Basic Tips for Coding for Beginners
So this week, a good friend of mine asked me how to get into software engineering. It isn’t as cut and dry as most other fields. If I wanted to become a nurse, I know I would need to go back to college. If I wanted to become a chef, I couldn’t just google recipes and practice at home. Sure that can help, but a lot more goes into those fields. Software engineering is a wild field in the aspect that you can go to college and learn, attend a bootcamp and land a job or even teach yourself and still get hired. A major part of the field is learning how to trouble shoot and how to build projects. He laughed when I told him a lot of time I spend coding relies on googling, reddit, official documentation and stack overflow. I wanted to share some tips for people just getting into the field.
One of the major things I stressed to my friend was to meet a software engineer and see if you really like it. If this is what you will be doing for 40+ hours a week, you shouldn’t go into it because you want to get rich. That’s a terrible idea and it will lead you to burn out much quicker than you may think. Talk to as many developers as you can. Software engineering isn’t all the same. Some people work on some pretty cool stuff. Some people really enjoy working on projects you or I may find boring. Others go into it because they want to build their own project and turn it into a business. Gathering as much resources as you can will make it easier to decide if this is the fit for you.
So after figuring out if this is what you may like, start peeking some free resources online. The Odin project is one of my favorites. It will get your feet wet coding and you can start to see what goes into it. Selecting a text editor would be a good next step. I personally use Visual Studio Code or vs code for short. Others swear by Sublime and the hardcore people like Vim. Starting out, I would say to avoid Vim because you may lock yourself in. Seriously, it is pretty complex. Once you’ve gotten your initiation into some basic stuff, focus on learning a language. Ruby and Python are pretty easy ones to start out with and they are still used in offices even though they are a bit more simple of a language. Once you start to get the feel for a language, build a project. It doesn’t have to be big, having something that can run a task can give you real world experience on how to develop an application. Starting small is the smartest option because you wouldn’t want to overwhelmed as you are getting into it.
At this point, you can decide if going the self taught route is your style. Maybe a bootcamp for the structured learning environment. Getting a degree is always going to be the most desired of the three but it can land you in a ton of debt most of the time. All three have their pros and cons. I hope this helps anyone who is thinking of becoming a dev.