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Ruby is a programming language whose popularity has been on the rise in recent years. Ruby is a complete coding package, with full-stack development. It offers easy incorporation of front- and back-end elements while building a website through the Ruby on Rails framework.
If you aspire to be a web developer, learning the fundamentals of Ruby can help you even when you wish to switch to other programming languages.
Solidity is the perfect way to get your feet wet in the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain development. Though this programming language is not hugely prevalent, this can be your best bet to learn smart contract development on the Ethereum blockchain.
Since cryptocurrency is growing all the time, learning Solidity can put you ahead of the curve and position you for success once it gains a stronger foothold.
If your goal is to learn front-web development or make a career out of it, you'll need an in-depth knowledge of hypertext markup language. HTML is the easiest language to learn and can be a perfect entry point to coding, especially if you’re getting started.
C++ is also one of the most widespread programming languages. It is an extended version of C, and is ideal for creating programs that execute applications. The primary driver behind its rise to prominence is its support for many devices, systems and platforms. As a programmer, you might use C++ for everything from video game design to building mathematical simulations.
Web developers use cascading style script alongside HTML to format content on websites. CSS allows programmers to set global style guidelines for an entire site, such as consistent fonts and colors. In CSS, you can also rearrange elements on a page or transform a site's layout. If you aspire to be a front-end web developer, learning CSS with HTML is a must-have.
The next step to enter the world of coding is to find the right resources to learn with.
Textbooks are one of the best resources for coding. They include all the syntax and fundamentals of a language. Whenever you feel stuck, you can refer to textbooks as a reliable source of information. The only drawback is that you might find yourself easily confused while reading a code reference book if the material is new to you.
The best way to learn coding at home is to opt for an online course. These classes provide you with an instructor who teaches your desired language's fundamentals and all its syntaxes. Learning at your pace from the comfort of your home can be fun and engaging. The best part is that you can find these courses at affordable prices, helping you grow through regular practical classes and mock tests.
Check out 24HourAnswers to understand how effectively you can learn coding online.
Watching YouTube instructional videos alongside an online course is a great way to get into coding. Some YouTube channels are very high-quality, with extensive resources and well-explained tutorials to help you grasp complex concepts easily.
As soon as you graduate from your online course, you will find yourself writing code directly into a code editor. So, to avoid problems in the future, you should get into the habit of coding in your code editor from the beginning.
Once you have an essential understanding of your desired language, work on getting a little bit better at it every day. Start with small and easy tasks, working your way through more complex ones.
Your project's nature will depend on the language you choose. For example, if you are learning HTML or CSS, use your newfound knowledge to build a website. If you're teaching yourself Java, begin tinkering with the basics of creating a mobile app.
It's a fundamental fact of life that learning never ends, and coding is no exception to this rule. The online web development community is highly collaborative, and developers continually strive to learn more and improve their skills. Learning how to code requires time, practice and patience. It is natural to get frustrated and feel like giving up, or struggle to stay motivated when the task ahead feels repetitive. Do not get stuck in a rut of using identical syntaxes and coding patterns for every project. Work hard and try to improve every day. You can also borrow someone else’s code from GitHub, study how it works, then incorporate what you've learned into your projects.
This step-by-step guide has provided you with a clearer insight into how coding can be a fun and educational experience for beginners. While it might look daunting, you’ll be surprised by how much you can learn in only one day.
Before you dive in, ensure you have clear goals for your education. Understand what you want to learn about programming and why. Get guidance from online courses and other additional resources to grasp the concepts easily. You can also join an online community and find others who are learning the ropes just like you.
If you’re still looking for the best way to learn coding online, 24HourAnswers is the perfect choice to teach yourself your desired programming language.