Coding for Beginners: Resources and Tools to Start Coding

Learning the World of Software and Coding

Four years ago, I started with Jungle Disk as a front-line support tech. I had a bit of training and experience in tech support, but I was still very green in the world of tech. In the course of supporting our customers, I would regularly interact with our development and operations teams. Through these interactions, I improved my understanding of how our software and infrastructure worked and was inspired to continue learning more about the world of software and coding.

Fast-forward to just a couple of months ago, I’ve joined the Jungle Disk software development team and now work on the Jungle Disk client software and websites. As I look back at all I’ve learned from my time at Jungle Disk and the path I’ve taken to grow from a support tech to a software developer, I wanted to share my experience and feature some tools and websites that have aided me in this journey.

If you have an interest in learning to code, these websites are wonderful places to get started and to challenge yourself as you learn more!

Code School

Code School was really the best introduction I had into the world of coding and software. The breadth of content, both free and paid, offers a wide array of paths for a budding developer to take. Personally, I started on the Javascript track, because I was really interested in how websites were built and how they could be made to be interactive. If building websites isn’t your thing, there are a ton of options to learn languages that are more often used on the “backend” or “behind-the-scenes” side of the software world.

Free Code Camp

Free Code Camp, as the name suggests, is a FREE site that takes users through a “map” of challenges that gradually build on each previous challenge and enforce the skills being learned in each. Free Code Camp’s goal is to have users complete various training tracks and move towards getting their “Front End Development Certification,” which is featured throughout the site with testimonials of users who completed the certificate and found a job as a web developer as a result. Largely, this site focuses on teaching web development with HTML, CSS, and Javascript, but they have continually added content and now feature a “Back End Development Certificate.”

CodeWars

One of the other members of the Jungle Disk development team introduced me to CodeWars and I have been hooked ever since. This site is like a “training” ground for coders to go and solve challenges in whatever language they might be using, learning, etc. Each challenge is called a “Kata” and has a well defined problem that is to be solved. Once you solve a Kata, you get access to all the solutions used by other users on the website. As you move through challenges, you “level up” by solving more and more difficult Kata. While the challenges on their own are great for sharpening skills, I’ve found that browsing other users’ solutions to Kata have been extremely useful in better understanding the languages I use and how different developers go about solving problems.

GitLogs

In the early days of my interest in coding, I spent a lot of time reading code and attempting to understand what a particular piece of code was meant to do and how it was interrelated to the entirety of a website or project. This activity was and continues to be extremely useful as I progress and grow my skills. I love GitLogs because it’s been a great introduction to the world of Open Source software and given me a place to go to look at popular open source projects. I’ll often just peruse the site, click through a few repositories and read some of the code to get a better understanding of what project aims to achieve and how it goes about doing it.

Dev.to

Dev.to is an awesome community/blog platform that is primarily focused around software development. This site has been an excellent resource to learn more about the “world of coding,” the culture, and what it’s like to be an actual software developer. Content on the site is completely user-generated and covers a broad range of topics. My personal favorite on this site is the #explainlikeimfive section wherein users ask the community to explain a specific topic in the simplest terms possible (hence the section’s title!). I’ve learned a lot just from reading the community responses to these queries!

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