Web Development

How To Code Like A Pro In 8 Easy Steps

How To Code Like A Pro In 8 Easy Steps
Learning how to code is something that more and more people are doing every single day. As technology advances and takes more control over the world we live in, the demand for coders is only going to increase. This means that there will be more career options, higher paid jobs, and increased job security for coders in the future.

However, a lot of people simply don’t know how to learn to code. Unless you are taking an intensive boot camp course or are enrolled in a university-level computer science course, it can be hard to figure out how to get started. There appears to be a distinct lack of clear guides or ‘how to’ articles online, which has inspired me to write this step-by-step guide on learning how to code like a pro.

We will start with the basics of choosing a language, enrolling in courses, and finding out what other resources are out there. We’ll touch on different ways to practice writing code and good habits to get into, and we will go into a bit more detail about how you can progress from learning one language to learning many.

So, let’s learn how to code!

Step 1: Choose A Language To Start With

Choosing the right language is the first and probably the most important step when it comes to learning how to code. Although a lot of people simply start with easy languages like HTML, CSS, and Python, this isn’t necessarily the best option. In fact, you need to think about a few things before you choose your first language:

Why Are You Learning How To Code?

The answer to this question will make it much easier for you to choose the right language to get started. Think about what you want to get out of coding, what you plan on doing with your new coding skills, and why you even want to find out how to code in the first place.

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For example, if you are planning on trying to get a job as a front-end web developer, you will need to learn HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. However, if you’re an academic who wants to be able to write their own data analysis and statistics programs, you will be much better off learning something like Python.

How Much Time Do You Have To Dedicate To Coding?

Most people who are taking online or part-time courses teaching how to learn coding are also working full time. If this is you, you need to think carefully about how much time you have to dedicate to learning how to code. Unless you can sit down for at least 5-10 hours per week, you should probably start with one of the easier languages.

What Is Your Current Career?

Could learning how to code in a particular language be useful in your current job? If so, then why not learn that language first! For example, if you’re a web content writer, you should learn HTML and CSS to complement your writing skills. Doing so will make you more employable, will improve your job security, and could even improve your salary!

So, now that you’ve chosen a language, it’s time to move onto choosing an online course.

Step 2: Enrol In An Online Course

Once you’ve chosen a language to learn, its time for you to choose an online course to kick-start your journey to pro coder. In my opinion and experience, online courses are probably the best way to learn how to code. They are usually relatively cheap, they offer a lot of information which is organized in an ordered fashion, and they are flexible. In fact, I almost always recommend online courses when people ask me how to learn to code.

On the BitDegree platform, you will find a huge range of coding courses which will teach you everything you need to know about a particular language. Here are a few of the best courses to learn the most popular languages:

Python

Python is one of the most popular languages for beginners. It is simple and easy to learn as a first language. I would recommend having a look at the Learn Python Basics course if you are new to programming. This course will teach you basic Python syntax, conventions, and more – all through a user-friendly online teaching method!

how to code in Python

JavaScript

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JavaScript is one of the essential web development languages. It is a popular language among beginners who are looking at becoming either front or back-end web developers. Take a look at the Interactive JavaScript Tutorial if you would like to learn JavaScript as your first language.

HTML & CSS

HTML and CSS are generally used together to create responsive, cleverly designed web pages. Using HTML allows you to add content to a page, while CSS controls how this content is formatted and how it looks. I would recommend starting with the Interactive Coding For Beginners: What Is CSS, HTML & Web Development course if you want to become a front-end web developer.

PHP

PHP is another widespread coding language that anyone who wants to go into web development needs to learn. It can be slightly more difficult than some other languages, but the Interactive Learn PHP Online course makes things easy.

Step 3: Discover Other Resources

Once you have enrolled in an online course designed to teach you how to code in your chosen language, it’s time to explore some of the other resources that you can draw on. Although online courses are a great place to start when you discovering how to learn coding, they are much more effective when you use them together with other resources. Some of the other things I would recommend getting familiar with as you learn how to code include:

Reference Guides

Reference guides are an essential part of any up and coming coder’s toolkit. They contain everything you need to know about a particular language, including syntax, conventions, and best practices. They are a great place to go if you are stuck or confused about a difficult concept. The Mozilla Developers website offers a number of references for some of the most popular languages. Alternatively, a quick Google search will turn up guides for pretty much any language.

Code Editors

Although a lot of online courses allow you to write code directly in your browser, this simply isn’t the way things work in the real world. When you start to work as a coder or to write your own programs, you will need to use a desktop code editor. While a simple text editor will do the job, I would recommend something like the Atom code editor which is compatible with most languages and which offers a range of features to make it easier to write code.

