Learning to code can be difficult at first, and somewhat overwhelming. There’s a lot of information to take in and it can really feel like you just walked into another country and can’t speak the language.
I started learning to code in 2015. Looking back on those first days and months of coding, I laugh because I felt like such a newbie. Everything was new and it was a challenge. Challenges though, are meant to be overcome. With great tools, these challenges can be overcome with ease.
I’ve been asked several times to list the sources that helped me the most in my journey of learning to code. I have discovered a few good ones over the years…these are resources I’ve actually used. I’m going to attempt in this article to break it down into my Top 5.
I know, I know…. I just added two things. But both of these fall into the category of ‘development environments’. I like them both for the same reasons, but also for different ones. I’ll list the similarities first.
1. Both are super great development environments for beginners. There’s no setup, no downloads, no command line prompts and all the fuss. Both are simply type code, run code.
2. Both have a preview section to see what your code is doing. This is extremely important to have so you can see if your code is working or not.
3. Both Codepen and JS.do are very user friendly, easy to navigate, and self-explanatory.
4. Best of all: both are FREE!! Who doesn’t like something for free??
I don’t know about you, but some days, when I’m done with staring at the computer screen, my thoughts are most likely still churning about a bug I have to fix or I find that I’m hungry for more information on that new library I was hearing about. This is where I found programming eBooks to be perfect. They’re like having a set of encyclopedias ready for when you need to know anything about code.
My favorite eBooks are from Syncfusion. I would download them to my Kindle and take them with me everywhere. So many of these books helped fill in the blanks where I was missing some of the basic concepts or helped me with something as simple as how does a function actually work. There’s no limit to how many you can download from Syncfusion, no catches or hidden fees. If you don’t have a Kindle, Syncfusion has a free app too for Apple, Google and Microsoft users. Be sure to take a look!
Yep, you read that right: Twitter is one of my favorites. There are so many people sharing great articles, helpful blog posts, and just good information about coding on Twitter. My Twitter timeline is full of how-to’s and project blogs and I would just devour all of it when I had down time. I found that even if I didn’t understand everything in the article or blog, I would read it anyway and there was usually something I could use later.
I always heard when I first started learning to code, ‘Use Google, you’ll find answers there.’ or ‘Google everything.’ So I used Google. It wasn’t until one day I inadvertently searched for my coding problem on Bing, that I realized that Bing gives away points for every search. Those points that you earn searching for answers to the bug that’s stuck in your code, turn into gift cards to either Amazon, Starbucks, iTunes, or whatever else suits your fancy! So I signed up for a free Microsoft account and have earned over 63,000 points since I signed up.
I’ve turned the points I have earned into donations for Girls Who Code and Code.org as well as $5.00 and $10.00 gift cards to Starbucks and Amazon. Why wouldn’t you sign up for that?
I hope that you find these things useful and that they truly help you as they have helped me. Be sure to check back soon and read some of my future articles about anything and everything code!