Web Development

How to Start Coding – Beginner’s Guide

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Welcome to my guide on how to start coding for beginners! This guide has been prepared to give a beginner who wants to know how to start coding and become a professional (or skilled hobbyist) coder the best possible start. By the end of it, you should be more than ready for your first job as a web developer. 

So, if you’re struggling to tell your PHPs from your JavaScripts, or your servers from your domain names, this is the perfect place for you. Let’s learn how to code! 

Why Learn Web Development Anyway? 

Before I begin teaching you how to start coding, it’s first useful to discuss why you would want to learn web development. There are lots of good reasons why you should learn how to code. Here are a few of them: 

  • Coding is a skill that is in high demand in the technology industry 
  • Jobs as a coder can allow you to work wherever you want. All you need is a computer and the internet! 
  • Coding is a necessary skill to be involved in one of the most cutting-edge job fields currently available  
  • Many of the most exciting opportunities in emerging industries today are in the cryptocurrency and AI space. Coding is crucial for both. 
  • Coding is both challenging and worthwhile. You’ll be amazed at what you’re able to create after just a small time spent learning to code.  
  • The skills you learn will be relevant in the future. The tech industry is only going to grow! 
  • Jobs that use a specialist skill like coding are often very well paid. 
  • You don’t need a degree to learn how to code. You can get started without any college/university debt! 

Coding for Beginners – Starting Out 

Before we learn how to start coding, it’s first important to offer a small warning. In the beginning, coding is going to be tough – you are essentially learning a new language to communicate ideas in! There is no easy way to learn how to code for beginners.  

If you’re completely new to this sort of stuff, it will be nothing like anything you have done previously. Stick with it though. The longer you hang in there, the more likely you are to have a “eureka” moment and it will all start making sense. 

Above all, coding is about problem solving. It’s not so much about memorising all these functions that different lines of code create (although that’s incredibly useful). You can look those functions up if you forget how to do something specific! Your skills as a problem solver, which are the most important skills regarding coding, will develop with the more time you spend training them. 

How to Start Coding – The Wider Concepts 

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For many, computer science and coding seem alien skills that are impossible to understand. That’s why this coding for beginners’ guide starts at the very beginning. Even if you’re already familiar with how networks and computer systems work, it’s still a good idea to give yourself a quick recap from the list below. 

When learning how to start coding, there are several things that you should fully understand: 

  • Learn the basics of computer science. There are loads of great resources out there. Before you start learning how to code, you really need a solid idea of how computers actually function! 
  • Understand how networks work. It’s important to know how different computers can communicate with one another in various types of networks. This will make it easier to understand concepts that are introduced later. 
  • Familiarise yourself with the command line. Here’s where you’ll finally start to feel like an elite-level hacker! Entering text into the command line can be a bit scary at first but you don’t need to fear. It’s very difficult to do any real damage!  
  • Next, it’s important to know how to start building a website and get a domain. This stuff isn’t going to challenge you too much, but it is crucial in your journey to becoming a web developer.  

Learn Basic Coding Languages

After you’ve got the basic knowledge above, it’s time to start coding for real!  

HTML 

If you’ve never done any web development whatsoever, you’re going to want to start with HTML. 

HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. Put simply, it’s used to make basic webpages. It’s not technically a programming language at all. However, if you’re completely new to coding, it’s still nothing like any language you’ll be familiar with. 

Whenever you see images or text on the web, they will have been put there primarily using HTML. HTML allows you to place text, images, videos, songs, and other content onto a webpage using what are called “tags”. 

There isn’t a whole lot you can do with HTML but what you can do appears all over the internet. It’s therefore really important to get a good grasp of HTML before you start out on your career or hobby as a web developer. 

Check out the beginners’ guide to coding in HTML. You’re welcome!

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how to start coding

CSS

The next logical step to learning how to develop websites is to learn CSS. This still isn’t really a programming language though! However, it does introduce a load more variety into your websites and is another crucial step you need to take before you start programming in more interesting languages!

CSS makes the stuff you made using HTML look good. You can do all kinds of neat tricks with it such as adding colour, padding (borders), margins, and changing fonts.  

A good grasp of CSS and HTML can make a half-decent looking website. However, if you really want to be a developer, you’re going to have to learn some real programming languages too!  

To learn to use CSS like a pro, check out this awesome guide to getting started with CSS.
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Learning JavaScript 

Let’s not sugar coat it. If you want to learn how to start coding to a high level, you’re going to need a good knowledge of JavaScript. 

When learning how to code, JavaScript is a must. It’s everywhere. These days, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a company who doesn’t want some kind of online presence. JavaScript will be used to build most of their applications and websites. 