Aton code editor

Videos

Short video tutorials are also a great way to learn new things. Personally, I like to head over to YouTube when I’m having trouble with a concept or a particular bit of syntax and find a video that explains it well. Look for something with a lot of views and which has a good rating. Subscribe to your favorite coding channels and watch their videos from time to time to complement your other learning streams.

Step 4: Start Writing Programs In Your Chosen Language

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Once you’ve worked through a significant portion of your online course and started to understand how your language works, it’s time to start writing your own programs. Begin with a simple idea and see if you can turn it into a working program that does exactly what you want it to. Creating your own programs is one of the best ways to start becoming fluent in a language.

If you are having trouble coming up with ideas for programs to create, you could always work through some online coding challenges. Most of the time, these challenges will give you a clear set of instructions about a program that you have to develop. You will be free to build the program in any way you like, as long as it works, meaning that these challenges are a great way to practice writing decent code.

Remember to add any programs you create yourself to your portfolio. This will help you when applying for jobs in the future!

Step 5: Learn How To Use Comments

Comments are an essential part of any decent program. Comments can be used in pretty much every programming language to explain to both yourself and other people who read our code in the future exactly what you’re trying to do. They are basically lines of text which are formatted in a such a way that they are ignored when the code is read by a computer. This makes comments easy to create and is even more of a reason why you should always use them.

Start by working through your latest program and writing a comment that explains what every line or block of code does. Now, go through and remove the comments that explain very simple or self-explanatory code. Read through and make sure that you have left enough information for both you and anyone else to be able to easily understand your code in the future.

Step 6: Hack Someone Else’s Code

Writing programs is a great way to practice writing code, but hacking someone else’s code is also a great idea. Basically, what I mean by ‘hacking’ someone else’s code is taking some code that has been written by someone else, and working through it until you understand what every line does and how it contributes to the program at large.

I usually head over to GitHub when I have a bit of free time to practice and find a code file that looks interesting. Then I download it, open it with my code editor (usually Atom, which we touched on above), and start working through it. If I see something that can be improved I make changes to the code, and I keep my reference guide handy to look up things that I don’t understand.

Remember, you can always re-upload the code if you think you’ve made improvements or changes which could benefit others!

Step 7: Learn More Languages

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Learning how to code is about more than just learning one language. In fact, you need to learn a range of languages if you want to be able to code like a pro. Keep working on your first language until you have a pretty good grasp of the main syntax and can write simple programs. Then once you’ve achieved this level, move onto another language.

However, make sure that you keep coming back to your original one regularly, otherwise, you will forget the things that you worked so hard to learn!

Make sure that you try and find a language which will complement the one that you chose first, as this will make you more employable. For example, you might have started by learning how to code with HTML.  So, once you’ve gained a bit of fluency in HTML, you could move onto CSS and JavaScript.

You should learn three or four languages which complement each other — this will help you work in your desired coding field. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to move onto the last step of our step by step guide on how to learn to code like a pro – getting a job!

how to code

Step 8: Find A Job!

Congratulations, you now know how to code like a pro, and you’re ready to graduate and find your first job as a coder! Finding work as a junior or entry-level coder isn’t always easy, even if there seems to be a big demand for coders. Unfortunately, most companies want to employ people who have already proven themselves, and who have a significant knowledge base that they can draw on.

Since you haven’t had a coding job before, it can be hard to show any experience or proof of your skills. One of the best things to do to build experience is to look for some freelance work. Head to a platform like Upwork and look for jobs that are suited to entry level coders. Complete a few, and ask your clients if you can add them to your portfolio. Once you’ve built up a decent sized portfolio of different projects, you can start applying seriously for full-time jobs.

Don’t expect to get offered the first job you apply for. In fact, it could take dozens of applications before you’re even offered an interview. Don’t expect to land a job from your first interview either. Treat each interview and each application as practice, and you will eventually find your dream job as a pro coder!

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Note that a lot of coders work as freelancers for years – by choice – because of the freedom and flexibility that freelance work offers. In fact, freelance coders regularly charge upwards of $100 per hour! 

Conclusion

Now that you’ve read my ultimate guide to learning how to code like a pro, you should know everything you need to right? Of course not!

Even learning how to learn coding can take months. Learning to code can take years, especially if you want to get to pro coder level. However, this step by step guide should have given you all the information that you need to get out there and start learning. Hopefully you’re slightly less confused than you were when you started reading, and hopefully, you know what you have to do now.

To recap, you need to start by thinking about why you want to learn how to code. Use your reasons to guide your choice of language, and enroll in an online course which teaches this language. Get familiar with some of the learning resources out there, and practice until you achieve some degree of fluency. Become fluent in a couple of different languages, and find your first job.

Congratulations – now you know everything you need to know to become a pro coder!

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