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Learn to Code in 2024 :P


Learning to code is hard even at the best of times; be it the stimulus overload choosing between the millions of available resources, the uncertainty as to whether or not you will be recognized by prospective employers, or even just the raw challenge of navigating a new programming language for the first time. There are countless ever-higher hurdles you need to jump so to get an edge in an industry that is constantly evolving. It’s tough.

And I’ve been there, seated in the swamps of despair, smacking my head against the wall because I was stuck on one or another programming concepts that I felt impossible to wrap my head around.

Eventually however, I prevailed, and have been happily working as a Software Developer in tech ever since. Yet, there are numerous things I would do differently given the chance to relive my experience. And that is what I will be documenting in this article; how I would learn to code in 2024 (if I could start over).

Watch the video version of this article here ->

Chapter 1: A Word for the Wise

The journey of self-education in coding is a bold and ambitious endeavor, marked by its own set of challenges and rewards. As you embark on this journey, it’s vital to brace yourself for the hurdles ahead. The realm of coding is not just about understanding syntax; it’s about problem-solving, logic building, and continuous adaptation to new technologies and methodologies.

Self-teaching, especially in a field as dynamic and fast-evolving as technology, requires a strategic and structured approach. Unlike traditional educational settings, self-directed learning in coding means you are the architect of your educational journey. You must navigate through a sea of resources, identify the most relevant and up-to-date materials, and meticulously craft your learning path. To do this effectively, start by envisioning your end goal. Whether it’s becoming a full-stack developer, a data scientist, or a cybersecurity expert, your final objective will dictate your learning roadmap. Engage in reverse engineering: start with the desired outcome and work backward to identify the steps and resources that will lead you there.

Chapter 2: Where to Begin

For many aspiring coders, the question of where to begin can be daunting. The field of web development is a common entry point, offering a blend of creative and technical challenges. Start with the basics: HTML and CSS. These foundational languages are the building blocks of the web, empowering you to structure content and bring design to life.

Once you’ve grasped the basics of HTML and CSS, it’s time to bring interactivity and complexity into your projects with JavaScript. This versatile language completes the core trilogy of web development. However, learning these languages is just the first step. The real learning happens when you apply these skills in building projects. For instance, creating a web portfolio not only consolidates your learning but also acts as a showcase of your skills. It’s a practical testament to your abilities, serving as a dynamic resume for potential employers.

Be sure to check out the companion guide for this roadmap!

Chapter 3: Full Stack Development

Transitioning from a beginner to a seasoned developer, you’ll encounter the comprehensive and demanding world of full-stack development. This domain requires proficiency in both front-end and back-end technologies, enabling you to build and manage complete web applications.

Front-end development focuses on user interface and user experience. It’s about creating the part of the app that users interact with. Here, mastering JavaScript frameworks like React and Next.js can provide a significant edge. These frameworks simplify the process of building dynamic and responsive user interfaces.

On the flip side, back-end development is about the server-side, where all the data processing happens. It involves managing databases, server logic, and API integration. For those inclined towards this backend universe, getting comfortable with Node.js and Express is a great starting point. These technologies, built on JavaScript, streamline the development of server-side applications.

As you delve into full-stack development, the importance of understanding version control systems like Git and platforms like GitHub cannot be overstated. These tools are not just about keeping track of code changes; they are about collaboration, transparency, and maintaining a robust codebase.

Chapter 4: Credibility Through Projects

In the world of coding, your work speaks louder than any credential. As a self-taught developer, your projects are the pillars of your credibility. They demonstrate your ability to apply coding concepts to solve real-world problems creatively and effectively. A diverse portfolio showcasing a range of projects — whether it’s a dynamic web application, a mobile app, or a software solution — underscores your technical skills and problem-solving capabilities.

Employers are not just looking for coders; they seek innovators, problem solvers, and thinkers. Your projects should reflect not only your coding prowess but also your ability to envision, design, and execute complex projects. Each project you undertake is an opportunity to display your skills, your approach to problem-solving, and your capacity to learn and adapt.

Chapter 5: Landing a Job

Securing a job in the tech industry is a multi-faceted endeavor that extends beyond coding skills. The job application process is a phase where your technical abilities, your presentation skills, and your strategic approach are put to the test. Crafting a well-structured resume, writing personalized cover letters, and having a proactive approach to job applications are pivotal steps in this phase.

A resume is your first impression. It should be clear, concise, and tailored to reflect the skills and experiences relevant to the job you’re applying for. Remember, recruiters often skim through resumes, so highlighting your key skills and achievements is crucial.

Cover letters provide a unique opportunity to tell your story, to connect your skills and experiences with the job requirements. Leverage AI tools to craft compelling cover letters, but ensure they resonate with your personal story and professional journey.

Networking is a powerful tool in the job hunt. Engage with the tech community, participate in discussions, and reach out to potential employers or recruiters through professional platforms like LinkedIn. Sometimes, opportunities come from connections and conversations, not just job boards.

Chapter 6: The Art of Memorizing Code

One of the misconceptions in the early stages of learning to code is the emphasis on memorizing code. It’s crucial to understand that coding is not about memorization; it’s about understanding concepts, logic, and problem-solving strategies. Instead of rote learning, focus on project-based learning and active application of concepts.

Documenting your code through comprehensive comments is not just good practice; it’s a learning tool. It helps you and others understand the logic and functionality of your code, making it easier to review, debug, and improve. Additionally, maintaining a well-organized repository of your projects on platforms like GitHub not only showcases your work to potential employers but also serves as a personal knowledge base. You can reference your past projects and code snippets, saving time and streamlining your development process.

Over time, frequent coding and application of concepts will lead to a natural memorization of commonly used patterns and solutions. This organic learning process is more effective and enduring than trying to memorize code without context.

Chapter 7: Community and Continuous Learning

Coding is not a solitary journey. The tech community is a vibrant and supportive space where you can find encouragement, inspiration, and assistance. Whether you’re facing a challenging bug, exploring a new technology, or sharing your latest project, the community is there to support and uplift you.

Continuous learning is the cornerstone of a successful career in tech. The industry evolves rapidly, with new technologies, tools, and best practices emerging regularly. Embrace this dynamic nature of tech by staying curious, open-minded, and proactive in your learning journey. Participate in coding challenges, contribute to open-source projects, or simply engage in discussions about the latest tech trends.

As you navigate your path in the world of coding, remember that resilience, persistence, and a passion for learning are your greatest allies. Celebrate your progress, learn from setbacks, and keep pushing the boundaries of your abilities. The world of coding offers endless opportunities for growth, innovation, and impact — seize them.

Thanks for reading!