The thought of coding can be scary for someone new to the field. However, with the numerous coding tutorials and online learning courses, it's easier than you think. As a webmaster, learning to code is almost a must unless you have an available coder at your disposal at all times. Even if you have a coder, it helps to understand how to program to make small changes to your site or even perform some maintenance.
What's the Point of Learning to Code?
You might ask yourself if it's even worth taking the time to learn to code. It takes some time to get started, and you must learn certain concepts before you start. Coding is also intimidating to someone who has never done it before. The concepts are unlike anything you've ever learned, and it takes practice to really understand the coding process.
Even with its challenges, coding is incredibly useful for any webmaster. Even if you have a coder that takes care of your site, having a good foundation for coding and understanding how it works will help you improve overall. You can identify issues with your site quickly so that your users are not affected. You can fix some of these issues as your continue to practice your coding skills. You can even begin enhancements on your site in collaboration with your developer or on your own.
The best way to practice is to take some online classes or watch some tutorials, and then create a small web application yourself. When you practice this way, you get a feel for the way code is used to display web pages. You also see how the coding process works along with fixing bugs and debugging your own code. You also deploy the application to see how to take your code from a development machine to a live production site.
So, where do you begin? We're going to list some popular sites that you can use to practice and learn to code.
Code Academy is where beginners go to code. It's a great stepping stone into the world of coding. Before you start engineering any product or even debugging your own site, you need to understand basic syntax. This is where Code Academy is useful because it teaches you how to code from the very beginning and treats you as a complete beginner.
This site is good for people with no experience in coding, but it can also be useful for people who know coding and just want to learn a new language.
Code Wars takes learning to code to a different level. It's mainly for more experienced users, but it can also be a great place to learn. Code Wars lets you "battle" with other coders for the best code snippets that solve a specific problem. You get feedback for your answers, and you get to see which solutions are rated the best. It's generally a place to take your current coding skills and learn the best way to create solutions in terms of performance and efficiency.
It's probably much better to learn coding at a beginner site such as Code Academy, and then take your newly learned skills to Code Wars to improve your knowledge.
Coursera is a great place if you prefer studying with video formats. Coursera is one of the top players in the video tutorial arena, and they are known as effectively translating difficult material to their students.
You can get certifications as well to prove that you've taken a specific course. The courses are free, but you need to pay for your certifications. If you want to get into programming or earn certifications to prove to your employer that you're improving, then the certifications are well worth the extra money.
This site isn't as well known as the others, but it's backed by Harvard. edX isn't just coding either. It has 107 courses for general Computer Science classes. This is useful if you want to code but use it for areas such as data science and machine learning. These newer topics are covered by the Harvard learning site.
Khan Academy was one of the original online learning sites. It started out with school-related topics and branched out to "everything" as their Facebook page says. At Khan Academy, you can learn anything from science to history to even coding. It's mainly used by high school and college students, but it's also popular for adults who want to learn coding. It's free as well and was recently backed by Microsoft to help them expand.
The final online site on our list is Udemy. Udemy has only been around for a few years, but its grown tremendously. The main difference between Udemy and other online learning sites is that the videos are made by professionals in the field and not teachers. This means that you learn from someone who was in your shoes years ago and was able to take their learning to a new level.
Udemy has thousands of videos to choose from. Most of them cost money, but you can usually find a promotional rate on the web, or the author of the video gives you a discount. They also have some free videos, but these videos aren't usually as good as the paid ones. Pay attention to ratings when you choose and check the course syllabus before you buy any course.