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My self-taught programming journey

ritaxcorreia profile image Rita Correia ・3 min read

So you want to learn code but don’t know where to start?
Or you've already started your learning journey (well done you!), but you're feeling a little lost?

This article includes some tips, resources and personal learnings which might help you achieve your coding goals.

#100DaysOfCode

Setting yourself goals will set you up for success, whatever success means to you.
Taking part in the #100DaysOfCode on Twitter helped me stick to my goal of staying on a consistent learning journey and also held me accountable as I publicly committed to the challenge. Documenting your journey is important. You can look back and marvel at what you achieved during that specific timeframe.
You can join the #100DaysOfCode conversation, connect with other people who are on the same journey and have the support of other communities such as #CodeNewbies, etc.

FreeCodeCamp

Free
At the beginning I looked for an online bootcamp that was not only free, but could be a good starting point for beginners.
I took the Responsive Web Design to start with, and I think that was a wonderful way to grasp basic HTML/CSS concepts.

Codecademy

Free
I started the free version to test it out, and really enjoyed the platform and the engaging content of the courses.
I eventually moved to the Pro version (£15.99-£31.99/month or $19.99-$39.99/month), which I found worth the monthly cost as it lets you apply the concepts you’ve just learned into practical challenges to solidify your newly-acquired knowledge. With Pro, you can also get a certificate at the end of program. There's plenty of paths and courses to choose from.

Codecademy Go app
Free
The Codecademy Go app is really good for quick reviewing and practicing concepts, on the go. It gives you handy, randomised flash cards on the concepts learned in your chosen course and then fun little quiz style questions. Perfect for catching up while you wait for the bus.

Videos

When you’re new to a programming language, especially if you’re still at the beginning of your learning journey, it’s highly likely that you can’t quite grasp the entirety of a language's potential.
Questions such as ‘What can I actually do with JavaScript?’ might pop to mind which is completely normal. I found that watching videos on YouTube can help you a ton by giving you an overview of how powerful that language is.

Youtube: Learn JavaScript - Full Course for Beginners

Youtube: JavaScript Crash Course for Beginners

Guided projects / tutorials

Before you feel confident enough to jump into your own personal projects, with little guidance, I found that learning through guided projects and tutorials was a great way to build that confidence. Tutorials help you grasp concepts, and you have a safety net.
There's a plethora of great tutorials on FrontEndMentor and Udemy.

Debugging / Queries

It can be a lonely ride if you don’t have other programmer buddies, so once again the answer is the internet.
Stack Overflow is the holy grail for questions and answers. Just search for similar issues, because it’s likely you’re not the first person asking that question.
Look out for an answer with a green tick ✅ next to it - that will give you the right solution.

Emotional resilience

It can be a pretty lonely journey learning something new on your own.
Some days can be tough and you might find yourself doubting everything, yourself and your capabilities. You might get frustrated and wanting to give up, but pleeeeeeease remember that’s all part of the learning journey. Be your own cheerleader. Step back and look and what you’ve accomplished so far. Last week you didn’t know the things you do today. Last month it was inconceivable to think of where you are right now. Just compare yourself to the same day last year.
It’s a long journey, so when you find yourself waddling through the valley of despair, try to refocus and regroup. Gather your strength and persevere.

You got this!

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ritaxcorreia profile

Rita Correia

@ritaxcorreia

Aspiring Software Engineer. ex-Project Manager. Mental Health advocate.

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