Code Learning: A Complete Beginner's Guide

Coding has become one of the most wanted skills in the world. Being new to coding and finding a way to start? Preface Coding has prepared a comprehensive guide for all the information you need. Let’s scroll down to make sense of the coding world!

What is Coding?

Though there’s a lot of hype around coding, it can be quite intimidating to most amateurs since the syntactic and semantic rules do look scary. If you feel the same way, try thinking of it as your second language which you also thought impossible to learn but now is becoming fluent in.

Simply put, coding is the language your computer speaks. Wondering how coders made this nice web page from scratch? Right click and select “Inspect”, you will see a vivid example of how humans communicate with machines. Apart from setting up a website, you can also use coding to develop mobile applications, operating systems and programs.

There are over thousands of coding languages that enable you to accomplish these tasks. The most popular choices among coders for the past few years are Java, Python, HTML and CSS – some of them are multipurpose, while some only serve a specific function. Once you have chosen a language, you can write instructions to computers and other machines on what actions to perform, they will then read through thousands of lines of code and execute the commands accordingly.

What Are the Benefits of Coding?

Coding has evolved from a geeky odd hobby to a critical career skill these days, no matter what profession you might be in, being able to code can definitely earn you a competitive edge. Below are a few benefits of learning how to code:

1. Great Earning Potential 

The potential to earn a higher wage is probably the strongest and most obvious draw. According to PayScale, Hong Kong’s average compensation for coding and programming-related positions with less than 1 year experience is around HKD$192,000, not to mention the salary expectations will keep climbing up with increasing years of experience.

If you are not fully satisfied with your pay in Hong Kong, you can even consider pursuing an international career in the highest-paying areas for coders, which are New York (USD$62,090/year), California (USD$60,841/year) and Texas (USD$45,354/year).

2. Wide Range of Career Pathways

With so many organizations starting to invest more time and budget into their digital transformation, coding skills are now more important than ever. Once you become a coding professional, your job prospects won’t be limited as your knowledge can be easily transferred to a great variety of industries, ranging from finance to agriculture, marketing to gaming, healthcare to even arts.

3. Make You a More Valuable Member of the Team

Coding can have a surprisingly far-reaching benefit beyond technical skills – it is a great option for building an analytical, critical thinking as well as problem solving mindset. A well-written code requires properly applied logic, otherwise, one can never run the programs efficiently to produce the desired outputs. Being able to focus on a task and find correlations between pieces of data or information, and use these correlations to come to a viable solution must be one of the most important skills that many employers value in their employees.


How Can You Teach Yourself To Code?

So you finally decided to code. Now, go to the next question: how to get started?

If you are looking for a self taught route, there are 5 steps you should go through when teaching yourself to code:

1. Identify Interests and Passions

If you want to succeed, limit yourself. With countless programming languages being used today, trying to figure out what is the best language to learn has become a real issue.

Truth be told, there is nothing as “the best” given that every language is designed for a specific purpose. For example, Python and JavaScript are used for rapid prototyping, whereas C++ is generally for system programming and embedded development.

Be honest with yourself. Why are you learning to code? Do you want to build your startup idea or do you hope to score a promotion? What kind of systems are you trying to build? Web page, mobile app, analytic system or more?

Answering these questions can help you to pick your niche. In such case, you can devote your attention to a specialised stream without overwhelming yourself.

2. Set a Goal

At the start of your coding adventure, you will need a proper plan in order to learn effectively. You should first specify the language and skills you wish to learn as well as your main goal.

For instance, you want to use CSS and HTML to build a responsive website. You can then minimize the scale of the task by breaking it down into several milestones, such as understanding HTML document structure in the first 14 days, putting a CSS stylesheet together in the following week and more. Feel free to adjust the deadlines according to your progress, a clear and attainable study plan is truly helpful to turn you from a rookie journeyman to confident master.

3. Act on Your Knowledge

Learning is about truly understanding the concepts rather than simple memorization. Thus, you should build an actual project with what you have learnt. You can begin with cloning a popular website, followed by creating a mobile game and customizing your smart device on your own. Though you might frequently run into errors, don’t quit until you are comfortable with the basics of this programming language.

