Best Practices for Learning to Code

Self Taught Developers

Self-taught developers should find the teaching medium that works best. Finding the best learning platform is important for retaining the information provided. This allows the developer-in-training to retain the information provided better, and they will be able to understand the material better.

Hardware and Software Required

To start, the learner should have access to a computer. The type of computer is based on personal preference, budget, and direction. Developers often prefer Mac, Windows and Linux, with Chrome or Safari as their preferred web browser.

Seasoned developers often use their own text editor when they are writing code. A few of these text editors include Visual Studio Code (VSCode), Sublime, Notepad++, and Atom.

Learning Platforms

For developers-in-training, there are many learning platforms available. Where a person learns can be just as important as what is studied. Let’s review some of the most popular learning platforms:

  1. Codecademy: Great for beginners. This website provides an easy way to learn this information with easy to follow, limited instruction. The website has a built-in text editor, with a reading pane. This platform provides a clear pathway to learning code.
  2. freeCodeCamp: A donation-based website committed to teaching code. This site was created by Quincy Larson. He has a small team of volunteers. This site awards Certificates of Completion for freeCodeCamp’s courses. freeCodeCamp, like others, provides an in-browser text editor, and reading-based dialogue. This platform is often recommended to be used in parallel with Codecademy.com.
  3. Udemy: A favorite among developers. Provides full courses with good instructors. There is a plethora of subjects you can learn on Udemy.com, and all instructors are rating based. Udemy does have sales every couple of months, lowering their $50-$500 priced courses down to around $10-$20.
  4. Team Treehouse: The video quality is very nice, and the content is reportedly some of the best on the web to date.
  5. YouTube: Great platform to visually learn. this is a great platform For reviewing previously learned content.

Time Management

Some of the most success developers have shared their best tips at staying focused. Below is a short list of great ideas. Try one or a combination of these out to find which ones work best for you:

  1. Study in 1-hour intervals. Set your alarm, or egg timer, to 1 hour. Read, listen, learn for the entire hour, then take a 10 minute break.
  2. Schedule your day on your computer or phone calendar (Outlook, Google, etc.). Make sure you plan specifically what you are learning, and where you will be learning from. (i.e. 9am – Codecademy, CSS Box Model; 10:30am – Codecademy, CSS Flexbox)
  3. Be sure to take breaks. Not just throughout the day, but throughout the weeks, months while learning. There are many coding challenges, like the 100-day coding challenge, which can be a lot of fun and beneficial when a person needs to have a reason to stay motivated. However, a day off doesn’t mean you failed at the challenge, it means you are taking care of YOU.

A Successful Mindset Matters

Learning takes time. Regardless of the computer, the text editor, the learning platform, or how you manage your time, success comes mostly from the student’s attitude. Success is perseverance, determination, and completely worth it.

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