I always feel like I should be good at coding. What is coding if not a type of language? I enjoy learning languages and think I do pretty well at at, so the fact that my feeble initial attempts at coding haven’t gone swimmingly is frustrating.
(On some level I’m aware this is also probably due to me not sticking with it long enough. It’s not as if I learned Spanish overnight.)
I was inspired by a nearly 2-year-old blog post I recently stumbled over written by my friend and former colleague Rebecca Goberstein. I hadn’t been aware of Rebecca’s attempts to learn coding, but I did know she had launched a start-up company to help people create visual itineraries and explore cities: Terrapn.com. As she says in her post, as a founder it was important for her to know coding so she could be a more effective company leader.
Rebecca’s approach to coding resonated with me because we come from similar backgrounds, not just having worked for the same company, but also having focused on health behavior change. Rebecca’s recommendations emphasize book learning as well as live practice, which I love, given my great love of books.
Let’s say you’ve assembled your coding library and are ready for some experimentation. What next?
The Brazen Careerist made a good run down of the major online coding courses, some of which are even free. I’ve checked some of these out and think there’s a good variety to complement different learning styles. Udacity, which is video-heavy, was not for me (I’m a reader); the options with more of a try-it-yourself style have gotten me further.
Lifehacker has also assembled a list of suggested resources for learning coding; check out the comments section of this post.
Another great suggestion is to find a coding buddy, or someone who can either learn alongside you or mentor you in your education. A fellow newbie learning with you will have a different perspective on coding and help you understand it better, while someone who already knows how to code can obviously serve as a resource and guide. Plus, involving someone else in your learning enhances accountability.
So now that I’ve got this great list of resources, I guess I better get started learning to code, huh?