Coding is an intimidating topic, that once demystified, reveals itself as being pretty straightforward. To some of us technophobes, the concept of coding imminently sends a confusing mass of green numbers flooding across our brains like the green rain from the Matrix. However, coding in practice isn’t so scary, it’s just the idea of it that causes discouragement. Just as the ostensibly complex green code in the Matrix turned out to be Japanese sushi recipes, coding is a skill that’s easier than meets the eye. The fear of the subject probably comes from the fact that it seems so esoteric, which we now know is an outdated belief. Thankfully, although coding may still be deemed as specialised, the skills for coding are certainly not inaccessible.
Computers programs rely on the language of code for programs, so coding, in essence, is used to tell a computer what to do. You can make all sorts of things with code, including computer games and apps. Microsoft creator Bill Gates said that he initially created software using code to have control over when the classes in his school would meet, so that he could decide which girls were in his class. Musician Will.I.Am went as far as to say that learning to read and write code should be mandatory, and although this is a contentious statement, coding is still an in-demand skill. With more and more appliances being controlled by computers, especially given the rise of IoT devices, it seems that coding will be necessary for a long time to come.
Computers run on binary code, but since this is difficult for people to work with, different coding languages translate the instructions into binary.
DailyTekk’s introductory video on coding has a very good basic introduction to the topic:
Microsoft Learning has also posted this short video entitled ‘What is coding?’:
Learning how to code is becoming increasingly more popular. Coding is no longer considered a niche interest for super geeks, but a skillset that can help all kinds of businesses.
Here are some websites where you can learn coding skills for free:
Codecademy defines itself as an education company and is probably the most popular site for learning how to code. It offers coding by language and subject, including HTML & CSS, jQuery, PHP, Python, and Ruby.
Coursera is a popular site for learning a variety of courses, so it’s no surprise that it is offering coding opportunities. Coursera has over 1,000 courses available from 119 institutions, and some of the courses require payment. However, there are a number of courses listed which are free.
edX is another great website dedicated to providing a wide range of courses for learners across the globe. There are 60 schools listed, and these are reputable institutions. Harvard University has created an Introduction to Computer Science among other options.
Udemy is a similar site, but has more of a focus on professional skills. This is great for building up your on-the-job skills, and like the aforementioned sites, has paid-for and free offerings. The courses Programming for Entrepreneurs – HTML & CSS and Introduction to Python Programming are sure to be useful for coding.
App developer AGupieWare has a range of coding courses available, and its curriculum is based on existing courses by leading US universities including Columbia and Berkeley. The current curriculum is split into five parts.
These sites are a great way to get started with coding. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg has stated that the most common misconception with computer science and programming is that “you have to learn this big body of information before you can do anything” and his advice is to “start small.”
Coding is a way to apply creativity practically, and would appeal to those who like to see tangible results. Seeing your own creation from implementing code can be an inspiring and rewarding experience, and these aforementioned websites can help to get anyone started in the world of coding.