There’s a lot of debate these days over whether or not it’s still necessary for people to learn how to code. Once not so long ago, coding was viewed almost as an emerging necessity. almost like a language people would be wise to learn in order to make the most of an increasingly tech-driven world. Now, however, the prevalence of low-code and no-code development options arguably makes the actual language a little bit less of a necessity.
Despite this debate though, there remain many who are at least curious about the idea. Hackernoon looked into whether or not learning to code would be trendy last year. In doing so found that “learn to code” is typed into Google roughly 74,000 times every month (compared to 33,100 times for “learn to play guitar, for comparison’s sake). This does not definitively prove that legions of people are still seeking to educate themselves in computer code. But that can be an indicator of interest. Coding remains an interesting hobby and a marketable skill, and there are now more ways to learn it than at any point in history.
For those who are looking to learn though, it’s important to start off on the right foot. To that point, we’ve put together a few vital points aside from simply which coding language to learn, or where to find the education. The following ideas should help those interested to set up ideal conditions for learning to code.
1. Don’t take shortcuts
There can be a temptation when learning to code to take shortcuts, and try to jump ahead. However, it’s important not to succumb to this temptation, and instead to learn the basics and develop a sound foundation. As Keep Coding pointed out in an article about how long it takes to learn this skill, it’s ultimately an ongoing process. That is to say you never really finish learning to code, which further enforces the need for a strong foundation; the rest will come later. As a comparison, think about learning to play the guitar. Your goal might be to learn how to play your favorite music, and accordingly you might simply teach yourself only what you need to get through a particular song. That can work, but ultimately it doesn’t get you much closer to being able to learn other music.
2. Your monitor matters
When people consider learning to code, hardware isn’t always at the forefront of their minds. And yet, the right equipment can make for a much simpler, more enjoyable, and even more effective process. First and foremost this means making sure you have the right computer monitor for the job. While this sounds like a luxury, HP suggests that “long hours, loads of open tabs, and a constant flow of complex information” necessitates a good monitor. By doing so, we minimize eye strain and prioritize comfort. As to what makes for a suitable monitor, it’s partly a matter of personal preference. Though the same piece points out that screen size, resolution and refresh rate, ergonomics, and price usually drive the decision.
3. Do projects
While this point should not go against that of avoiding shortcuts, you should focus on projects as you learn to code. Just as you might read a book or write a paper in the course of reading a language (as opposed to just learning vocabulary and grammar), it’s important to put your education to the test now and then. Trying specific projects allows you to see that you’re on the right track, and will help you to learn what you might have to work on a little bit more. It’s an essential part of the process over time.
4. Prepare to explore demand
You don’t want to jump into a job you’re not prepared for with only beginner coding skill. But if you continue with your education, you should also remember to be prepared to explore demand. In discussing the ‘Business Case for the Value of Code Quality’ before, it was pointed out that people with deep coding knowledge tend to get a lot of job offers, and have little trouble finding work. This remains a simple reality today, such that part of your goal in learning to code can be exploring what doors it opens for you also. This doesn’t mean a major tech company will hire you a month into your education. But you may well start to notice opportunities if you determine to keep your eyes open.
There is plenty more to coding than these points, of course. But hopefully these ideas help to set up anyone interested to go about the process in a strategic and appealing way. This should set the stage for effective education, and ultimately, legitimate coding skill.