If you’re thinking about starting to learn coding, your head is probably bursting with questions. It can be confusing, daunting, and overwhelming – all at the same time. To help you figure out where to start and how the first steps can be, I’ll share my story in this post. When I began to teach myself to code, I had zero experience with programming and web development. So, if that sounds familiar, this post is for you!

I’ll walk you through some of the questions I had when I first started learning coding. By the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll have a better overview of what coding can do for you and where you can start learning.

Here are the point we’ll go through in this post:

  1. What kind of a background do I have?
  2. How did I become interested in coding?
  3. What do I want to achieve?
  4. How about future career opportunities?

Let’s get started – happy reading!

Here are a couple of related posts you might want to read, too:


First things first: What can coding do for you?

First off: anyone can learn how to code. Even if you have no background in IT or web-related jobs, you can learn programming and start a career in tech if you like.

What would you do if you could break free from your 9-5 job and career?

If you’re interested in achieving more freedom in life or just making more money, coding is something you should consider. 

The first thing you should do is become aware of what you wish to achieve with coding.

You need to figure out your “why”.

Why are you interested in teaching yourself to code?

For me, coding was simply a way to learn something new. I started learning because I found it so much fun!

But before long, I was already getting my first freelance jobs and making money with coding. In less than a year, I started my own web development and web design business.

Not bad!

So, learning coding is an excellent way of:

  • Learning new, valuable skills
  • Having fun and connecting with like-minded people
  • Boosting your career with tech skills
  • Starting a career as a full-time developer or as a freelancer

But are programmers still in high demand?

Yes.

In the US alone, the employment for computer and IT occupations is estimated to grow 13% from 2016-2026 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is faster than the average for all occupations.

Alright, so why did I start to teach myself to code?

What I did before learning coding

I had never learned programming or web development when I started to teach myself to code. None.

But I’ve always enjoyed learning new things and keeping my brain busy. I love acquiring new skills that can help me and others around me.

In school, I had fun learning both math and creative stuff.

Later on, I chose Economics as my major at college.

Yay, even more numbers!

All in all, I just really enjoyed analyzing different scenarios and solving problems – both with logic and with creativity.

What about my jobs so far?

Before I started learning coding, I worked as a Business Analyst in Finance and Aviation. I always loved the opportunity to push my skills further in problem-solving and creative thinking.

However, I had the feeling like I was “stuck”. I didn’t really know where I wanted to go with my career.

I loved my colleagues and really enjoyed the job I was doing.

But I just didn’t see myself sitting at the office every day for the rest of my life…

What made me interested in coding?

So why did I become interested in learning programming?

It was all just a big coincidence, really. My team had this little problem with a spreadsheet at work. Nothing big, just a small adjustment that could have made our jobs a bit easier.

So I thought: if someone could solve this problem by coding, I’m sure I could just as well do it myself, right?

Before long, I was doing my first rounds of research online. What was coding? How could I solve this problem at work by learning programming?

And right there and then I started my first coding class on Codecademy. That was the very first DIY moment I had with programming and web development.

Of course, I was totally clueless and didn’t know what the heck I was doing.

But it was fun! All I knew was that I wanted to learn MORE.

And with each round of tutorials and exercises, I was more convinced that this was something I wanted to spend more time with.

So I found out more about programming and what I could achieve with it. Here are just a few of the reasons why I decided to teach myself to code:

  1. Affordable and comprehensive resources for learning
  2. Exciting, diverse career opportunities
  3. Chance to combine my skills in problem-solving and creativity
  4. Supportive community with heaps of inspirational stories

To dive a bit more into detail, let me say a few words about each point.

Reason #1: Affordable and abundant learning resources

The first things I learned was that the Web is packed with great resources for learning!

In fact, it was quite overwhelming at first. I just couldn’t believe how many online courses, free tutorials, and discussion forums I found.

And as a total beginner, I just didn’t know where to start.

So, I decided to start with one learning platform and see if I liked it. I mean, I could always switch to another one, right?

I went on with a beginner-level course on Codecademy first to learn some basic HTML and CSS. I thought I’d start with a free online course first and go for a paid one if I liked the topic.

If you’re looking for a suitable beginner-level course in coding and web development, check out my post 8 Awesome Websites to Learn Coding for Free.

Here are a couple of related posts you might find helpful, too:

Reason #2: Exciting career opportunities with coding

Needless to say, most beginners are interested in learning coding to boost their careers or start new jobs altogether.

There are just so many benefits from learning coding career-wise. Even if you don’t need to do any programming yourself, it’s good to know how your colleagues in IT think. Let alone knowing what they are capable of. Or what sorts of IT-driven solutions your company can develop for its customers.

And as I mentioned above, the demand for skilled programmers is increasing at a higher rate than the average of all industries.

So, even though I wasn’t interested in teaching myself to code to make more money, I still found the idea of learning a new profession by myself very intriguing.

I found plenty of articles discussing the future of software development and the career opportunities and prospects. Just take a look at Business Insider’s 6 tech jobs with most growth potential for 2017, for example.

