How to Learn to Code

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Congratulations! You’ve decided you want to learn to code. Whether it’s because you’re interested in tech, or you want a high-paying career — you’re in the right place.

How do you learn to code?

It’s a big question. And to be clear: There’s no one right answer. Say you were interested in art. What does that mean specifically? Do you want to draw portraits, make sculptures, or paint murals? If you don’t have a clear goal, it’s hard to decide your next steps.

We’re here to help. We’ll walk you through how to get started learning to code for the web, how to set goals, how to pick a language, and how to stay motivated to keep learning.

Why do you want to learn to code?

This is the first question you should ask yourself. Is your end goal to get a promotion or switch careers? Is it to build an application? Or is it just for fun?

How you learn to code will depend greatly on your goals.

Is your goal to switch careers, or start a new one?

Start with researching the job market in your area or remote opportunities. You can use a tool like Indeed or Dice to look for open roles. You can also talk with your local employment office for statistics and information about local opportunities.

Look at what skills might be good to have, but keep in mind: Employers usually ask for the moon. Don’t forget to follow your interests. Give yourself the time and space to explore what interests you, not just what job applications ask for.

How to Learn to Code

Not sure which coding language to choose?

Front End Web Development is a great path for those looking to switch or start a career. You’ll learn all of the fundamentals behind designing for the web, like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. This is what you’ll use to build websites, and web applications. You can learn the difference between those two in a recent blog post, “Tech Jobs: An Explainer”

If you’re looking to broaden your horizons beyond just front end web development, you should look into Python. Python is a popular first language to learn because it has a straightforward, easy-to-use syntax.

Do you want to build a mobile app?

The first thing you have to consider: Do you want it to be on iPhones, or Android devices? If you’re looking to build something for iPhones, you should learn Swift. If you’re considering Android, you can use Kotlin or Java. You can also write mobile applications with JavaScript, using tools like React Native.

Do you want to build an application for web browsers?

Think of interactive websites like Google Maps, or Facebook. These websites require JavaScript to run. It’s a language that adds interactivity to websites. It can also talk to databases, when you paid it with something like Node.js.

How to Learn to Code

Nothing you learn will be in vain.

Lots of beginners get caught up in which languages to learn first. While it’s helpful to put some thought into which one best fits your goals, choosing a language is not a lifelong commitment. Most programming languages are centered around the same fundamental concepts. If you discover one isn’t exactly right for you, picking up a second language will be much easier than your first.

How to Learn to Code

The best way to learn to code? Do it!

Do coding exercises on sites like CodeSignal and CodeWars. Build a portfolio website. Chip away at a larger practice that interests you. Build a website for a family member, or even your cat. All of these activities help you master new languages and learn new skills. Most importantly: Don’t give up. The important part is to keep at it, practice, and have fun with it.

While you’re studying, learning, and practicing, mistakes will be made, errors will occur, and small typos will trip you up for hours. Rest assured that this is all part of the learning process. As you learn, study, and gain more experience, you’ll get better at debugging, familiar with best practices, and build up skill. Try to embrace the struggle as part of the process. Learning to code can sometimes be difficult, but we promise: You can do it.

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