If you’re learning coding and web development, congratulations! Digital skills in programming are a valuable asset for your future in our wonderful, tech-filled world. However, these new skills don’t come for free. You will face challenging times along the ride, which are very common for both beginners and more experienced developers, too. To help you make the most of this amazing experience, I’ve put together 10 easy tips for learning coding that will help you reach your goals.
All of the points are valuable advice that I wish someone had told me when I first started learning how to code. None of it is rocket science, but each one of them will help you learn faster and keep you focused.
If you’re new to coding, make sure you also check out my Free Coding Guide for Beginners!
And for a kick-start into learning web development, take a look at these beginners’ courses for learning HTML and CSS to get you well on your way towards becoming a professional web developer.
Please not that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you choose to purchase a course using these links, I will receive a small commission for referring you (at no extra cost to you) to cover the costs of running this website. My only goal is to help you and I only recommend resources that I trust and love. But please, only buy a course if you really think that it will help you learn and reach your goals. Thank you for your support!
1: Learn Computer Science Basics
This topic is something I’m particularly passionate about. That’s also why it’s the first one of my tips for learning coding.
When you first start learning how to code, you need to understand what computers can do for you. That’s what Computer Science is all about, while coding is about making computers do those awesome things.
Learning Computer Science basics is going to introduce you to all of the fundamentals of how computers work. You don’t need to worry about mastering CS, just focus on the very basics.
Once you grasp the main concepts of CS, you are able to learn coding much faster. This is because you will already be familiar with much of the terminology around coding and web development.
To make things easier for you, here are a couple of courses I can recommend for learning computer science basics:
- CS101 Bootcamp is a fantastic course on Udemy. With no specific prerequisites for taking the course, it’s perfect for beginners.
- Computer Science 101 is another great course on Udemy. This one is a bit more thorough and comprehensive than the course above. Once you’re done with the course, you will understand the theory of Computer Science – highly recommended for any aspiring programmer!
- Computer Science E-50 is a very comprehensive Computer Science course for beginners from Harvard College. The professor does an amazing job and the content is awesome, with full lecture videos.
2: Take your time
As with learning in general, learning coding isn’t going to happen overnight.
People often ask me what I think is important for succeeding in learning programming and web development. My answer is always the same: “being patient”.
Your brain simply needs time to process everything you learn.
However, it’s important not to let your mind take too long breaks. Therefore, remember to practice every day, even on the days when you’d rather let it slide.
Surely, from time to time, you will have days when you’re not feeling like writing code or working on your projects. In that case, simply do some reviewing and repeat things you’ve learned to refresh your memory.
3: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
This can be a tricky one for the most of us, but it’s one of the important tips for learning coding. The modern society is so focused on striving for efficiency, perfection, and success, that most people are unconsciously terribly afraid of making mistakes.
While learning coding, try to mindful of letting your curiosity take over. It’s the most powerful asset you have, trust me. Use it to open your mind for trying out new things and learning by doing. A significant part of it is of course learning through trial and error.
I tend to say that a person who isn’t making mistakes isn’t making any progress either. Simply keep your mind focused and track your progress. That way you can always take a look at your notes and see how far you’ve come.
4: Ask for help
Facing difficult times is inevitable for anyone who’s learning new things. It’s all part of the learning process and only shows that you’re stepping out of your comfort zone.
Luckily, there is a huge global community that will catch you when you fall. Remember that hundreds of people have been struggling with the same questions you might be asking yourself. These people are most likely more than happy to help you out.
The entire world of technology revolves around continuous development. In an industry like this, curiosity and collaboration feed the amazing advancements we’ve been seeing for the last few decades. Hence, stay curious, keep asking questions, and head out to those discussion forums for support and help when you need it.
For instance, check out CodeNewbies on Twitter. It’s a fantastic community of developers, both beginners and experts. Ask your question and you’ll receive help in no time. Just remember to give back to the community later on when you’re ready to answer a question yourself!
5: Don’t try to learn everything
When you start learning coding, all the technicalities and terminology might easily seem overwhelming. I can fully assure you that this is only temporary.
At the beginning, everything you read and learn is new. Be easy on yourself and allow yourself to take your time.
Starting with understanding the binary system or exploring data structures can be daunting and exhausting. When your brain is processing too many new things at the same time, you will tend to lose your focus. That’s when frustration and impatience kick in.
If this sounds familiar, take a little break and let your brain rest for a bit. For instance, do something completely different for the rest of the day. Head out, go for a walk and come back to your questions tomorrow.
Moreover, don’t be to hard on yourself. It’s perfectly fine to just understand the basics first. Take care of the rest when you’re ready. If you get too tangled up in all the technical terms and let them get the best of you, you are only wasting your time.
