Learning to code can be a valuable skill to learn. Whether you’re learning it as a hobby or hoping to become an expert programmer in the tech industry, coding can serve a wide range of functions and be used for just about any job.

What is Coding?

Coding can allow someone to create or edit a computer code. To create code on a computer, one must use a programming language, which allows a person to create lines of code and develop what is called a script. 

Many programming languages can be used to code, from JavaScript to C, to Java and C++. The TIOBE programming community conducts a monthly ranking of the top programming languages. According to their January 2021 Index, the top five programming languages were: C, Java, Python, C++, and C#.

With so many programming languages available, it may, at first, seem confusing to know which is which — especially since there are many with similar names. However, each comes with its own set of distinct features that can allow coders to do different things. 

Which is the Right Programming Language for Me?

Finding the right programming language will be key to executing what you want to do. Furthermore, recognizing your current skills as well as the amount of time you are willing to dedicate to coding will also serve as guidance if you’re not sure of what interests you yet.

If you’re interested in learning how to make a website, then an interpreted language such as JavaScript or Python may be the ideal choice. Programming languages need to be compiled for the code to be executed, but interpreted languages simplify the process by running through the command after it is typed in. Interpreted languages also have simpler syntax and rules, which makes them easier languages for beginners. 

If a career in data science or computer engineering is your goal, then programming languages such as Java, C, or SQL may be a better option to learn. These languages require a compiler to code, which means that it isn’t automatically run after it is coded. However, this extra step can ultimately result in quicker and more efficient code.

In particular, Java may have more rules and may be more difficult to learn at first, but it can be a valuable program for building complex algorithms or working on application development. 

How do I Begin Coding?

Once you’ve decided on a programming language that you want to learn, you can truly get started on your journey with computer science. 

Beginning coders will find that there are a lot of free courses and programs available with just a simple Google Search. These programs can provide a simple foundation for learning coding terminology and syntax. They give you a steady hand so you can feel comfortable with coding without having the stress of trying to figure it all out at once.

If you’re finding yourself often on the go, then coding apps are also another option. You can learn specific programs or read through tutorials without having to lug a computer everywhere. Reading through samples of code can also be incredibly helpful as you’re able to pick up on the syntax and rules. 

And, of course, if your goal is to turn your knowledge of coding into a career as a software engineer or full-stack developer, training developed by WOZ U, is offered through several higher education learning delivery partners.

It may take time to learn about coding. However, similar to any language, it can be picked up after tons of practice. 

What do I do Once I Understand the Basics?

After you feel comfortable enough learning the basics, you can begin to work on your projects, whether it’s creating a website or developing an app. Projects will help put your skills to the test while also allowing you to be creative. 

If you find you have a question or need help while working on the project, then rest assured — you aren’t alone. There are many communities available to programmers for providing virtual guidance.

One of the biggest open communities is StackOverflow. StackOverflow comes with several community options for programmers, such as public and private question & answer sections, and a job search section. Coders can learn skills from one another and get answers to coding questions.

Joining a community can be crucial to coding, as it helps you realize you’re not alone in learning this brand new skill. Furthermore, it can lead to opportunities to expand your coding capabilities, such as programming competitions. 

Google hosts an annual competition, Hash Code, which allows for everyone — whether a beginner or an expert — to enter. People simply make teams and pick the programming language that they will be competing in, and Google will present an engineering problem needing to be solved. 

Overall, coding isn’t as abstract or complicated as it may seem. With so many programming languages, just about any person who learns to code will find a useful way to apply it. Plus, with a variety of resources available — coding courses, tutorials, app programs — you don’t have to learn coding in a formal class setting. In fact, it can become quite effortless.

Sophia Acevedo

Sophia Acevedo

Sophia Acevedo is a journalist based in Southern California. She is a 2020 graduate from California State University, Fullerton, and a proud Daily Titan alum.