Being such a widely used programming language, job opportunities are great for someone who’s skilled at programming in JavaScript. That said, in a recent survey of developers by StackOverflow, it was found that a massive 62.5% of respondents said that they used it. 

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This means that finding a JavaScript job is going to be hugely competitive too. It will be worth it though. PayScale estimate that the average salary of a JavaScript web developer is almost $60,000. There’s lots of money to be made if you’re good!
how to start coding

JavaScript adds interactive features to your list of web developer tools. These might be games or responses to text being entered – that kind of thing. 

You can start out by making small adjustments to your basic HTML webpages. These can include welcome messages and image changes. However, you can progress to making full three-dimensional games if you get good enough at coding in JavaScript! 

If learning JavaScript is the next step in your career or hobby development, check out this interactive guide all about this diverse programming language. 

How to Code for Beginners: Building Your First Website 

If you followed all the steps in this how to start coding guide so far, you should now be ready to actually build a high quality, professional-looking website. I estimate that it should have taken you around two months total to get to this point. If you’re a little ahead or behind, don’t worry. It’s more important that you fully understand everything you learn.  

There are loads of good things you can do to continue advancing your learning at this point though. Some of them include: 

  • Learn more about debugging programs and sites using the Chrome developer tools.  
  • Find and attend meetups about coding and using JavaScript in your local area. 
  • Learn about synchronous and asynchronous JavaScript.  
  • Learn about event loops – this will open your eyes to a whole load more great stuff you can do with JavaScript.  
  • Download and study node.js and npm. These tools are great for all aspiring web developers. 
  • Learn about React.js.
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  • Read as many coding articles you can on sites like Medium. There are loads of different levels, but your understanding of industry jargon should be pretty good by now! 
  • Learn all about servers and backend concepts in greater detail.  
  • Get a raspberryPi and start tinkering with it. You can now try to build your own server! 

What to Learn Next? 

After learning these basic coding languages and concepts, you’ll be starting to get a feel of what you’re good at and what you like to create using code. Below are some of the next areas you should consider studying:  

  • Learn how to use Git and GitHub. After familiarising yourself with these tools, you can sign up for a GitHub account and start making commits. Employers often favour active GitHub users.  
  • SQL – if you love the heavy database stuff, SQL is a great programming language to learn. Since practically every application uses databases in some way, SQL programming knowledge is a great skill to have. 
  • Solidity – the programming language of the Ethereum blockchain is a particularly good one to learn. It’s used to implement smart contracts and Ethereum developers with such skills are in high demand right now. It’s only a matter of time before someone develops a killer dApp application on the Ethereum network using Solidity – it could be you! 
  • jQuery – jQuery is like a tool box for JavaScript developers. It’s basically been developed to speed up typing JavaScript code. Many tasks are grouped together to mean they can be added with a single line of code. 
  • Swift – Swift is the programming language of iOS applications. Since Apple products are so consistently popular, being a skilled Swift coder will certainly land a great job. What’s more, iOS applications are generally a lot more profitable than those that appear on Google Play or other such application stores. 

Landing that Job! 

After a few solid months spent trying to learn coding, you should be ready to enter the professional sector as a web developer. It’s important to update your LinkedIn profile and CV with your new skills and make them both look great.  

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You can also start applying for jobs and recruitment agencies at this point. Hopefully, these skills will be enough to get you plenty of interviews. I advise applying to companies directly or through LinkedIn. Job advertisement boards like Monster.com aren’t all they cracked up to be. Congratulations and good luck out there! 

Conclusion 

So, that’s my crash course on how to start coding. I hope you discovered exactly how to get started in this exciting field. If you’re just reaching this conclusion after completing each of the steps, then give yourself a pat on the back! You must have worked hard! 

However, this is just the beginning of your education. The thing with technology is that it doesn’t stay the same for long. This is particularly true with web development. New frameworks and libraries are constantly being released for JavaScript meaning there is always something new to learn. Then there are loads of different programming languages. Realistically, your efforts to learn coding are only just beginning! 

This guide should have given you a solid understanding of how everything in computer science fits together though. All the extra things you learn going forward will slot into place much more easily with such a base of knowledge.  

Above all, remember that programming and coding is all about solving problems. You’ve been given a great set of tools to start solving problems that arise when you’re building applications and websites. New tools will come along that will make things easier, but your foundation is there already. 

That’s all we’ve time for today in this learn how to start coding guide. Now that we’re all done, what are your thoughts? You now know how to start coding! Do you think you have what it takes to learn web development? I’d love to hear what you think about this guide in the comments below! 

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