The Foolproof Way to Learn How to Code

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Coding takes practice, so just start!

I learned how to code by trial and error. Sure, I did study web design, but the majority of what I learned wasn’t in a classroom. I dove in. Tried things. Tore code apart. Broke things. Saw what worked and what didn’t. Googled like crazy. Rinse and repeat.

When people say they’re scared to touch code and have no idea what they’re doing, I want to shake them and tell them to get their hands dirty. Do you think as a 14 year old who wanted to customize her LiveJournal, I had any idea what I was doing? Nope. Not a clue. I found a theme I liked and played around. You know the popular saying “practice makes perfect?” Well this is one case where that is 100% true. Have some faith in yourself and try. Code isn’t as scary as it looks.

Remember starting a new school year and flipping through your math book? Do you remember how scary those math equations at the back of the book looked? Yet by year’s end, you conquered them and they weren’t so scary anymore. Think of code the same way.

Now I’m not saying you should start customizing your current theme on your 10k visitors a day site. That would be asking for trouble. Instead, setup a second site where you can experiment. If you are self hosted, most hosts allow subdomains, which are the perfect place to setup a test site.

So tell me, what’s holding you back from learning to code?

8 thoughts on “The Foolproof Way to Learn How to Code”

  1. This is exactly right- you hit the nail on the head Allyssa! I learned the basics at W3schools.com, but the only thing that taught me anything was making mistakes, and googling how to fix them! My boyfriend has been a web developer since dial-up internet and he still googles things. You’re never going to know all the code, the more you work at it, the better you get! Great post!

    -Margo

  2. Definitely the best way to learn! I’m completely self taught by Google, trial and error, and many late nights. The feeling of figuring out something yourself is the MOST rewarding thing ever, too!

  3. This is awesome! I took a web design class in college as well, but none of it makes sense unless you make mistakes and figure out why something went wrong. Thanks for the encouragement!

  4. Loved this! I can say I am one of the guilty who is very intimidated by learning html/css, even after taking a bunch of beginners courses on it! I get frustrated when I don’t get something right away thus making me give up a little too easily. Thanks for this! I definitely want to make it a goal to learn it this year and use it!

  5. I agree that in coding it’s all about practice. I just started self-educating coding through e-courses. I always put two windows, following the instructor and then doing the code all by myself without looking at the instruction. When I was more confident with my skills, I started doing on my own first and checked by looking at the instruction. Like just do it 🙂

  6. Pingback: 5 Resources for Learning to Code - Allyssa Barnes

  7. I’ve gotten really interested in code since I started my site, which is a CSS’ed up Genesis Foodie theme. Now, I’m always trying to dig into codes. “Right Click>> Inspect Element” is my new favorite thing! I’m thinking about trying out Treehouse to learn more.

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