Computers

I want to learn how to code. [Part 1]

So you want to learn how to code huh? and you are wondering where you would start? Well well, the answer is, right here! The first step to learning anything is learning how to go about learning that thing. Learning how to learn!

I want to learn how to code. [Part 1]

So you want to learn how to code huh? and you are wondering where you would start? Well well, the answer is, right here! The first step to learning anything is learning how to go about learning that thing. Learning how to learn!

First things first, why do you want to learn how to code or program by the way? Honestly, maybe you may end up not needing to learn how to code if you answer this question correctly. Let's pick a few common reasons people are learning how to code and go through them.

  • I have an app idea!
  • I want to start a technology company.
  • I want to build an app like Facebook and become a billionaire :)
  • I would like to build an app or website for my company/business.
  • Now is the tech era, everyone is learning how to code, I should too.
  • I want to make my own website!
  • I am learning for fun.
  • I admire programming, I want to become a computer programmer/engineer/scientist.
  • I love computers, I would really love to understand how they work.
  • I want to switch carriers and become a web developer, I see a lot of people earning so much from that.
  • I am pursuing a path in engineering (or maybe accounting) and have understood I need it.

These common reasons, which are not mutually exclusive are likely to come from 3 main types of people who primarily have different objectives. Their objective is usually not necessarily knowing how to code but a means to and end. Just before I name these categories, Let me tell you a "Spanish fiction" and then, you would be able to decide where you fall and if you really "want to learn how to code". Here we go!

Imagine you saw someone interesting and successful in the news who speaks Spanish and from what they are saying, Spanish is really profitable to learn but then, you find out this fellow is only on the news because s/he made a single statement in Spanish! Maybe, "Make Spain great again!" which is literally "Haz que España vuelva a ser grande!" in Spanish!

So you like this fellow and would like to do something similar. You have two options;

  • Learn how to make the statement "Make Spain great again" in spanish [Learn how to make a single sentence] OR
  • Learn how to make statements in spanish as a whole.

Now by going through the first route and simply learning how to make that single sentence, you might eventually learn how to make statements (speak) in Spanish. But this is only easy if, there exist only a few words in Spanish with few rules and exceptions on how statements are constructed. In addition to that, you would have to learn how to make so many other statements in Spanish by getting their direct translations. That would be a very difficult way of learning spanish!

However, just learning how to make that single sentence and perhaps a few others in Spanish is extremely easy but trying to learn Spanish as in the complete language as a whole by trying to memorize different translations of statements that you learned how to make is, as you see for a second time extremely difficult.

Learning how to make certain statements like, "Good morning!" or "You look awesome" in Spanish, is definitely more interesting than learning the Spanish Alphabet and so that's why it's tempting to try to learn spanish by simply learning how to make individually translated sentences.

If all you wanted was to have a particular statement in Spanish, and you are not interested in Spanish as whole or is interested but just more focused on having Spanish sentences themselves than learning Spanish, you could simply paste the statement "Make Spain great again" in google translate and you would get what you want which is the Spanish equivalent. It might not be very accurate, but it works!

However you don't know how Google translate came about that and why it is that way if you were really interested in spanish and not just mere statements or perhaps need spanish as prerequisite to do some stuff, then you would go with route two which is actually learning spanish; By so doing, you would learn numbers, letters, alphabet, words, types of words (such as verbs and nouns), sentences, punctuation and more!

Notice that you would in the end, still learn how to make the statement you wanted to make! Just that, this time, you would not just be able to make statements in spanish but you would understand how statements are made and perhaps you can write a story in spanish!

The purpose of the tale is to help you realize that coding is like speaking a natural language say French or Portuguese and also, very importantly, help you see that learning how and what to think is more important than learning a language otherwise you would have nothing meaningful to say in any language you learn.

Back to our categories of people and reasons why they learn how to code. Note that the categories of people and their reasons why they want to learn how to code are not mutually exclusive but you can see the big picture! So the categories;

Category 1: Entrepreneurs and Business Professionals

If you have a reason such as I have an app idea, I want to start a technology company, I want to build an app like Facebook and become a billionaire or I would like to build an app or website for my company/business. Then, you most likely fall into this category!

You are most likely only trying to get something done! and In my opinion, you should focus on that instead. If you want to build an app check out how you can start building a fairly good one as soon as possible! You would be surprised you can already start making one. If you want to build a tech company you should ask yourself what problem your tech company is trying to solve or what services it's trying to provide and first, see if you can start building this solution right away! Maybe it's just another simple app or that not-so-simple project that requires you to find people with strong technical backgrounds?! What if you needed a website for your business? It's possible to make one yourself, for free without learning how to code and that's what you should be focusing on! your objective.

Since these reasons and categories are not mutually exclusive, you might start and quickly find out you need to go deeper and then find yourself in category 3 (which you would see) but if you are really just about the objective and getting something started and done, you should figure out if you can do it without necessarily "learning how to code." or maybe decide if learning and understanding the processes then getting a technical partner is the better way.

Take a step back! Maybe, Microsoft Excel is simply what you need. :)

Category 2: Enthusiasts

On the other hand, you if you want to learn how to code because, it seems to be trending, "it's the new big thing" and you have got reasons like everyone else is learning how to code, I should too, I want to make my own website or I want to learn for fun, then you are very likely to be an enthusiast, you are quite interested in the subject of coding and is looking for a good way to be involved. That's still great. You are somewhere in the middle :).

Again, you might end up finding that you are not just an enthusiast but a highly passionate individual who wants to get deep into programming, tech et al.

Category 3: Engineers, Computer Scientists, Nerds

If you are totally fascinated by computers and really want to know how they work, or maybe you are interested in how you can apply programming to solve complex problems in your sector, maybe medicine or stocks and investment?

Good with Electronics? Maths? Sciences? Good at fixing "technical stuff" naturally without any conventional training done? Maybe you are actually starting a course in Engineering or Computer Science itself and you can't wait to reach the "coding part"? umm, then you probably fall here.

So now you know, making a website does not necessarily imply coding, neither does building an app. What then is your decision? To proceed and learn how to code? or Learn the tools you can use to achieve your goals without coding?

Whichever part you are taking is great! In part 2 of this piece, next steps for those who ultimately decide to learn programming are outlined and in part 3, advice on getting things done without necessarily coding.

Watch article video on youtube: https://youtu.be/TtJumU2s26k

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