Learning to Code 101

So, you’ve decided you like technology, or maybe you just want to be more digitally fluent; regardless, you want to learn to code but you don’t know where to start. There are so many programming languages to learn, and it all seems so complex! Don’t worry. This is exactly where everyone starts, and if you want to learn–- that’s the first step already completed. Learning to code can seem incredibly overwhelming, and as someone learning, I can understand the exact position you may be in. So, if you want to learn what it really means to code and how to get started, keep reading!

To begin, your first question might be, “how does coding even really work?” While computers seem like superior thinking machines, they are really nothing without the developers that tell them exactly what to do through special commands. These commands are issued through programming languages which are developed through a series of numerical or alphabetic codes and instruct machines to complete specific actions. Computer programming is essentially like a manual for your computer!

You – the programmer or developer, will write instructions describing information and tasks needed to create a visual or perform a task. This is exactly what coding is. Your computer then scans your code extremely quickly and executes the tasks you tell it to do.

So now we know what a programming language is, and what coding means, but what are the options of languages to learn, and which one should you start with?

You may have heard of binary code – it’s comprised of a series of 1s and 0s and is used to communicate instructions. It’s the lowest-level programming language where each digit in a coded sequence connects to switches in your computer – 1 for on, 0 for off. Together, a large system of thousands of these 1s and 0s can operate a device. High-level code is probably what you mean when you say you want to learn to code. High-level code enables you to communicate with your computer much like human language. These high-level codes or programming languages turn human language into binary code so that computers can operate and understand even more complex tasks.

The kind of programming language you might want to use can vary based on the output you want. For websites with user accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., backend developers (the software developers that write code to get a website to operate) will often use languages such as Structured Query Language, Java, and Python. Developers also use languages like Python, Objective-C, C#, and Swift to create apps for cell phones and computer software.

For beginners, I highly recommend you start your journey with Python as it can be used for anything from building websites, apps, and software programs to complex databases and is the most widely used and in high-demand language to know. To start off, there are a plethora of resources on the web to help you learn how to code, and it can start your journey very simply. Coding boot camps are great for beginners and will allow you to receive regular opportunities to develop your knowledge and get instruction. Degree programs are also available and can connect you to internship opportunities if that’s something you’re interested in. Another great place to start is with free open online courses, and many prestigious universities provide these across a wide variety of topics. You can take Introduction to Computer Science from Harvard for free! Not only this, but self-guided can also be the way to go. Websites like Mimo and CodeAcademy are great for teaching coding and programming languages at your own pace.

I’ll list a variety of resources and links to help you get ready!


Online Courses:


Notice: our website is not sponsoring, sponsored by, nor affiliated with any of the mentioned organizations, institutions, or companies. Happy coding!

Written by Mariah

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