A Short Guide on How to Learn Coding in 7 Simple Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 10, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Information technology (IT) is a fast-paced and competitive industry that offers career opportunities that can be professionally and financially rewarding. To gain an advantage, many aspiring IT professionals boost their credentials by pursuing higher education, obtaining certifications, and developing relevant skills, such as cloud computing, data analytics, and programming. Knowing how to code may be helpful if you're considering a career in IT and you want to improve your chances of getting a job. In this article, we review seven steps on how to learn coding that you can follow and discuss the importance of possessing programming skills.

How to learn coding in 7 steps

Many professionals invest time and effort in courses and tutorials on how to learn coding because they recognize the value of this skill in advancing their careers. Learning programming can equip you with a set of invaluable skills that can be useful in almost every industry and help you thrive in your chosen profession. You can develop your coding skills in various ways, from online courses to in-person boot camps. Here are several steps you can follow to learn how to code:

1. Determine specific goals for learning coding

It's important to identify your goals for learning coding before you start studying any programming language. Doing this enables you to determine the languages to focus on and choose the right courses and certifications to complete. These may reduce the time, effort, and financial resources necessary for you to allot to develop your programming skills.

Your goals may be task- or career-specific. For example, if your profession isn't in IT and you want to learn to code to be able to improve work efficiency, some of the languages you may consider are MySQL, Python, and Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). If you want to learn how to create websites, it may be a good idea to study HTML and CSS. And if you're looking to pursue a career in game development, learning C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, and HTML5 may give you an advantage.

Related: 5 Basic Programming Languages (Definition, Types, and Tips)

2. Learn HTML

HTML, or Hyper Text Markup Language, is the language that developers use to build websites. It's the foundation of web design and one of the most common programming languages that professionals use. It's also often the first language that instructors teach in many programming classes. HTML allows you to manipulate text, create webpages, and add design elements and other website content. It's a good starting point to learn programming.

HTML is typically easier to master because it lacks built-in logical constructs and doesn't require the application of mathematical concepts. Another reason is with HTML, you can readily see the outcome of your code without using compilers, which is a necessary step in other languages. Learning HTML can help you determine the path you want to take as you develop proficiency in coding. For example, if your interest is in creating algorithms, you may want to study JavaScript. If your strength is in layout and styling, it may be a good idea to branch out to CSS.

Related: 10 of the Most In-Demand Coding Languages for Your Career

3. Study C++

Developers use C++ to create complex programs and software. It's a structured language, which means that it instructs the computer to perform a series of actions in a specific order. It's also a general-purpose language that evolved from its original purpose as a teaching aid to coding to become one of the most widely used programming languages in the world. Its usage spans a wide range of applications, including web and mobile applications, video games, and even for private purposes such as creating operating systems. It's a good idea to learn C++ because it's a popular language for web development.

C++ is a safe choice if you're uncertain of which programming languages to specialize in or IT career path to pursue. Proficiency in C++ can expand your employment opportunities to include positions in non-IT sectors, such as banking and health care. Studying C++ early on can also help you become more familiar with programming. While it's more math oriented than HTML and generally harder to master, it may be more useful because of its concepts that are similar to those in languages that many IT professionals currently use, such as Java and JavaScript.

Related: Top 15 Careers in Programming (With Salaries and Job Duties)

4. Attend a coding boot camp

Coding boot camps are immersive programs that teach programming and web development. These may be online or in the form of in-person learning. Most boot camps are relatively short, intensive programs that can last anywhere from several weeks to a few months. Professionals with intensive programming experience often serve as instructors. The purpose of a coding boot camp is to help you quickly build a broad set of web development skills. While there are programs that focus on a specific programming language, most are a general overview of coding and web development.

A coding boot camp is a good way to learn to program because it enables you to learn at your own pace and often in the comfort of your own home. While it's similar to a traditional college course, it's typically shorter and less expensive. Some coding boot camps offer scholarships or financial aid to help individuals who might otherwise be unable to afford them. These programs offer a career pathway and often provide career placement services to students. You can search online for a coding boot camp that suits you in terms of course content, format, schedule, and cost.

5. Pursue formal education

One of the best ways to learn programming is by pursuing formal education, which may involve obtaining an associate's or bachelor's degree. Many IT professionals in programmer and software developer roles possess a degree in computer science or a related field, such as information technology or computer engineering. These degree programs help students learn fundamental coding concepts and the scientific, mathematical, and logical principles necessary to develop strong programming skills.

You can also learn to code by pursuing an associate degree in computer science, which can provide you with the foundation to further your education and pursue a career in programming. While a bachelor's degree is often necessary to get a job in IT, many employers also consider a candidate with an associate degree in a relevant field, such as computer programming, computer information systems, and information technology. Associate degree programs often take two years to complete and provide enough preparation for you to qualify for an entry level IT position as a web developer, computer programmer, or database designer.

Related: 14 Computer Science Salaries and Jobs (With Common Duties)

6. Take coding courses

There are numerous courses that can help you develop your coding skills. You can inquire about in-person programming classes at a technical school, community college, or university near you. You can also search for classes and lessons online. There are many free coding and programming courses spanning various specializations that you can find in online learning platforms. In some instances, these platforms partner with educational institutions to provide individuals with an interest in programming the opportunity to learn and earn certifications that they can add to their credentials.

While both online and in-person courses typically require a commitment in terms of time and effort, many people often choose to take virtual classes. The reason for this is these generally allow them to complete the course at their own pace. When deciding on a coding course to take, it's important to consider the organization offering it, its cost, and the requirements for completion.

7. Complete a programming project

After completing introductory programming courses, the next step is to work on a programming project to determine if you can apply what you learned. This is an effective method for developing your programming skills further and learning more about the language you're using. Programming projects are also a good way to build your portfolio, which is a collection of your work that demonstrates your programming skills to potential employers when you apply for a job.

You can find programming projects on a number of websites. There are also many online platforms that allow you to work on real-world projects with a community of people. Here are several coding projects for beginners that you can try:

  • Create a random number generator.

  • Construct an e-commerce website.

  • Make a simple JavaScript game.

  • Develop a responsive website.

  • Build a mobile app.

The importance of possessing programming skills

Proficiency in coding can help in career advancement. Programming is an in-demand skill that's a common requirement of IT companies and employers looking to fill positions in their IT department. It's also desirable in other industries.

Many organizations outside the tech sector recognize the value of coding and often prefer candidates who possess it. The reason for this is an individual who's proficient in programming typically possesses other useful skills, such as problem-solving, analysis, and critical thinking. They may also be able to perform tasks that can help a company achieve its business goals. For example, automating their work tasks may increase their productivity, which can benefit the business. They can also assist in developing and maintaining the company's website and apps.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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