This guide is made for those who want to know how to code for beginners. Starting with the why to the how, it’s all you need to know to get started.
Did you know that by 2026, there will be more than half a million new jobs added in the computer science and information technology field? Behind every computer and technology-related occupation and product lies coding. So if you’re interested in getting into the field and want to know how to code for beginners, this guide was made for you!
What is Coding?
Coding is the language that allows computers and systems to execute commands and, in short, work properly. Coding drives computer software, websites and applications. Coding can be looked at much like languages. There are different coding languages that different job positions, computer softwares and websites require to function most efficiently. Here is how you can get started:
Think About Your Why
Before you jump into learning how to code, think about your own personal “why.” Ask yourself what you want to code and why you want to code.
Here’s a brief look at the different types of developers you can become on your journey of learning how to code:
1. Front-end Developer:
2. Back-end Developer:
Behind all front-end developers, there’s a back-end developer putting together the pieces of the website or application that users will indirectly interact with when using a product. Back-end developers are most concerned with ensuring the logic of the computer or system to meet its intention when a user is accessing the site or application.
3. Full-Stack Developer:
This is the jack of all trades, or the combination of front- and back-end development. As the world grows more reliant on technology, full-stack developers are in increasing demand. Additionally, while people used to focus on either web development or mobile app development, the lines are blurring as many applications are being created for the best desktop and mobile experience simultaneously.
Assess Your Situation
Your learning will depend on your resources, or the amount of time, money and effort you can put into this endeavor. If you’re looking to earn your degree in Computer Science but are strapped for both time and cash, consider enrolling in an online and degree-granting university.
For example, University of the People offers Associate and Bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science that can be completed entirely online and are therefore accessible and affordable. The tuition-free program costs a fraction of the cost of traditional universities and can be completed at your own pace, and on your own schedule.
Depending on your own situation, you have to determine how you want to learn to code. While it’s not always necessary to earn a degree to become a developer, it is often required to enter the job market as an employee. If you’re not ready to seek your degree just yet, that’s okay too. You can start by choosing the coding language you want to learn and then accessing digital and traditional resources to learn on your own.
Pick Your Language
As mentioned above, coding is a form of communication that has many languages. There are many languages that you can take up. Here’s a look at a few of the most common ones:
Created in 1991, Python is a multi-purpose language often used for numerical software. It’s less commonly used for websites.
Structured Language Query (SQL) is mostly used in databases as each query is used to create, read, update or delete data in a database.
Used for dynamic web pages, PHP can send SQL queries, output HTML and is a widely popular high-level interpreted script language.
Gaining popularity, Ruby is meant to be a fun way for coders to code so that other developers, as well as computers, can read the code. Many websites today run on Ruby, and it serves as an alternative to PHP.
When you’re getting started, you may still be unsure of what kind of coding language you want to learn first. A lot of people believe that high-level scripted languages are a good and understandable place to begin. The good news is, as a developer, you’ll learn more than one language and because new languages appear, you can’t be making a wrong decision. But rather, here are some useful things to research and consider before choosing:
- Find out the job market for the language
- Find out the simplicity or difficulty in learning the language
- Find out what you can create while learning the language
Find Your Resources
Since coding is such a high-demand job market and technology exists to make it accessible, there are a wide variety of resources you can choose from as you begin to learn how to code.
1. Online Training Sites:
Want to learn how to code for free? Here are some sites that offer online training courses at no cost.
2. Online Universities:
While free online training sites can teach how to code and potentially provide certificates, you may want to go a step further and enroll in a degree-granting program. For example, at University of the People, you can earn your Bachelor’s in Computer Science by studying 15-20 hours per course weekly.
As a tried and true method of learning, you can always pick up some books about coding. A few recommended titles include: The C++ Programming Language, Java: A Beginner’s Guide, Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science.
For audiovisual learners, you can turn to YouTube for a slew of options on learning to code. Depending on your learning style, you can find videos that are animated, lectures by people and guided tutorials.
Like learning a new language, it’s best to start at a kid’s level. With coding, you can download games and applications to begin! For example, try Scratch, a platform developed by MIT where you can create your own games and applications and easily share them with friends.
Practice Makes Perfect
Learning anything new comes with its own set of challenges. When you learn to code, you’ll want to continuously practice to improve. To ensure you’re on the right track, be sure to download a code editor that will serve as a helping hand to help you create your user-friendly and functional websites and applications.
Another way to practice your own code is to take snippets or entire portions of existing websites’ code to see if you can understand it, or better yet, enhance it.
Throughout this process, it’s nice to remember that you’re not alone! There are online communities of coders with whom you can collaborate, communicate and share ideas and questions with. And they are easy to find. Try an online search for them, or join Facebook groups. You can leverage platforms like Reddit and Quora as well.
If you’ve decided coding is right for you, then there’s no better time than now to get started learning. The job opportunities and lifetime of growth, challenges and excitement within the field is clear and constantly increasing.
With the plethora of information available online through tutorials, coding games and apps, online universities and more, the possibilities are endless and your potential to learn is quite literally at your fingertips!