A beginner’s guide to start coding

When I wanted to change my career and learn programming I felt happy and curious, but there was also a lot of other thoughts spinning around in my head: “I’m not a mathematical genius, nor am I that well trained in the world of design… so where should I begin?”

Image by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash.

The math myth ✖️

My math teacher during my years at high school actually told me “Emma, you should probably NOT pursue a career or any education that contains math or programming…” what a good and inspiring teacher, right? 🤣 🙄 …

Luckily I discovered many years later that programming is not necessarily about being good at math. Instead it’s this perfect combination between logic, creativity and design. It’s just another language, a way of communicating.

So I had found my passion, and I was longing to create something. But what, and how..? Programming seems really fun, but where do I begin..?

Sometimes all you need is a little inspiration ✨

One evening a friend of mine took me to see a lecture with the amazing Anna Sandborn. We shared almost the exact same story of a math teacher not believing in us or helping us when we probably needed it the most. But this didn’t stop Anna. She told the story of how she managed to get a master's degree in economics, and then how she changed her life from a role as a bank advisor to a role as a programmer and data analyst, without previous experience of coding (🤯🔥). Anna managed to overcome difficulties, past fears and hardships and go her own way, and really challenge both her own and others ideas of limitations, just by being brave and using the right mindset 💪

This lecture was the real tipping point for me. I realized that I can make my dream come true, as long as just start somewhere and don’t give up.

If you want to learn how to code there are so much resources out there to help you get started. These are my top three steps for anyone that want to get started with coding. Hopefully these steps will help you on your way, make it feel a little bit easier and not scary at all (but fun!) to take the leap and learn how to code 👩‍💻

Step 1: What you need to get started

💡 If you want to play around and customize your VS Code you can have a look at this article about themes: 8 Awesome Themes for Visual Studio Code, or dive deeper into the different extensions you can use in VS Code: The 25 Best VS Code Extensions.

💡 A great extension to start with is Live Server, which will open a live web server of your current project in your default browser and help you to see all changes you make in your web project as you go along, without having to reload the page.

Now let’s continue:

Step 2: Tutorials

If you are a complete beginner to the world of web development, a tutorial is a good way to start learning. And there are a lot of them out there. Learning about HTML, CSS and JavaScript is a great foundation for getting started. Start with the basics, like:

Other tips for tutorials:

  • SuperHi Video Tutorials: Really great video tutorials which covers a lot of interesting topics and digital design techniques, both for beginners as well as more intermediate developers.
  • W3Schools: Online tutorials and exercises for web developers, covering a great number of topics. Unsure where to begin? Start out with the introductions to HTML, CSS and JavaScript.
  • MDN Web Docs: Learning platform for reading about technologies and standards in web development. Begin in their learning area Learn web development, which is a set of articles that aims to give complete beginners to web development a basic understanding of HTML, CSS and JavaScript, but also topics like accessibility, tools and testing.
  • JavaScript in 14 minutes: short, fun and interactive tutorial covering the basics in JavaScript.
  • Want to learn more about design as well as web development? Figma is a great tool for design, and this tutorial is a good way to start: Learn design with Figma.
  • Just browse around on YouTube. You’ll find a lot of great tutorials about different topics there, like Figma for beginners with UX & Product Designer Unn Swanström or Learn JavaScript — Full Course for Beginners with FreeCodeCamp.org.

Step 3: Learn by playing — it’s supposed to be fun! 🤹‍♀️

Image by Lidya Nada on Unsplash.

Who didn’t love to play as a kid? I did! 🙋‍♀ (Still do in fact..), and I’ve also realized that I learn new things so much faster while having fun.

So if you want to learn how to code, why not try to make it fun from the beginning and start playing around with some games and challenges️? 👩‍💻 Here are some of my favorites:

Games for learning CSS basics

Play around with API:s

Meet the Noops! A bunch of really fun robots that will help you learn about APIs: Noops Challenge.

Edabit challenges

Challenge your JavaScript skills with short exercises and an inbuilt code editor on Edabit.com. You also get a lot of suggestions on reading material and resources to help you solve each challenge. Great for practicing different ways of solving the same problem!

Codepen

Get inspired by other developers and play around on Codepen.io.

Mimo

A fun app with a little bit of everything: Mimo: Learn to code.
Learn the basics of different programming languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, C# and Python with short exercises and quizzes you can do in your phone.

Happy coding! 👋👩‍💻

Frontend developer with a background in communication 🚀