Five things you should know before you learn code.

Download / By Kamil Lehmann

1-Organization

I wish I knew that there should be an organized way to approach learning code, and that learning code wasn’t just about learning in isolation—it is about building knowledge upon knowledge.

I wouldn’t have tried to learn more complex languages like Python before learning about HTML/CSS, the foundation of the web.

You should know about sites like Codeacademy which organize code learning in a structured, and fun fashion. You should know about Bentobox, something that offers you a structured plan to approach learning code.

2-Free resources

I wish I knew just how many free resources were out there to learn code. It would have helped me get a sense of what learning could be done, and where I could go.

You should take a look at things like reSRC, an online directory of free resources to learn code, and this list of 31 free resources to learn how to code.

3-Frameworks

I wish I knew that a lot of coding was built around frameworks, coding templates which set the foundation for easier coding. I wish I knew that one of the cardinal rules of coding was “Don’t Repeat Yourself”—and that means that if someone has built a solution already, go ahead and use it.

Frameworks make coding easier. They build a foundation that you can wrap around your code and play with—invaluable if you’re just beginning to learn how to code.

You should take a look at frameworks such as JQuery, which simplifies interactive elements of a website, and Bootstrap, which simplifies how you style a website.

4-Mentors

I wish I knew just how valuable it was having somebody around who knew what they were doing. When I got stuck, I finally approached some programmers I knew, and they helped me immensely.

You should look for mentors or programs like Ladies Learning Code where you are connected with some.

5-Learning by doing

I wish I knew just how much easier learning code would be if I thought about building projects, and getting my code to fit those practical applications.

Nothing beats struggling through Q and A forums like StackOverflow, looking desperately for the right answer and finding it. The learning you’ll get will flow naturally.

You should look for a great idea, and try to build something to learn code. You’ll be adding to the foundation of the Internet, while learning at the same time.

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These are the things I wish I knew about learning code before I embarked on my journey. It’s far from complete, but looking back, any one of these steps would have helped me learn faster, and would’ve gotten me to be where I want to be in the future—now.

Getting the learning right allows you to build the future you envision, giving you a voice in the participatory process that is the modern digital economy. It empowers you to build what you can: getting it right can mean the difference between the ideas you see through to fruition , to those you have seen languish behind. Don’t hesitate to start now.

 

The author

Roger is an entrepreneur who has co-founded a social network entitled ThoughtBasin that looks to connect students looking to make a difference with organizations looking for difference makers. This experience has given him some setbacks, but also some priceless insights. He is deferring admission from the law school of University of Toronto to pursue his dream of creating impact through entrepreneurship, and he is constantly looking to learn and create, and to do more. He contributes to social entrepreneurship projects with his fellow Global Shapers, coordinates a volunteer tutoring site, and on his off time he unwinds by reading, writing, and dancing---sometimes, all at the same time. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Rogerh1991.