So you want to become a coder.
In short, the fastest and easiest way to become a coder today is to focus on web development. In fact, you can become a well-rounded web coder in just 6 months, and this article outlines a month-by-month plan for how to do that. It’s a loose guide and the aim is to give you a general idea of what coding languages you might want to learn, and in what order.
If you only read one page on this website, make it this one.
Month 1: Make a Simple Website (HTML and CSS)
Spend your first month learning HTML and CSS, the codes used to write websites. HTML and CSS are arguably the two easiest coding languages to learn. They’ll give you a gentle introduction to coding before you move on to bigger, more challenging material. Also, you don’t need to buy any special web design software or web hosting. All you need is your computer!
Designing and building your own simple website is the best way to learn HTML and CSS. If you use training like Treehouse, you’ll be walked through this process. You can also research HTML and CSS on your own, but it will be hard. It’s kind of like having to first find the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle before you can assemble them.
It should take about a month to get a good, solid HTML and CSS foundation. Then, you can move on to some real programming…
- it requires no installation
- you can use it to build upon your HTML and CSS website.
Months 4 and 5: Back-End Development (PHP or Rails)
The last piece of the web development puzzle is back-end development. If you can create a website and write both front-end and back-end scripts, you’ll be a well-rounded coder indeed.
Many websites use back-end scripts to fetch data from databases, or to share content between multiple web pages. PHP is the most popular coding language for back-end development. In more recent times, Ruby on Rails has emerged as a bit of a competitor to PHP.
Choose one of the two to learn and specialize in. Many coders find PHP is more beginner-friendly, while Rails has more of a learning curve. But the choice is up to you.
Again, give yourself two months to learn and start using either PHP or Rails. If you want to learn both, give yourself at least two months for each one.
Month 6: Build Credibility
By your sixth month, you will know enough material to become a coder. Congratulations!
However, you don’t have a university degree or any official certification. So if you want to land a job, you’ll need to prove that you know what you’re doing.
There are two ways you can do this. The first option is to set up a personal portfolio website, and sell yourself by showcasing the websites and web applications you’ve created in your 6 months learning coding. The second option is to build a big-time web application – one that makes use of everything you’ve learnt, which you will deploy online for the world to see and use. This will take you more than a month, but it will be worth it.
The final step is to go off job-hunting. You can search for coding jobs in your area, or alternatively, you can choose to be a self-employed coder, either as a freelancer or by starting a tech business.
The possibilities are, as they say, endless. Good luck!