How To Learn Coding Online: Benefits, Tips and Guidelines

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 25 November 2022 | Published 27 July 2021

Updated 25 November 2022

Published 27 July 2021

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.

Coding entails the process of writing and developing a script that instructs a computer on how to run a website, program or application. In today's age of digitalisation, coding is becoming an increasingly critical technical skill to develop across many industries, particularly in the highly dynamic and innovative tech industry. Understanding the best practices for learning how to code can help you develop this skill for a career in the technology sector. In this article, we discuss what coding is and outline the steps for how to learn coding online.

What is coding?

Any program you execute on an electronic device necessitates code to run. Applications and software work because a sophisticated script directs every operation. Programmers, developers or coders write and develop the said script. Coding is similar to writing the rules for a program. It involves the process of creating instructions for computers using programming languages that are then translated into machine code, allowing the computer to understand and execute the commands.

A programming language is simply a collection of syntax rules that specify how an individual may write and structure code. There are thousands of different programming languages available. Listed below are some of the most recognised and widely used programming languages:

  • Python

  • C/C++

  • Visual Basic

  • JavaScript

  • PHP

  • Java

  • C#

Related: What Does It Take To Be a Software Engineer?

How to learn coding online

Discussed below are some methods for how to learn coding online:

1. Assess why you want to learn to code

People choose to learn new skill sets for a variety of reasons. Knowing why you want to learn to code can help you narrow down your options for educational courses, coding languages to learn and applications for your new abilities. If you aspire to work as a professional developer or programmer, you may invest in a longer, more comprehensive curriculum. Otherwise, you may be satisfied with a few carefully curated online courses. Listed below are some strong reasons to learn how to code:

  • To increase your earning potential

  • To boost your qualifications and resume

  • To maximise your personal development by taking up a new hobby

  • To enhance your career flexibility and enable you to explore a potential career switch

  • To have improved self-sufficiency

  • To widen and enhance your brain's ability to process information

Related: Backend Developer Path: Steps on How To Become One

2. Select your programming language

Next, you can select a programming language to learn. Ultimately, you can determine your decision by your end goals and the types of projects you wish to embark on in the long run. For example, Swift and C are ideal languages for iOS app development, whereas Kotlin and Java are great for Android. If you wish to work with interactive websites, you can consider Javascript, Python, SQL or PHP. Alternatively, Unity and C# are two prominent programming languages used by video game creators.

If you're unsure which language to learn, you can take beginning courses in a few languages that attract you to see which one is the greatest fit for you. Be mindful to understand the fundamentals before diving into the details. You can become proficient in HTML, JavaScript and CSS before studying the more advanced languages.

3. Enrol in free online courses

You can look for a variety of free online coding courses on the internet. These classes enable you to learn to code on your own time and at your own pace. Several renowned universities, such as Harvard and MIT, also offer free courses to the public. Listed below are some places offering free online coding classes:

  • Coursera

  • Codeacademy

  • Khan Academy

  • The Odin Project

  • Code Avengers

  • MIT Open Courseware

  • edX

  • Udemy

  • GitHub

  • AGupieWare

  • Hack.pledge()

  • Web Fundamentals

  • Free Code Camp

  • Harvard Extension

  • LearnPython.org

4. Sign up for subscription-based courses

You can opt and pay for a subscription-based course if you want more personalised and comprehensive coding training. These courses frequently include an expert instructor who can teach at a pace you're comfortable with, answer your questions and walk you through the programme. You may subscribe to take basic lessons or sign up for professional certification courses.

5. Read coding books

Complement your online courses with a printed book or e-book that you can refer to often. Several books cover all the fundamental coding principles and may deliver a greater introduction to coding and offer better logical flow as opposed to randomly selecting courses online. Some books specialise in one area of coding, such as testing and debugging, while others provide broader and more general guidance. On coding sites, you can discover both free and paid premium e-books. Otherwise, you can visit a nearby bookstore to browse some printed books.

6. Follow coding news and blogs

Discover and follow the blog of a developer whose tone, mood, style and programming language you can connect to. Some programmers maintain their own blogs. Others are part of a blogging community. Following a blog can help you stay apprised of coding trends and learn from experts who have succeeded in a coding career.

7. Take part in interactive tutorials

While learning coding topics, complete examples and exercises in an interactive lesson if you prefer to try it out yourself. For example, some platforms can require you to complete a coding challenge before moving on to the next part of its courses. You may even have the opportunity to work with other people to improve your coding abilities and can create applications for free. This can help you acquire coding abilities and create tools to help address real-world challenges.

8. Participate in coding challenges

Coding problems are similar to arithmetic equations that you can solve. Practising coding through coding challenges can not only increase your level of expertise and enhance your abilities, but it may also prepare you for coding interviews if you choose to seek a code-related career. Oftentimes, coding interviews are quite similar to coding tasks that you can find online. On some sites, you may find a variety of coding challenges, some of which are free. You can take part in these challenges to hone your coding, analytical, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Related: 20 Common Scala Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

9. Watch coding videos

If you're a visual learner, you can easily discover and access both amateur and professional educational and informative videos on any coding topics. You can find step-by-step tutorial videos on the internet. You may also pay for video providers that provide professional and recognised material.

10. Play with coding toys and games

Many websites provide coding games that teach you the fundamentals of coding in a fun and creative manner. These tools can assist you in discovering the pleasure and practical applications of coding. Coding gadgets developed for children in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programmes can also help adults learn.

Some examples of these coding gadgets encompass Kano Computer Kit and the Gravity Maze Game. You can also hone your coding skills by playing games on places like Minecraft: Educational Edition and CodinGame, Code Master and Codewars. In these games, you may solve increasingly challenging puzzles and exercises, as well as enjoy a coding board game.

11. Learn computational thinking

Computational thinking refers to solving challenges in the same way as a computer. Computational thinking enables you to take a difficult problem, comprehend it and generate potential solutions. You can then present solutions in the manner understood by a machine, a person or both. Computational thinking covers topics like pattern, logic, automation, algorithms, recognition and generalisation, all of which may help you comprehend computer programming and coding better. Introductions to computational thinking are available on websites that offer online courses.

12. Reverse-engineer existing code

Reverse engineering can give you some valuable hands-on insights into programming. When you reverse-engineer a piece of code, you disassemble it to figure out how it works and how the original creator wrote the code. This can help you understand programming logic and write better code. To do this, you can find open-source code, disassemble it and then test each line to discover how it functions.

13. Teach your gadgets new abilities

Once you've acquired fundamental coding knowledge, put your skills to the test by designing customised programming for your smart devices. You may teach these devices new skills or actions they can perform when requested using basic programming. Examples include producing a chart and organising your calendar. This can allow you to incorporate programming into your daily life and apply your new skills to solve challenges or add convenience to your own life.

Related: Compiler vs. Interpreter (With Definitions and Differences)

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

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