How to Learn How to Code

To learn to code, you need to spend hundreds of hours to start.  Like nearly anything, it takes more than 10,000 hours to get to be excellent.

Between attending Coder Kids Workshops, there is a tremendous amount that you can learn on your own.

What to Learn

There are many sites on the Internet that have free coding classes.  The trick is finding a relevant site and learning a language that makes it easy.

Learning programming is like learning how to write.  You need to learn the process and technique to write an essay or poem or whatever it is; you also need to know the language you're writing in.  The key is you need both.

In programming, you need to learn the techniques of programming first; then you can much more easily pick up a language.  If you start trying to learn, for example, all the details of Java syntax, you could get discouraged and frustrated since you don't know how to apply it.

This is why we teach kids (for free) using the Scratch language, created by MIT.  It's a very easy language to learn and use; it's designed for beginners, but used by colleges including Harvard in their introduction to computer science courses.

Recommendations for Beginners

If you are starting out coding, start with our workshops (which are only available in Central Pennsylvania) where we teach Scratch in our beginner class.  This will give you the basics, and is fun since you get to create cool games of your own design.

Next either learn Python or JavaScript.  We teach basic Python in our intermediate class held at the same time as the beginner Scratch class.  JavaScript (which we do not have a class for) would be great since it's what is used by nearly every web site on the Internet; There are several sites where you can learn both in detail (see Free Online Resources tab).

As mentioned, JavaScript (frequently abbreviated JS) is the "language" of the web.  You sometimes hear it called "client side" since it's the programming language that runs in your browser on your computer.  Even though this sounds like a version of Java, it is not; it is different.  If you are interested in creating games for the web or web sites, you will also need to learn HTML and CSS, which are used in all web pages; think of HTML as the set up language, and CSS as the description of what the page looks like (colors, layout, etc).

The cool thing here is once you know some HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, you can develop web sites.

The most important thing in learning to program is to write your own code; don't just watch the videos, you have to actually write some code and see how it all works to really learn programming.