“Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand.” - Martin Fowler
Do you know what a computer programmer does? Is programming alien to you? Do you need to be a tech whizz to program computers? Is code only something you see in films? Is HTML just a set of letters?
Then this article is for you.
Programming languages are different from natural languages, but they’re still capable of incredible things. With so many people in possession of a computer, there’s never been a better time to learn how to code.
It’s a good idea to learn not only how to use computers, but also how to program them as it’s a useful skill to have on your CV. While some may dismiss this as geeky, with computers playing an increasingly important role in our everyday lives, the geeks shall inherit the earth.
To learn how to program, you can study online and in books or get help from private tutors. Tutoring is available in-person and online.
In this article, we'll look at what coding is, where on the web you can learn more about it, how videos on YouTube can help, and how practice makes perfect when it comes to learning about software development and programming.
What is Coding?
If you’re an absolute beginner, you mightn’t even be certain what coding is, but it plays a vital role in our everyday lives whether we understand it or not. Programming languages aren’t just for natural-born programmers, far from it.
Coding (or programming) is essentially writing in a programming language so that we can give computers instructions on what to do. A computer will follow lines of code in a given language to perform certain actions and tasks. Scripts are grouped lines of code.
By learning how to code, you can also learn more about computers. There are different types of coding for different sectors. Finance, insurance, e-commerce, science, and admin all rely on coding.
As you can see, there are so many fields you can work in with a knowledge of programming. Learning to code can help you get ahead in your career or even completely change careers.
Interested in learning how to code online?
Learning How to Program with Dedicated Websites
Every developer has to start somewhere when it comes to learning how to code.
Since you’ll program on a computer, why not learn on a computer?
There are websites designed with this in mind. Here are some of our favourites.
OpenClassrooms is a website that offers educational courses in IT, technology, and digital skills and you can access it via your computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Handy, isn’t it?
There’s also a useful forum where students can chat with each other. You can earn a bachelor’s- or master’s level diploma and there are also weekly one-on-one sessions with experts in the field.
For those with a higher level, there’s Python training, too. The classes on OpenClassrooms are designed with getting you a job and there’s even a money-back guarantee if you don’t find work within 6 months of completing your course.
Codecademy is a site about programming and learning to code through interactive exercises. You can learn Python, HTML, PHP, and several other major programming languages.
There are free courses as well as members-only courses that only paying members can enjoy. It’s a good way to get started with coding as well as specialise in certain languages.
For those wanting to get started with programming, Code.org is one of the best sites. While it’s designed with school students in mind, there’s nothing to stop beginners benefitting from it.
The courses are designed for beginners so it’s useful for learning about C, Visual Studio, CSS, etc. and it’s also free.
There are courses for people as young as 4 years old, too, so it’s also great for kids
What better way for them to learn about programming?
Are you looking for a site to learn about programming? Web development? Python?
Coursera might be what you’re looking for. This website has plenty of courses from schools and universities all over the world for all levels. Courses on Coursera are often free (though you do have to pay for the diploma) and all learning takes place completely online.
Learn to Code Online with YouTube
Programming websites aren’t the only place you can learn how to code. You can also learn how to code through videos.
More and more people, especially visual learners, are choosing to learn through videos and visual media. Let’s not forget that you can only read and write programming languages, not speak them so learning via video tutorials is an interesting option and when it comes to video content, YouTube is king.
There are quite a few YouTube channels dedicated to programming and learning how to code. Here are some of our favourites:
- Adam Khoury
- Derek Banas
- And many others.
YouTube videos are a cheap and effective way to learn how to program. There are plenty of content creators and tutors making videos on the topic, too, so whether it’s Visual Basic, Java, or Python, you’ll be able to find some useful videos.
Learn to Code Online by Practising
While video content is one of the best ways to learn, an even better way to get better at programming is by practising.
You’ll want to be able to code without having to follow a video tutorial or a teacher online. When you’re done with online courses or video tutorials, try coding on your own to make sure that all the information has gone in. Over time, it’ll all become second nature to you.
So are you ready to learn how to code?
There are thousands of tutors available to teach plenty of different types of programming and programming languages and you can get face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, or group tutorials. Each type of tutorial comes with advantages and disadvantages so you should know the pros and cons of each before hiring your private tutor.
Group tutorials are great for those on a budget as you can share the cost of the lessons between the other students in the class. Of course, this means you can't guarantee that every session will be tailored to you, what you want to learn, and how you like to learn, but it should be substantially cheaper than some of the other options.
Face-to-face tutorials, on the other hand, tend to be the costliest option. However, this is because you're paying for a bespoke service and a tutor that tailors each lesson to you and your preferred learning style. Furthermore, the tutor will often travel to their students and this cost is factored into their rates. Generally, face-to-face tutorials are the most cost-effective as every minute of the tutor's time is spent focusing on the student.
Finally, online tutorials are a cheaper alternative to in-person tutorials. With one-on-one online tutorials, the tutor doesn't have to travel and can schedule more sessions each week so they tend to charge the students less per hour. Online group tutorials are also usually cheaper than their in-person counterparts but they do suffer from the same drawbacks.
Many of the tutors on Superprof offer the first lesson for free so use this time to discuss what you want out of your tutorials, how you like to learn, and what you need to learn. The potential tutor can explain how they like to work, what they charge, and how they can help you.
It's always a good idea to outline what you're looking for in a tutor before you start contacting them and establish a budget and the criteria. As for the budget, tutors' rates are affected by where they operate, what they teach, the levels they teach, their qualifications, and their experience as a tutor.
When it comes to finally pick your tutor, it can be useful to go with your gut as long as they're within your budget and meet your other criteria. After all, you'll learn much better from somebody you get along with than somebody you don't like so see if they leave a good impression after the first time you meet them.