4. Join a Welcoming Community

Being a self-taught learner can be quite frustrated, especially when you hit a wall over and over again.

If you feel like you’re not making progress, join an online community. You can immediately gain access to a big network with people who are either having the same struggles as you or have already accomplished what you are striving toward.

There are many programming communities across different platforms, including but not limited to Learn Programming SubredditCode Newbie Facebook Group and Hashnode Community.

Best Online Resources for Coding Learning

Good news to people who are brand new to the world of coding – the internet is full of valuable resources. By taking advantage of these resources, you can get a taste of coding for free before investing real money into a certain set of courses. Preface is hereby to introduce you 3 of the best resources:

Codecademy is probably one of the most visited online code-teaching websites. It offers users an interactive and fun way to learn up to 12 different languages, including HTML, CSS, Javascript, Python PHP and more. It also allows you to code directly in a browser, saving you the hassle of installing various developer tools. Not to mention it is great for exposing you to a global community full of coaches, advisors and graduates who are able to answer your questions and give you references.

As the world’s largest web developer site, W3Schools offers thousands of tutorials and examples on 14 programming languages, such as JavaScript, Python, HTML and C++. If you are looking for additional practice, there are skill tests and quizzes of different levels, both intermediate and advanced web developers and even software engineers can benefit from these materials.

Unlike regular online learning platforms, Udemy does not create its own content. Instead, since its user base is made up of both students and instructors, over 130,000 courses on the site are actually owned and managed by users. Learners can have a great variety of resources to choose from, finding a class and instructor that matches with their particular learning style. You can also benefit from its more flexible approach given that instructors have the ability to update their classes as needed, and each course features a Q&A tool for receiving instructor support which is a lot more useful than reading a text or watching a video in a vacuum.


Coding Class Recommendation

Although you can enjoy more freedom from self-learning, you still need some guidance to prevent yourself from getting lost. That’s why Coding Class is a good place to begin your journey – it will lead you through a practical learning curriculum, showing you the key concepts and background knowledge step-by-step. Below are the top 3 best beginner-friendly classes that can help you jump on board much quicker and easier.

1. Fundamentals of Programming

If you are unfamiliar with computers and technologies, this course puts together 87 lectures to give you an overview of the basics of programming. It covers the fundamentals such as programming frameworks, modern web technologies, global technology trends and more. After studying all the major concepts, you will be ready to embark on a real and practical coding course.

2. Web Development 

Can you imagine in just 80 hours, a newbie can become an expert who understands all the capabilities and limitations of web applications? The course consists of 5 modules, ranging from Python basics to data analysis, front-to-end programming to Django and web application. The lectures are based on real-life use cases and business applications, you can therefore immediately apply the learnt concepts and techniques to solve real-world problems.

3. Data Science & Artificial Intelligence

After going through 5 modules with increasing complexity, you will be able to leverage on Python to derive value from data for better business decisions, for example, you can create informative and striking statistical graphics for your team to keep track of. For more advanced use cases, you can even build a deep learning model using text mining and Natural Language Processing techniques, boosting your data science career to a whole new level.

Reference:

“What Is Coding And Why Should You Learn It?”, GOODCORE
https://www.goodcore.co.uk/blog/what-is-coding/

“What Is Coding? Coding Definition and Uses”, Career Karma
https://careerkarma.com/blog/what-is-coding-used-for/

“How Much Does a Computer Coder Make? Salary Info With Career Tips”, indeed
https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/pay-salary/how-much-do-coders-make

“Not a ‘math person’? You may be better at learning to code than you think”, ScienceDaily
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200302103735.htm

“What’s Coding and How Can It Help Your Career?”, Royal Bank of Canada
https://www.rbc.com/dms/enterprise/futurelaunch/whats-coding-and-how-can-it-help-your-career.html

“14 Great Ways to Teach Yourself to Code”, lifehacker
https://lifehacker.com/top-10-ways-to-teach-yourself-to-code-1684250889

 

Wish to see what other innovative projects that we have launched? Take a look at our Instagram or Facebook for our latest news.