Here’s a related post about starting a career in tech you should read, too: How to Make Money Coding? 4 Ways to Make Money as a Developer.

Reason #3: Chance to improve my problem-solving and creative skills

When you’re thinking about starting to learn programming, you should consider your personal strengths.

What are you good at? What do you enjoy the most?

There are a bunch of common misconceptions about coding you should just ignore. You don’t need to be great at math, for example.

What matters the most is that you can tackle problem in a logical way. You know, break them down into smaller problems and solving them one by one.

As for myself, I saw one great opportunity in learning coding above others: I could use both my logical and creative skills for solving those problems step-by-step.

There aren’t too many jobs where you have so much space for creativity while having to think in a very structured, logical way.

Learning coding and web development suddenly seemed that much more lucrative!

Reason #4: Supportive community and inspirational stories from others

Finally, what inspired me the most was reading through a number of blogs, discussion forums, and articles.

One after the other, I found a myriad of amazing people who shared their stories about how they had succeeded in transforming their lives and careers. These individuals had such diverse backgrounds, too.

What was common to all of them was that they had all found a way to achieve their career goals by learning programming and web development. Some had wanted to achieve more freedom in life, while others simply wanted to create something useful to help others (an app or a website, for instance).

I wanted to do the same thing!

And you know what? Tech is here to stay.

Computers and code are everywhere. If there’s one field where skilled workers will be needed in the future, it’s technology.

Eventually it seemed like the entire world was trying to encourage me to get started and join in. So that’s exactly what I did!

What do I wish to achieve with coding?

It’s been a few months since I started to teach myself to code with Python as my first language. It’s easy to see how different my expectations and personal goals are now from what they initially were.

At the beginning, I though it would take months or years to develop something functional and useful.

I only had one thing I wanted to build with code at first: I wanted to create a real-world web application from scratch. It was more like a long-term goal and challenge for myself.

I would create the functionalities, a database for user profiles, and a beautiful user interface. It was something I really wanted to create and build.

Luckily, I found the perfect resources for learning how to build one. I came across a book called Python Crash Course at the bookstore. Soon after starting with the book, I realised how simple it was to learn programming!

And I don’t mean it’s necessarily easy. But it’s simple and straightforward.

All you need to have is the motivation and drive to do it. The book is just awesome, by the way.

Apart from the web app, I also wanted to learn how to approach and solve problems more efficiently. You know, to break them down into smaller bits and solve them step-by-step.

In the long run, I wanted to learn how to build professional websites and web apps from scratch. Not necessarily to make a career out of it, but just as a hobby or a side hustle.

As it turned out, I only took two courses on web development before I actually became a full-time freelancer and started my own business.

You can find both courses on Udemy, check them out:

  1. The Complete Web Developer Course 2.0 – An introduction to several web development tools and languages. Excellent choice if you’re not sure which one to specialize in yet. It was the perfect way to build a bunch of small projects of my own and find out which tools I liked the most. About halfway through the course I started with my first small freelance gigs.
  2. The Complete WordPress Website Business Course. To get bigger freelance gigs, I decided to focus on WordPress. This course teaches you how to create and manage WordPress websites to start your own WordPress-based business. In fact, that’s exactly what I did after taking this course. (And I’ve never been short of work!) If you wish to start freelancing and want to take on bigger projects, this course is for you.

If you’re not familiar with Udemy, check out my Udemy review post to find out more about the platform.

Can I start a career in tech? Are programmers in high demand?

Yes you can!

If a new career in tech is something you’re interested in, you should start learning coding TODAY.

There are so many career paths to choose from as a developer. You could get a full-time developer job, start freelancing, or even become an entrepreneur.

And if you’re not looking to change careers, you can also learn coding to boost your current career.

All that matters is that you find a long-term goal that motivates you. Based on my experience, make sure you find a goal that has more substance to it than just “making more money”.

Do it for yourself. Learn coding to do something you feel passionate about.

It’s just going to make the learning experience much more enjoyable for you. Motivation that stems from something else than financial goals is the kind of motivation that will keep you patient and determined.

That said, thinking about how your salary will jump once you learn a new skill isn’t going to take you far. It could easily lead to frustration and lack of motivation in the long term.

And trust me,  motivation is something you’ll be needing. A lot of it.

So, once more, what’s important is that you genuinely enjoy what you’re doing.

As they say, the appetite grows with eating – and the tastier the food the hungrier you get.

How to learn programming and web development for beginners

Summing it up: Why I started to teach myself to code

Alright, this was a long post but I hope you found a few helpful thoughts in here.

As I mentioned above, we all have different backgrounds and different reasons to learn programming and web development.

Whatever your reason is, make sure you stay focused on it. To get you started, make sure you check out my post with 6 easy tips on how to start learning how to code.

Here are a couple of related posts you might find helpful:

If you enjoyed this post on why I started to teach myself to code, please share your thoughts in the comments below!

P.S. Also, I’d appreciate if you shared this article so that others can find it, too! Thanks for your support!

Alright, that’s all I have for you today! Happy coding, catch you later!
– Mikke

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