I recently decided that I want to focus on teaching entrepreneurs Web development, because I believe that’s the best way to start an online business and have a good chance of being successful.
However, learning to code can seem a daunting task at first, so here are the steps you should follow if you don’t want to feel lost.
Start with the basics
As with any new skill, you need to start by learning the basics, the foundations of what you’re going to learn going forward.
There are certain concepts that you need to learn no matter which programming language you’ll choose going forward.
These are theoretical concepts which are common to 99% of the programming languages out there.
Also, this is the less hands-on part of learning to code and so it might feel a bit boring at first. But stick with it and you’ll reap the rewards going forward.
What I’m talking about here is:
- Variables and data structures: this is the way information is represented in a programming language
- Control structures: these allow you to compare different variables and to tell your program what to do based on the input it receives
- Loops: lots of times you’ll be dealing with collections of similar data (e.g. articles in a blog) so you need a way to iterate over them
- Functions: there will be tasks you need to perform several times and functions allow you to give a name to a particular piece of code so that you can use it over and over without having to copy it several times
- Algorithms: writing code is one thing, writing good code is another. To write good code you need to make sure what you write is fast and efficient and the way to learn how to do it is to study popular algorithms which are at the base of good code
I know this is very general and at first it won’t make much sense, but once you begin studying the concepts above in the given order, everything will start to make sense.
Learn a programming language
Once you know how a computer program works, you’re ready to learn a programming language.
I’ve already written about the best programming languages for entrepreneurs so I suggest you read that article and pick one.
Keep in mind you can’t really go wrong here: there’s no absolute best language you can choose, so any of the ones I suggested will be ok.
Each language will have its peculiarities, but if you’ve learned the basics you should be able to quickly make sense of the language you choose.
Start by studying the basic syntax of the language so that you can understand how to translate what you want to do in the language’s own lingo.
My suggestion is to avoid studying everything in one go: at this point you should go in little increments and at each step, you should write a small program to put what you’re learning into practice.
At first, this will seem redundant and a bit pointless, especially considering most tutorials start by teaching you how to write a program that says: “Hello world!”. I know, quite funny, hah?
But no matter how redundant or boring this might seem, writing code is the best way to learn how to code and when you’re just starting you have to begin by writing very simple programs.
The more you’ll do it, the better you’ll become. Trust me!
Think of a task and translate it into code
Now that you’ve learned the basics of programming and you have some knowledge of the language you chose, it’s time to write a simple application.
I’m a big believer in learning by doing, and this applies to programming perfectly! If you want to get better at it, you need to write lots of code.
So think of a task you’d like to automate. Nothing fancy, you’re just at the beginning here, so I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed.
At the same time, pick something that you’re going to use in your daily life because it will give more purpose to what you’re doing and it will likely lead to a slightly more challenging task.
Once you’ve defined what you’re going to do, take some time to plan how you’re going to tackle the problem at hand. Try to visualize the program in your mind.
Once you know what you’re going to do…just do it! Open your text editor and write some code.
At first, it’ll feel difficult and maybe the result will be barely decent. But who cares, the goal is to learn and by the time you’ll be done with your first application, you’ll have learned a lot.
And when your first app is done, think of another task and write another app for it. And then another one. And then another one. And so on.
After a few times doing this, you’ll be able to tackle a bigger project. How will you know when you’re ready? It’s easy, you’ll be ready when you think you aren’t quite ready, yet, but at the same time feel the urge to write something bigger.
Rinse and repeat
I’ll never get tired of saying learning to code is a never-ending journey, but in a good way: there’s always more you can learn, and the more you learn the better you’ll get.
If I think about my first days as a developer, I can’t believe how poor of a coder I was, but that’s part of the game. Right now, I can probably solve any coding problem you throw at me, but that’s because I’ve never stopped learning.
If you’re an entrepreneur and you want to learn web development, I want to help you out. I’m working on a course to help you build an online business through your coding skills and would be very happy if you signed up for my newsletter below to be notified when I’m ready to launch it.
In the meantime, please send me any questions you have about learning to code as an entrepreneur!
Do you want to learn how to code?
I'm a Web developer and an entrepreneur and I can tell you that being both is what led to some of my best accomplishments.
I'm working on a course to teach entrepreneurs just like you how to code so that you can build your own Web apps and take your business to the next level.
Plus, each week I'll send you an article to help you in your endeavour to start your own business.
Enter your name and email and I'll let you into the course before anyone else!