Learn to Code: Resources for the Absolute Beginner

Learn to Code

Learning a new language of any kind is intimidating, especially something that seems as complicated as programming. But learning how to code isn’t impossible, and thanks to a variety of online resources, anyone can become code-literate. If you’re ambitious, have a solid foundation, and aren’t afraid to make mistakes, you’ll be set for success.

If you’re on the road to becoming a developer, learn as much as you possibly can and be comfortable with change – new programming technologies, tools, and methods are always popping up.

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Here’s a primer on some of the basics anyone starting their coding career should understand:

Code? Say What?

Code is the information interpreted to create computer software, apps and websites. In order to tell the computer what you want, you have to speak to the computer in a language it understands.

The two types of code to begin using in discovering how coding works are HTML and CSS. HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and is a computer language that allows website rendering. HTML is a series of characters typed into a text file by using tags.

Once the file is complete with code, it is saved and viewed through an internet browser. The browser then reads the file and translates the text into a visible format, your website. CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheet and is used along-side an HTML file to customize the style of your website. CSS brings all the colors, backgrounds, font sizes, and more to life.

Frontend Vs. Backend

Knowing the lingo is a huge part of learning how to code. Frontend is the development of those elements of a website that the customer sees and interacts with directly. In general, it’s a combination of programming skills and aesthetics, understanding element arrangements on the screen, the color and font choices. These visuals are a mix of HTML and CSS that we discussed earlier, as well as Javascript.

Backend is a part of the application that is never visible to the user and is built with use of server-side language and databases. Backend programs include Ruby, Python and Java. To simplify, frontend code interacts with the user in real time while backend code interacts with a server to return user ready results.

Java is Not JavaScript

Think of it this way: “Java is to JavaScript as car is to carpet.” Java is a backend programming language, while javascript is a frontend. Java can be used to create complete applications that may run on a single computer or be distributed among servers and clients in a network.

JavaScript is the most advanced language alongside HTML and CSS and enables us to interact with users in form of sliders, drop-down menus, quizzes, and many more interactive elements. With JavaScript, the sky’s the limit.

Get to Know Github

Wonder why developers love GitHub so much? GitHub is the best place to share code with friends, co-workers, classmates, and complete strangers. But to really understand GitHub, you need to understand what a “git” is. “Git” is a version control system. A version control system is when developers are creating something they are making constant changes to the code and releasing new versions, up to and after the first official release.

GitHub is more than a programmer’s tool: it is a collaboration between programmers, like a social networking site. You build a profile, upload projects to share and connect with other users by “following” their accounts. If you’re getting into programming, you should start to build your GitHub profile as soon as possible.

Utilize Your Resources

There are so many awesome resources out there to help you get going. Websites, online tutorials, and blogs can be incredibly useful for beginners as well as those who are already advancing in the field. Stack Overflow, Galvanize Tutorials, Treehouse, and Code School are great sites to learn step-by-step and understand the basics.

If you’d like to take a break from staring at your screen, grab a good book on programming. Learn to Program by Chris Pine is a great resource that covers a lot of introductory concepts in Ruby. Another great way to learn is by going to tech meetups in your area, where you can meet other learners face-to-face, build connections, and reinforce your drive to becoming a programmer.

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