How to Learn to Code (Ep. 106)

The College Info Geek PodcastSo you want to learn how to code, eh? This episode’s for you.

I started coding at the age of twelve, when I started learning HTML and CSS so I could customize a website I built for a band I’d never listened to. Yes, I know that sounds stupid. I can explain (the story’s in the episode).

When high school ended, I picked web development back up and built a freelance web design company with a friend. During the summer before college, we built a website for a local client and made money hand over fist. And by that, I mean we made $350 for around 100 hours of work. Woot, $3.50 an hour!

Despite our incredibly low-balled quote, the project was a great learning experience, and I used what I learned to take on bigger projects when I was in college. For my final freelance project, I was able to charge over $2,500! Not bad for a college student.

My humble coding roots also led to a couple part-time jobs in college developing websites, and I was also able to use my skills to customize College Info Geek – which helped make it successful! For me, coding was a great skill to learn, and I’m incredibly glad I did it.

Here’s the thing; coding is a huge field with a wide variety of applications. You can do so many things with code. Sure, you can learn to build a website like I did – but you can also make video games. Or you can code super-efficient Excel spreadsheets. Or you can build a cell-phone activated door lock. There’s no end to the things you can do.

What’s important is that you start with a real problem you want to solve. The skill of coding is akin to the skill of using a hammer (or any other tool). You don’t get good at swinging hammers for the sake of swinging hammers. You do it so you can build things.

My friend Kevin Gisi articulated this so well in the video below, which I’d highly recommend watching:

Once you’ve identified the problem you want to solve, then you can choose the right programming/scripting language and looking for learning resources. Below, I’ve linked up a ton of them – but certainly not all of them. And that’s ok – honing your Google-fu will be essential if you’re going to be a coder.

Sites Where You Can Learn to Code

Coding Tools:

Places to Get Help or Study/Share Code

Other things mentioned in this episode:

Want more cool stuff? You can find all sorts of great tools at my Resources page.

If you enjoyed this episode, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes! It’s easy, you’ll get new episodes automatically, and it also helps the show gain exposure 🙂 You can also leave a review!

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How to Learn to Code

Thomas Frank is the geek behind College Info Geek. After paying off $14K in student loans before graduating, landing jobs and internships, starting a successful business, and travelling the globe, he's now on a mission to help you build a remarkable college experience as well. Get the Newsletter | Twitter | Instagram

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3 Comments on "How to Learn to Code (Ep. 106)"

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Dany

Great podcast as always! (I’ve started listening only recently, so I’m working my way back). Another useful resource is CS50 course at Harvard. Basic version is free on edx.org or cs50.tv . For me it was very demanding though and I didn’t finished the second half of the projects.

Another resource is “Scratch” from MIT ( https://scratch.mit.edu/ ), which is like programming language for children (but do not get confused – you can do cool stuff with it ). It’s mainly for realising the logic behind programming languages, so it can be useful for beginners.

Craig Hadden (@RemotePoss)

Wanted to say “thanks” for letting us play episodes right here — not just on iTunes — and also letting us speed it up if desired (or download it). Usability FTW!

(I don’t have iTunes, because Apple and I have never seen eye to eye.)

Great video from Kevin, so I look fwd to listening to the episode for more along those lines.

Geoff

This podcast is excellent guys!

You guys are making me froth at mouth. I’ll be honest… Probably about 60…….. 63% of the reason I wanna code, is because I wanna be Tank, I wanna be Neo. I wanna be that guy.

As a 30 year old guy with a wife and little boy, this podcast makes me feel like a kid again (I probably sound like one).

I’ve been getting into coding for a while now, I just finished a degree and am doing an Honours project in Statistical Genetics, so I’m having to learn how to use R and have really been getting into the coding side of things. I have just started a blog which I eventually want to be able to transition to a design that I built myself from scratch. I’m also really keen to start learning about linux and playing around with it on an old laptop.

This podcast has some awesome advice and makes me feel like I’m going the right way about it.

This podcast is really motivating Tom, love it. Keep it up.

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