I’ve said this to my non-techie friends countless times. It’s no secret that being able to code makes you a better job applicant, and a better entrepreneur. Hell, one techie taught a homeless man to code and now that man is making his first mobile application.
Learning to code elevates your professional life, and makes you more knowledgeable about the massive changes taking place in the technology sector that are poised to have an immense influence on human life.
(note: yes I realize that 3/5 of those links were Google projects)
But most folks are intimidated by coding. And it does seem intimidating at first. But peel away the obscurity and the difficulty, and you start to learn that coding, at least at its basic level, is a very manageable, learnable skill.
There are a lot of resources out there to teach you. I’ve found a couple to be particularly successful. Here’s my list of resources for learning to code, sorted by difficulty:
Never written a line of code before? No worries. Just visit one of these fine resources and follow their high-level tutorials. You won’t get into the nitty-gritty, but don’t worry about it for now:
Dash - by General Assembly
w3 Tutorials (start at HTML on the left sidebar and work your way down)
Now that you’ve gone through a handful of basic tutorials, it’s time to learn the fundamentals of actual, real-life coding problems. I’ve found these resources to be solid:
CodeAcademy - Ruby, Python, PHP
If you’re here, you’re capable of building things. You know the primitives. You know the logic control statements. You’re ready to start making real stuff take shape. Here are some different types of resources to turn you from someone who knows how to code, into a full-fledged programmer.
Sometimes, the challenges in programming aren’t how to make a language do a task, but just how to do the task in general. Like how to find an item in a very large, sorted list, without checking each element. Here are some resources for those types of problems
If you learned Python, Django is an amazing platform for creating quick-and-easy web applications. I’d highly suggest the tutorial - it’s one of the best I’ve ever used, and you have a web app up and running in less than an hour.
I’ve never used Rails, but it’s a very popular and powerful framework for creating web applications using Ruby. I’d suggest going through their guide to start getting down-and-dirty with Rails development.
If you know PHP, there’s an ocean of good stuff out there for you to learn how to make a full-fledged web application. Frameworks do a lot of work for you, and provide quick and easy guides to get up and running. I’d suggest the following:
Cake PHP Book
Symfony 2 - Get Started
Yii PHP - The Comprehensive Guide
If there’s one point I wanted to get across, it’s that it is easier than ever to learn to code. There are resources on every corner of the internet for potential programmers, and the benefits of learning even just the basics are monumental.
If you know of any additional, great resources that aren’t listed here, please feel free to tweet them to me @boomeyer.
Best of luck!