wednesday six - so you want to learn to code?


I am often asked by my friends where I learnt and how I learnt to code, for it has been a combination trial and error, problem solving, google and self education. I have since used a couple of resources to round out my knowledge. Be aware that there are hundreds of different programming languages out there which all have a different purpose. Find out what languages you want to learn first then work from there. My programming skills lie in front end engineering and development and I can fluently read and write HTML/HTML5, CSS/CSS3, JavaScript/JQuery and PHP. I have working knowledge of SASS and Binary and I am currently learning Ruby and Python. SO this post will focus on coding and resources for web development.

I cannot stress the importance of problem solving enough. Programming and coding at its core is just a way to solve a problem, and languages evolve, so it becomes easier to solve those problems. A big part programming is identifying the problem and fixing it. Treat learning to code like a problem: define the problem (I want to know how to make a website), do your research and find a solution that works for you.
Google (Free)
I am putting Google first because this is how I learnt to read and write code. I wouldn't recommend it if you are starting from scratch because there is just so much out there. But, one Google search can return a myriad of resources for front end development and it is your best bet for finding a quick answer. Find out what the problem is and type into Google, you're bound to find an answer to your problem.
Treehouse ($$/month)
After using Treehouse for nearly 3 years and it still continues to impress me. With a comprehensive range of in depth courses covering everything from web development, iOS app design, business development and game design that encompass all facets of the particular skill. They also have courses for specific languages including HTML, CSS, Javascript, Swift, Ruby and more. Whilst it does cost around $30/month if you have the funds it is well worth the investment.
Code Academy (Free)
I've been using code academy on and off over the last couple of months and I have found it is great if you are looking for something very hands on. Its focus is mainly on web development and each stage features an interactive component that tests your knowledge. The only downside I have found is the instructions for the each of the steps are not always clear which can result in errors. I haven't had a problem with it, but I dare say that's because I already understand the semantics of the languages I'm learning. A big bonus is that it is free.
Front-end Handbook (Free)
This book is wordy and very detailed, but it provides an in depth look at the best practices for front-end engineering and lists some great resources. If you haven't ever had anything to do with programming it may be overwhelming, but it is a great tool to further your skills. If you're a geek about front end engineering (like me) you will love this.
W3C Schools (Free)
Run by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) the international authority on web standards. The W3Schools has a comprehensive range of tutorials and an array of information about HTML, CSS, Javascript, Server Side languages, and much more. It's easy to navigate and find what you're looking for. I have found this to be a great reference for when I need to check cross browser compatibility and I essentially use it like a dictionary.
Khan Academy (Free)
one of the original resources for computer programming Khan Academy offers a self paced program with practice exercises, and tutorial videos. I haven't used Khan Academy but have heard it's a great starting point for people with no experience.
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