Yes – you can learn to code, and here’s how to get started today

Yes – you can learn to code, and here’s how to get started today

coding

I’ve heard too many people say, “I wish I knew how to code!” recently, and my response is always the same. You can learn, for free, and before you know it you’ll be looking back in a few months and find yourself coding on a regular basis. It’s not rocket science and there are more solid (i.e. actually good) free tutorials online to get you started than ever before.

What I think gets some people overwhelmed is trying to figure out what programming language they want to learn and why…so I’ll break it down for you and in my biased opinion, tell you which language to learn based on what you want to do.

Frontend vs. Backend

The difference between these two words is where I find most people get stuck, which is right for you? First, what the heck do each of these terms mean?

Frontend development usually means learning things like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, i.e. building websites and user interfaces that people can interact with in a web browser. You can also hear people associate “client-side” with frontend.

Backend development usually means learning languages like Python, Java, Node.js, etc. and writing code that runs using a compiler or interpreter. You can also hear people associating “server-side” with backend.

A developer might argue that my definitions above are too broad but I want to keep it simple since making it longer or more complex only increases the complexity for you to get started.

So which is right for you?

Here’s the question I usually ask people. Do you want to :

  1. build web pages or visual user interfaces the people can interact with through a browser
  2. write programs that processes or do something cool with data (text or numbers, or both!)

If you’re gravitating towards #1, start with Frontend. If #2 is calling you start with Backend.

Okay, so which language should you learn?

This is where I’m going to let my own personal bias make your decision process a lot easier. Don’t worry, I’ll back it up with some data below.

If you’re going to take a dive into Frontend development, you should learn JavaScript. If you want to learn Backend development, you should learn Python.

Oh and like I said, you can learn for free and honestly if you spend a few hours this week going through one of these free tutorials, you will be able to start coding on your own, writing your own unique programs this month. So here are the two completely free tutorials that I recommend:

Frontend/JavaScript – https://javascript30.com/

Backend/Python – https://www.codecademy.com/learn/learn-python

Okay, you can stop here and jump into a tutorial right now…or if you want to know why I picked Javascript for Frontend and Python for backend, read on.

Why JavaScript?

JavaScript isn’t just the most popular frontend programming language in the world, it also happens to be the most popular programming language in the world, period. Also when it comes to Frontend development, there’s no argument, JavaScript is the language to learn, full stop. That was an easy one!

Okay, but why Python?

Unlike Frontend, there are actually a lot of choices out there when it comes to go-to backend languages for people. C/C++ were a mainstay for a long time, then Java came and stole the spotlight, and over the last few years Python has emerged as the fastest growing programming language, i.e. more people are adopting Python than any other backend languages. Normally top Computer Science departments have used either Java or C++ as their go-to language, now many are moving to Python (read more here).

Now what?

Stop reading this post and start learning either Javascript or Python, then come back a week or two from now and share with me what you built, happy coding, and keep reminding yourself, yes you can!

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