Programming and web development are very marketable skills in today’s rising digital economy. While many employers don’t expect you to have coding skills, having them listed on your resume will certainly help make you stand out from others. And, even if you aren’t looking for a better job, what you learn from programming carries over into over disciplines. Thankfully, learning how to program is more attainable than ever. But you want it to be easier than easy, right? Here are four tips that will make learning how to program even easier.
Take Advantage of Free Resources
These days, everyone knows about Codecademy, Coursera, and YouTube tutorials. These, and others of their ilk, get recommended by anyone and everyone who’s learned web development. And, while it’s true that you don’t necessarily need to go to a four-year university to get the skills necessary to be a programmer, these online courses aren’t the only resources out there. Don’t forget about the free resources you can find online. Amazon has many free Kindle books that you can read on your phone, tablet, computer, or Kindle, so have a look here for whatever topic you’re researching. Also, if you aren’t already familiar with the programming Q&A site Stack Overflow get acquainted—this site has answers for almost any question you could ask.
Join an Online Community
Of course, Stack Overflow isn’t the only community that’s great to peruse for programming tips. Your first go-to should be Reddit, where you can find communities built around nearly any topic imaginable, including learning how to program. You should be able to find more specific communities on Reddit, as well. As far as other websites, Quora is quickly becoming a rising star. Built similarly to Stackoverflow, Quora is also structured around questions and answers, but is more community-based and in some cases, simpler for beginners. Never underestimate the motivating power of being part of a community.
Join a Real-Life Community
As wonderful as being part of an online community can be, especially when learning something new, it can be a little difficult to understand things over the internet. What better way to learn a new subject than to talk about it with experts in person? When learning programming and web development, try your best to attend a hackathon or two. While you might not understand everything (or anything) that’s going on, immersion is a great way to learn new things. Additionally, you can try checking Meetup for any web dev meetings coming up in your area. The people you meet at these events may prove to be great contacts in the future, whether you’re looking for work or for a like-minded person to hang out with.
Search Google Smartly
When you’re learning how to program, you’re going to need answers to a lot of questions. A lot. While browsing through Stackoverflow posts and Reddit threads may prove useful much of the time, there will be many times in which there seems to be no answer to your problem. In this case, search Google. Wait, you already tried searching Google? If "searching Google" means simply plugging your search terms into the textbox, then you aren’t searching smartly. You might not know it, but there are tons of hidden tricks to making Google searches more precise and better directed. To find out more, check out Sam Atkinson’s post on DZone about becoming a better programmer by mastering Google.
These four tips for learning how to program aren’t going to make you a coding genius overnight. Don’t be fooled—learning how to program is easier than ever, but it’s still tough! At the least, these tips will make it just that much accessible for you.