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So, You Want to Write Code

Your mantra while learning to code should be: "There's no plausible reason I should know this. I just started learning it. I'm going to google that sh**".

Antoinette Stevens
Antoinette Stevens

Switching my major from Pre-Business to Computer Science and learning to code in college is the best decision I could have made (in hindsight because I'm not going to lie to you there was a while there where I seriously wondered how feasible it would be to drop out and become the world's worst stripper because I can't twerk or do any cool pole tricks. I'd just have to stand there...and idk...do the robot? But I digress.). It's opened a lot of doors for me and given me the ability to understand our world from a different angle than most. While writing code isn't the main part of my day job, knowing how has enabled me to solve problem in creative ways because if I can design it, I can build it.

Let's Set Some Expectations

I'm guessing you're here now because you have something you'd like to design and build or maybe you're just curious and want to try to learn a new skill. Either way, WELCOME! I'm writing this post because I want to level set with you. Learning to code is hard and the learning curve is steeper than Kanye West's descent into madness. If you want to learn to code you have to be serious about it and patient with yourself.

Learning to code is more psychological than you might think. It's basically rewiring the way your mind works and the way you solve problems. It can also be challenging because a lot of us are conditioned to give up when we can't immediately identity the answer to a problem. Learning to code will break you of this if it's a problem for you. To code, you have to be someone who is willing to relentlessly hunt down the answer to problems you run into. And by 'hunt down', I mean Google. Google everything. I'm convinced I'm good at my job because I know what questions to ask Google. There's no shame in it, because you're learning and solving your problems. It's not realistic to have every answer to every problem just floating around in your head so don't place that expectation on yourself. Your mantra while learning to code should be: "There's no plausible reason I should know this. I just started learning it. I'm going to google that sh**".

The last thing learning to code will do is teach you how to fail and pivot. You'll often try something, see it doesn't work, and have to think of another way to do what you need to do. Remember when I said learning to code rewires your mind? This is one of the ways it gets rewired. You learn to think about several different methods to solve the same problem, weigh their trade-offs, and make a decision of a direction to go based on the problem you're trying to solve. If one of the methods you come up with doesn't work out (and it will happen often) or your program fails to run, you learn to shake off the failure pretty easily so that you can figure out what needs to happen to solve the problem.

Mini Coding Lessons

I'll be posting mini lessons over the next few months to help you on your way. The guides will focus on coding concepts that are universal across most languages. I'll be using Python for my examples. If you plan to follow along with my examples, sign up for an account on Repl.it. I think Python and Ruby are the best programming languages for beginners because they have the least amount of syntax overhead, allowing you to focus on grasping the concepts without worrying too much about a missing semi-colon. Each guide will also contain links to do more exercises and readings on other sites, such as Codecademy, so make sure you sign up for an account there. Remember, the mini coding lessons are only jumping off points for your coding journey. It's important that you do the extra exercises and reading I link to so that the information really sticks! Feel free to the use the comments section of the mini coding lessons to ask any questions. I'll be there to help you every step of the way. At the end of a mini coding lesson series, I'll post a project for you to try on your own so that you can test your knowledge of all of the concepts we covered.

Are you ready to learn how to write code?

Code