How to start coding on your own in 8 simple steps

You are interested in coding, but you don’t know where to start? If you are still hesitating whether coding is for you, here’s a little guide with useful information on how to start your journey into coding, what to do when you get stuck and how to overcome problems.

<1> Set a goal

First, you need to make sure you know why you want to learn how to code. Our recommendation is to sit down for an hour and think about what’s driving you towards programming. Do you want to develop a new web platform, to make a big career change, or simply give your CV a little boost? Or maybe you just want to get better at solving problems and become more creative. Once you have set your goal, it’s time for step two.

<2> Chose your character

Depending on your objective, you will have to choose a coding language. While JavaScript, PHP or Python are considered more difficult, HTML, and CSS are some of the simplest languages to enter the world of coding. And while Swift or C are the best options to develop a mobile app, for interactive websites, you should consider learning JavaScript, PHP or Python.

But even if you are unsure about which programming language you should start with, it is best to start with something. Most of the languages are similar, and as soon as you’re comfortable with one, you will be able to learn the next one faster.

<3> Online courses

With online courses, you can learn the basics of coding in a fixed schedule or in your own pace. On pages like edX and Udemy, you can find a variety of (free) online classes providing professional insights in different programming languages, data and computer science, artificial intelligence and more. Some of the classes are done in partnership with big players like Microsoft, MIT or IBM. If you still can’t take your pick, we’ve prepared a collection of free online resources in different languages to browse through until you find the right one for you.

Or are you more interested in a one-on-one study session? In that case, you can find many personal tutors on the online platform Udacity.

Especially now during the pandemic, many courses are free of charge or at least cheaper. So, keep your eyes open for online classes to get you started.

<4> Let’s Code: Watching videos of other people coding

Another option that will surely get you into the world of coding in no time, is watching other people code. There are thousands of YouTube videos recorded by people who want to share their tips and experience, just learn from what they have to say. Still a bit confused? Have a look at our YouTube channel where we regularly share tutorials in numerous languages.

<5> Learning by doing

The best way to learn to code is, well, coding. Now that you’ve had your share of theory, it’s time to give practical online activities a try. Platforms like FreeCodeCamp, Code.org and Github give you access to numerous follow-along and open-source coding projects. From baby steps in Scratch and Minecraft to advanced projects like machine learning and scientific computing with Python, it’s all there. And in case you get overwhelmed, remember step <1>.

<6> Google your mistakes – and learn

If you’ve successfully started to code, sooner or later you may get to the point where something may not work just as you imagined. If you can’t solve the problem, you can always ask Google and find out if someone else had a similar if not the same issue. The coding community is larger than you might think, so there are plenty of people willing to help. If you’re looking for advice, join our Facebook Group.

<7> Practice makes perfect

After you start coding, you need to practice what you have learned. Start with something small. Soon enough, you will notice that you’re getting better and better and that you can take on bigger and more complicated projects. So, if you finished with one project, start a new one, try out the things you’ve learned and practice them. Step by step, you’re getting closer to your goal.

<8> If you get stuck, don’t give up

You may come to a point where you’re stuck, and nothing seems to help. In that case, you need to keep in mind that programming takes time. Don’t expect to program a new blockbuster video game overnight without any errors. Be patient with yourself and don’t give up – try again. After all, coding is about fun.