6: Practice every day
Repetition, focus, consistency – this is what success is made of!
The key to learning coding and mastering the art of programming requires a consistent, daily dose of training.
Your coding session doesn’t have to be at the same time every day. Simply give your brain something to process on a daily basis. This will ensure a smooth transition from your short-term memory to the long-term storage units in the back of your mind.
I know how difficult this can be – I’ve been there. And I still am!
So how do I find my motivation on those days when I don’t feel like coding at all?
I simply look back at how far I’ve come and remind myself of all the great things that are still to come. Then I open my laptop and practice for 30 minutes. That’s the minimum I’ve set for myself, but your daily time could be something completely different.
And here’s the good news: on most days you will feel like learning for way more than just 30 minutes. If you’re really motivated to learn programming, you probably won’t have any problems with creating a daily routine out of it. You dan do it!
7: Apply your new skills
Now that you’re learning new things and getting better every day, what are you going to build and create? Perhaps you’ve had a project on your mind since the day you started?
Applying your skills to other things than just your course exercises will deepen your understanding of the topic. You will also ask yourself more questions, finding new answers and learning new ways of solving problems.
Whatever you wish to create, start as soon as possible.
It’s perfectly fine to feel like you’re lacking the skills to finish your first project. What matters the most is that you have a plan. With a well-structured plan, you will know what steps are still necessary to finish the project.
Believe me, when you first start learning coding, getting even one small step closer to your goal feels awesome!
In short, your new coding skills are like a solution – now you need new problems to solve with them.
8: Stay focused
When you start learning coding, start with only one programming language and stick with it for a while. Learn that language really well before exploring others. Once you master one language, picking up on others becomes much easier.
I don’t mean you shouldn’t look around, quite the opposite. You will notice yourself becoming curious about other programming languages, too. That’s perfectly fine and indeed a sign of genuine interest in learning programming.
Simply take notes of anything you’d like to learn in the future. Writing things down will get them out of your head, freeing up space and allowing you to focus on what you’re doing right now.
One great tool for staying focused is keeping a learning journal. Sounds somewhat old-school and boring, but it works.
9: Find a mentor if you can
You know the feeling when you’re all excited about the new things you’re learning, but suddenly you’re not sure if you’ve understood them properly?
I know the feeling – and it’s really easy to get rid of. Try to find someone who’s already found the answers to the same questions in the past. This person could be someone you already know or someone from a local Facebook group or coders.
Sometimes finding a coding mentor is difficult. If you know someone who’s more experienced, don’t hesitate to contact them and ask if they could lend you a hand from time to time.
Alternatively, you can find help and support on the various discussion forums out there. Later on, to give back to the community. Once you’re more experienced, remember to give back to the community by helping others. Simply browse through a forum of your choice every now and then and see if you can answer someone else’s question there.
10: Track your learning
Tracking your learning is one of the best tips for learning coding you will ever hear. I’ve been nagging about it in too many posts already. However, it’s still working for me so I can only recommend it over and over again.
When you start learning how to code, it’s often difficult to tell whether you’re making progress and actually learning. Tracking your learning will help you focus and stay motivated. You will be more mindful of what you’re doing and the new skills you’re acquiring.
Moreover, keeping track of your progress is really easy and doesn’t require much time or effort. Get a journal from your bookstore or try a web app like Penzu. Or even better: code your own learning journal!
If simply writing a journal doesn’t sound like your thing, why don’t you start a blog and share your learning experience with the world? In a previous post of mine, you will find more reasons for creating a coding blog of your own.
Whenever you’re lacking the motivation or drive to keep going, looking back at how far you’ve already come is the most helpful thing you can imagine. Seeing you’ve managed to finish all those steps towards your goal is something that will get you back on your feet.
Summing it up: Never stop learning
The world of tech is constantly evolving and progressing. It’s an industry where technological advancements are happening so quickly that it’s hard to keep up sometimes.
With computers and programming, we see new technologies, solutions and tools appear at an ever-increasing rate. Thus, anyone interested in learning coding should also be interested in developing themselves further all the time – for the rest of their careers and lives.
Keep reading, keep studying, keep learning. Find new resources, read blogs and discussion forums. Browse through online courses and books. You will always find new things that are worth taking a closer look at.
Remember that you will never be done with learning programming. You will never be “ready”. There’s always something new and cool just around the corner that will spark your interest and curiosity. Just have fun with this amazing experience of learning new things and you’ll succeed for sure!
I hope you can make use of some of these tips for learning coding. As I mentioned, almost all of them are simple to carry out and the time you will spend on them will pay itself back sooner than you think, I promise.
Please share your thoughts and your favourite learning tips in the comments below!