[Link] How We Learned to Code

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15 Replies - 8462 Views - Last Post: 18 April 2014 - 01:11 AM

#1 macosxnerd101   User is offline

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[Link] How We Learned to Code

Post icon  Posted 09 April 2014 - 11:01 AM

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Someone at my school's CS Facebook group shared this link. The gist of it is how a bunch of non-technical people learned to code to develop a product. We get a lot of people asking how to learn to code, so I thought this would be a worthwhile share. There were some things I agreed with and some things I did not.

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Figure out which languages you need. This is a great time to ask a programmer friend. There are lots out there, and they are super willing to help. Also figure out which ďhelpersĒ you can use to make life easier. I canít think of a better word, but this refers to frameworks, backends as a service such as Parse, Stripe, Bootstrap ect. Basically, Iím referring to any precompiled code that is designed to make your life easier.

This is a big point. We get a lot of people using the wrong language, or have trouble figuring out which language to use.

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Do the Codeacademy course on each programming language you need to learn. Do this as quickly as possible, and donít bother trying to remember syntax. Never take notes; you can always use Google when you donít remember syntax. Codeacademy is great for familiarizing yourself with programming, but beware as it gives a huge false sense of accomplishment. In reality, programming is nothing like Codeacademy.

I really liked this point. Too often, people stress Codeacadamy without understanding what it's for. The last sentence sums it up well. Programming is nothing like Codeacademy. It's a great way to get up on the language to provide enough familiarity to delve into more in-depth tutorials.


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Start building, and learn to Google.

While this article really emphasized "jump in and do it," I was fond of the fact that they emphasized learning to Google. Their approach is definitely a much more organized way of jumping in and learning to make something, in comparison to "I want to make an MMO. What next?"


What are everyone's thoughts on the article? Does anyone have any tips to add to it?

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Replies To: [Link] How We Learned to Code

#2 conure   User is offline

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Re: [Link] How We Learned to Code

Posted 09 April 2014 - 11:27 AM

Interesting article, thanks for linking. As a somewhat new programmer I have to admit that I have given up on code academy - but that's probably a personal thing. I found using a well reviewed and detailed book far superior (yeah I know, obvious...) but I found code academy hard to remember because it lacked fundamentals.

(that said I can completely see the value of code academy, it just isn't for me)

This post has been edited by macosxnerd101: 09 April 2014 - 11:35 AM
Reason for edit:: No need to quote the post above you

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#3 BetaWar   User is offline

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Re: [Link] How We Learned to Code

Posted 09 April 2014 - 11:30 AM

I would also stress the importance of learning to debug code. It will initially take you longer than simply googling for the problem and how to resolve it, but once you get the hang of debugging and know what to look for you won't have to even leave your terminal (or IDE), simply see the error message and fix the associated code. I'd argue it will save time in the long run.
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#4 modi123_1   User is online

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Re: [Link] How We Learned to Code

Posted 09 April 2014 - 02:00 PM

Not a bad article, but that bottom section helped frame the majority of the post. Sure.. there's some good information, but there were some missed points too (well assuming you want to move out of the perpetual entry level hobbyist well.

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Addendum: Please note that this article is meant for aspiring entrepreneurs and hobbyists - not for anyone looking to make a career out of software development

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#5 Michael26   User is offline

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Re: [Link] How We Learned to Code

Posted 10 April 2014 - 05:30 AM

The first link in my signature has been very helpful to me.
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#6 bigmatt267   User is offline

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Re: [Link] How We Learned to Code

Posted 10 April 2014 - 12:44 PM

I agree with that building a project first and studying theory later can work. This helped me when I was using Visual Studio. Sure I started out C&P'ing, but I understood what I was doing when I started on tutorials.
This theory can be used in other areas in life also, I am sure.
Great share!
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#7 izrafel   User is offline

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Re: [Link] How We Learned to Code

Posted 12 April 2014 - 03:57 PM

very nice and true article. to sum it up, if you want to learn to code, you have to code. choose projects and tasks that a little above your level, in the begging most of the tasks you choose/find/start will seem pointless, but they have a very important purpose, its called routine :)/>

This post has been edited by izrafel: 12 April 2014 - 03:58 PM

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#8 angervax   User is offline

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Re: [Link] How We Learned to Code

Posted 14 April 2014 - 08:06 AM

Very wise article :) "Execute first, learn theory later" this is what is good and so is possible to learn better of course. At this time I have ended up with homepages to friends etc (Adobe)and use now Visual Studio. I am new into it and when I forst opened it, I looked at it I was supprised, how dumb I really am :D Thanks for some articles and codes online now I have during a few days some understanding about, how things work but surely this is not enough jet.
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#9 fredlawl   User is offline

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Re: [Link] How We Learned to Code

Posted 15 April 2014 - 07:30 PM

Very good article for beginner. As others mentioned above it is all about getting your hands dirty.

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Donít reinvent the wheel. There are so many resources out there, many of them open-source (free), that make our lives easier. Bootstrap helps you style webpages, Parse does backend and authentication, Stripe does secure payments, ect. These resources were made for you to use! If you see a cool design on a website, inspect the source and see how they did it! People have spent a lot of time creating these resources and most are far better than what you could do on your own. Donít waste your time recreating them.


Reinventing the wheel is debatable. For learning purposes it has great value because if you want to take your skills to the next level, you must be able to think like the people who create impressive works. For instance, I learned the ideas and practices of the MVC pattern better when I tried to implement it myself. I would argue this point serves a better purpose in a professional/time sensitive setting.
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#10 macosxnerd101   User is offline

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Re: [Link] How We Learned to Code

Posted 15 April 2014 - 07:33 PM

Perspective is everything. As you said, reinventing the wheel has learning purposes. In a startup (the perspective of the article), the goal is to get a quality product market ready as fast as possible. Reinventing the wheel has little place there.
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#11 tokei   User is offline

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Re: [Link] How We Learned to Code

Posted 15 April 2014 - 08:51 PM

learn from youtube, stackoverflow, blog etc

from
tokei
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#12 Michael26   User is offline

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Re: [Link] How We Learned to Code

Posted 16 April 2014 - 01:42 PM

I can't load the page anymore, was it removed?
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#13 macosxnerd101   User is offline

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Re: [Link] How We Learned to Code

Posted 16 April 2014 - 01:48 PM

I just opened the link with no problems.

I just opened the link with no problems.
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#14 Michael26   User is offline

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Re: [Link] How We Learned to Code

Posted 16 April 2014 - 02:07 PM

Me too now, it was unavailable for a while
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#15 cfoley   User is offline

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Re: [Link] How We Learned to Code

Posted 17 April 2014 - 02:44 AM

I enjoyed the article very much but I think he missed something important:

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Please note that this article is meant for aspiring entrepreneurs and hobbyists - not for anyone looking to make a career out of software development.


On the contrary, It's also an excellent article for aspiring software developers. The degree will guide you in learning theory but whatever your level, you have to practice building and finishing projects. There is a determination required to see projects through to their conclusion and that stamina has to be built over time.

Another skill that comes over in the article is winging it, and that's crucially important for building things. How much of what I use do I really understand? Third party libraries? The database? The language? I might have a superficial understanding of each. I might even know how to implement alternatives but in reality I rarely know how anything actually works deep down. It's all guesswork and evolving an increasingly complete mental model.

Finally, it will put the theory in context. You'll see the point in ADTs, patterns and architecture because you'll be able to relate them to code you have written. You'll be able to see how their use will improve your current and past projects.
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