Blog

My Top 5 Favorite Resources for Learning to Code

April 29, 2020

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.

Number 1: Mozilla Developer Network WebDocs

I love the Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) WebDocs because it’s very to-the-point and concise. I needed that desperately when I started learning to code. I like that they’ve broken it down into sections, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and sub-sections beyond that. They give clear instructions on how to use a JavaScript function or how to write a JavaScript Object, for example. They also include links to a testing environment to try it out for yourself. I tell everyone who asks me, “What is your ‘go-to’?”, this website will become your best friend so make sure you bookmark it!

Check out Mozilla Developer Network here!

Number 2: Codepen.io and JS.do

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??

But the difference between the two though is really simple. Codepen is more full service where you can develop your entire project right there in one pen. Your HTML, CSS and JavaScript can all get along happily and you don’t ever have to leave the page. JS.do is more of a ‘test this block of code’ environment. I most often use both Codepen and JS.do in tandem; building my entire project in Codepen, while copying and pasting a section of my code into JS.do. This is how I determined if my code was working or if I had a problem. I’ve included a link below to one of my favorite projects that I built, the Game of Life.

Codepen.io
JS.do

See the Pen FCC Game of Life in React.js by CandiW (@CandiW) on CodePen.

Number 3: Syncfusion E-books

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!

Syncfusion

Number 4: Twitter

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.

Whether you’re into JavaScript, Python, Ruby or another programming language, there is something for everyone on Twitter. I would simply search what language you’re working on and you’ll find all sorts of great accounts to follow. Here’s a short list of some of my favorites:

JavaScript Daily
CSS-Tricks
Codepen.io

Number 5: Bing Search Engine

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?

Bing.com

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!


GitHub CodePen

Created with HTML5, CSS3, Bootstrap3 &. JavaScript