Learning to code has been quite a journey for me. Nothing gets me more exited than the feeling of looking at source code and thinking to my self “Hot damn! I actually understand this!” And being able to write your own code from scratch is even more thrilling. But my journey with code has been fraught with frustration, tears, late nights and way too much beer. There are many things that I wish someone would have told me when starting off as a young web developer. Maybe this article will help some of you out there on the same path.
The journey is a lonely one
Once you learn to code one progamming lanuage, you practically learned them all
One of my first computer science classes in high school was Visual Basic. And to be honest, I hated it. I hated it so much! I didn’t like having to come up with math equations. I hated how sensitive the syntax was. I can’t tell you how many times I felt like taking those giant computer monitors and bashing them on the ground Office Space style. But( and this is a very big BUT) once I got the basics down, I had learned the very core basics to learning any programming language. When I finally started to learn php a couple years later, having that knowledge of basic programming really helped out. Now, if someone were to have told me this, I would have tried so much harder in that class.
For the love of god, use version control!
I think we’ve all been there. Spending ridiculous amounts of hours on a project, debugging code, and making sure everything looks just right. But then somewhere along the line your source code starts to look more and more like computer barf, and nothing works. The suckiest part of all is that you can’t reverse the changes because you have so much crap code in so many places. Version controls systems like Git help combat that problem. Basically add the good versions of your project to a git repository, and when you screw up, you can pull from your repository and restore your project to a previous state.
These are just a few of the things that in hindsight I wish someone would have told me about a long time ago. However, I will say that my struggles have only made me stronger. The biggest piece of advise I can give to anyone learning to code would be just keep working on projects. Everyday. You don’t have to build a fancy web app right away. But just teach yourself little code snippets that work, and save them. Github Gists is a really great tool for that. Soon enough, code will stop looking like gibberish and you will feel like a god and a master of the internets.
I know I do….sometimes…