Do yourself a favor. Learn to code. Here’s how.
I’ve said this to my non-techie friends countless times. It’s no secret that being able to code makes you a better job applicant, and a better entrepreneur. Hell, one techie taught a homeless man to code and now that man is making his first mobile application.
Learning to code elevates your professional life, and makes you more knowledgeable about the massive changes taking place in the technology sector that are poised to have an immense influence on human life.
(note: yes I realize that 3/5 of those links were Google projects)
But most folks are intimidated by coding. And it does seem intimidating at first. But peel away the obscurity and the difficulty, and you start to learn that coding, at least at its basic level, is a very manageable, learnable skill.
There are a lot of resources out there to teach you. I’ve found a couple to be particularly successful. Here’s my list of resources for learning to code, sorted by difficulty:
Never written a line of code before? No worries. Just visit one of these fine resources and follow their high-level tutorials. You won’t get into the nitty-gritty, but don’t worry about it for now:
w3 Tutorials (start at HTML on the left sidebar and work your way down)
Now that you’ve gone through a handful of basic tutorials, it’s time to learn the fundamentals of actual, real-life coding problems. I’ve found these resources to be solid:
If you’re here, you’re capable of building things. You know the primitives. You know the logic control statements. You’re ready to start making real stuff take shape. Here are some different types of resources to turn you from someone who knows how to code, into a full-fledged programmer.
Sometimes, the challenges in programming aren’t how to make a language do a task, but just how to do the task in general. Like how to find an item in a very large, sorted list, without checking each element. Here are some resources for those types of problems
If you learned Python, Django is an amazing platform for creating quick-and-easy web applications. I’d highly suggest the tutorial - it’s one of the best I’ve ever used, and you have a web app up and running in less than an hour.
I’ve never used Rails, but it’s a very popular and powerful framework for creating web applications using Ruby. I’d suggest going through their guide to start getting down-and-dirty with Rails development.
If you know PHP, there’s an ocean of good stuff out there for you to learn how to make a full-fledged web application. Frameworks do a lot of work for you, and provide quick and easy guides to get up and running. I’d suggest the following:
If there’s one point I wanted to get across, it’s that it is easier than ever to learn to code. There are resources on every corner of the internet for potential programmers, and the benefits of learning even just the basics are monumental.
If you know of any additional, great resources that aren’t listed here, please feel free to tweet them to me @boomeyer.
Best of luck!
In an age where everything is a remix and a culture built on the fact that everything builds on what came before, the New Yorker considers whether copyright law failing to live up to the realities of art.
…These all had one thing in common: They seemed too tidily packaged, too neat, “too good to check,” as they used to say, to actually be true. Any number of reporters or editors at any of the hundreds of sites that posted these Platonic ideals of shareability could’ve told you that they smelled, but in the ongoing decimation of the publishing industry, fact-checking has been outsourced to the readers. Not surprisingly—as we saw with the erroneous Reddit-spawned witch-hunt around the Boston Marathon bombing—readers are terrible at fact-checking. And this, as it happens, is good for business because it means more shares, more clicks.
This is not a glitch in the system. It is the system. Readers are gullible, the media is feckless, garbage is circulated around, and everyone goes to bed happy and fed. BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti admitted as much when explaining, that, when he’s hiring, he looks for “people who really understand how information is shared on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and other emerging platforms, because that is in some cases as important as, you know, having traditional reporting talent.” Upworthy editorial director Sara Critchfield seconded the notion. “We reject the idea that the media elite or people who have been trained in a certain way somehow have the monopoly on editorial judgment.”
Luke O’Neil, Esquire. The Year We Broke The Internet.
Or as Ryan Grim, Huffington Post Washington Bureau Chief, told The New York Times, “If you throw something up without fact-checking it, and you’re the first one to put it up, and you get millions and millions of views, and later it’s proved false, you still got those views. That’s a problem. The incentives are all wrong.”
The FJP’s thoughts on fact checking? You can find those here.