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Coding for beginners: 4 ways to teach yourself code

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay

Often deemed the “language of the future”, coding has become an increasingly essential skill in today’s modern landscape.

But whether you’re already out of school, simply seeking new skills or looking to enter the country’s growing, in-demand industry; you needn’t rely on a school curriculum to teach yourself to code.

Below, we explore what programming is, its importance in any career, and how to build these skills yourself.

What is coding?

Coding, or “programming”, is the task of instructing computers or machines to perform certain functions – using an intricate language of specific formulas, calculations, and complex instructions. They help digital machines solve problems, automate tasks, and run various software. Without code, our devices would cease to perform as intended.

Tasks involved with the trade include testing, debugging, and maintaining software code; and commonly lead to lucrative tech professions such as software development, database administration, and web development.  
Though the activity involves plenty of logic and critical thinking, programming can also be a highly creative task, as the coder is challenged with finding creative ways to solve problems and achieve specific actions.

Why should you learn to code?

The skills are high in demand

Australia is currently grappling with a growing skills shortage in coding, requiring approximately 60% more programmers by 2028. Such abilities are thus high in demand, leading to plenty of high-paying job opportunities and career progression in the field.

According to Job Outlook, software and applications programmers, in particular, are set to experience “very strong” future growth; with an average weekly pay of $2,003 per week (higher than the all-jobs average of $1,460).

Coding can be a flexible profession

woman programmer working from home

Due to its digital nature, learning to code can lead to plenty of flexible career opportunities. All one needs is a working computer, a stable internet connection, and the proper software to carry out their tasks and projects.
This allows programmers to achieve that much-desired work-life balance, as they can easily work from home (or wherever best suits them).

You’ll “future-proof” your career

Finally, learning to code allows one to secure their career opportunities for the future.

As mentioned, automation is expected to disrupt over 40% of Australian jobs by 2030. Today’s workers are thus advised to “code or be coded”, deeming the skill a now mandatory need for any industry – and not just an exclusive venture for “techies”. Having programming abilities under your belt can help you easily navigate through the increasing digitisation of businesses, helping you maintain and secure job opportunities amidst the boom of automation.

How to teach yourself code

1. Select a programming language

Before diving in, your first step is deciding which coding language you’d like to tackle.

This will depend on both your skill level and the specific programs or systems you want to code. For example, beginners are often recommended to explore HTML and CSS, as the user-friendliness of these languages make them ideal “entry points” into the coding field. Both, however, are also exclusively useful for designing and developing websites.

Those who wish to dive into more complex systems and databases may wish to pursue Python, Javascript, PHP, Swift, or SQL – as these languages are typically used to make online or mobile applications. Others looking to break into the video game development industry may want to look into Unity and C#; the two most widely-used coding languages in the field.

2. Take up a course

Aspiring coding experts will find few training pathways more effective than a comprehensive online course.
A quality program will not only equip you with the fundamentals of coding, but will also explore various languages and programming techniques – giving you an introductory feel of all the common skills involved with the field.

Upskilled currently offers such a course through their ICT40120 - Certificate IV in Information Technology (Programming), a thorough entry-level coding program that dives into various languages and the processes involved with cyber security, database creation, application development, and software testing. Students can apply their newfound skills to practice through summative portfolio assessments (among other practical assignments) and may be able to pursue junior roles in programming and software development upon graduation.

3. Participate in online communities

online networking concept

To practice your skills and make valuable industry connections across the globe, engaging in online programming communities is also encouraged.

Plenty of online platforms are now available for experienced or aspiring coders to connect with one another, helping them form collaborative projects or participate in online competitions with other coders of various interests.

GitHub, for example, functions as the “Facebook” of the coding world – providing a platform where over 65 million developers congregate to share their projects, access software packages, and pursue projects with other users.

StackOverflow is another popular platform for sharing one’s knowledge of coding languages and techniques, where both professional and hobbyist programmers feature their questions and answers on a wide range of coding-related topics.

By engaging with the various online coding communities available – you’ll not only practically learn from veterans of the industry, but also have the chance to work and connect with professionals around the world.  

4. Pursue your own projects

Finally, it’s important to also develop your own personal coding projects.

Workshops, bootcamps, and online courses can only get you so far – in order to truly hone your programming skills, one must be willing to regularly practice them. This is where personal drive and passion comes into play, as coders are recommended to start their own programming venture; one they’d look forward to constantly building and improving upon.

Such a project doesn’t have to be too ambitious either – one can start small, eventually expanding its scope as their knowledge and skillset continues to broaden. This allows coders to consistently test and work on their skills, as well as craft an impressive passion project for their personal portfolio.

What is the best code to learn?

While HTML and CSS are typically the “easiest” or most “user-friendly” of coding languages, junior coders are recommended to learn Python and Javascript for their versatility. Professionals will find that these languages are often used across various development projects and activities, including mobile app creation, front-end web development, and building network applications.

Additionally, Python and Javascript have flexible syntax rules and are compatible across all major browsers, providing a great level of user-friendliness for beginner programmers. Both languages were also among the most-searched in Australia in 2020, with their related tasks (i.e. mobile, full-stack, and front-end development) ranking among the most in-demand coding skills for Australia this year.

Ready to learn to code?

When it comes to building your skills for the future, programming remains among the topmost vital abilities.
As mentioned, undertaking a course is the best way to build your knowledge and experience in the fundamentals – as well as explore all major skills areas and languages of the field.

Upskilled’s ICT40120 - Certificate IV in Information Technology (Programming) provides a thorough training experience in entry-level coding, additionally exploring key industry areas such as cyber security, web development, and mobile applications. Best of all, the course is delivered online, helping students train according to their personal needs and schedule.

Build your skills for the future, and enquire with us today.
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