We are living in a digital era where you can get anything online including a degree certificate.
Does this apply to all fields? Can you learn to code online and become a full-stack developer?
We get this question all the time. Some aspiring developers cannot attend our classroom lessons because of distance or time constraints.
Others cannot afford the tuition fees that coding schools in Kenya charge.
Can you handle the challenge of teaching yourself how to code? Let us learn together.
1. Determine or set a goal
Why do you want to learn to code? Do you want to start a career in the field or just add a new skill?
Your goal should have a timeline to keep you focused and committed.
Why are we talking about goals before coding? Your goal will determine your approach and involvement.
It determines the programming languages that you choose and the courses that you register for online.
Sometimes you need to learn basic programming skills on your own to enrol in a master class.
For instance, some courses at Kwetu Hub require basic knowledge of programming languages.
You cannot blame your past limitations for failing to enrol for such courses.
If you want to develop an outstanding app, you need to put in the time and resources to learn the same.
2. Identify the resources you need
The goals set in the first step will help you determine the resources you need. Choose the programming languages first to help you choose the resources.
Here are some of the resources that you can explore online. Some may be free while others come at a fee.
The advantage of learning from books is that most authors start with definition of terms.
You get the basic building blocks of codes and programming languages that will help you understand concepts later.
However, you need to be careful to choose current versions. Check the table of content before spending money on a book
Does it cover the programming languages you want to learn in depth?
Explore free e-books as well. Some coding schools and programmers offer such resources to help other developers learn faster.
The most preferred method by online students is registering for online courses.
There are two ways to go about it. First, look for coding schools in Kenya that offer an online program.
Such a program will offer the same course content as the school’s classroom program.
The course is likely to be at the same fee as the physical classroom program.
In some coding schools, some of the online lessons are free, especially for coding bootcamps.
You want to explore as many online courses as you can from reliable coding schools.
The alternative is to look for any coding course online, including those offered by individual tutors.
Some developers start online lessons without any affiliation to a coding school. In fact, you want to start there if you are looking for free coding lessons online.
Start with introductory courses and then progress. Most tutors will offer such lessons for free and charge for higher levels of learning.
One of the easiest ways to teach yourself to code online is to watch someone do it.
All you need to understand is the basics of the programming language and have the same version of the language as the tutor.
You can then follow the video and practice with the same code.
Fortunately, video platforms have so many coding videos for programmers.
Try searching for a free video for any concept that proves hard from other resources like books or online courses.
We advise students on interactive lessons more than passive learning.
Kwetu Hub practices the same in our coding classes.
Interactive lessons give you opportunities to ask questions and test your skills.
Such tutorials may be available at a fee, which in most cases is reasonable.
3. Google errors
One of the shortcomings of choosing to learn to code online is that you have limited help with errors.
Even the best developers encounter errors and bugs in their codes. The challenge is in going past the error.
For a newbie learning online, Google is your good friend.
You will soon realise that many other programmers have encountered the same errors and solved them.
The good thing about such solutions is that they are free.
Google will also lead you to communities and forums where you can ask questions about bugs that you cannot solve.
Do not be afraid to ask questions however basic they may sound. Most developers understand the challenge of learning to code and are willing to help students learn.
4. Work with a mentor
A mentor can be online or offline depending on who is accessible to you.
How will you determine if you are making the right choices with the programming languages and learning resources?
The work of the mentor is not necessary to teach you but rate your learning experience and progress.
Otherwise, you might waste time on outdated concepts or money on useless tutorials.
That said, you should not sit around and wait for a mentor to start the journey.
Get started without one. You will meet the right one in the process.
You might come across an online tutorial or course that introduces you to the mentor you need.
A student at the next level of your course can act as your mentor. A peer registered in a coding school can be your mentor.
In other words, you cannot limit your options to tutors or experienced developers.
All you need is someone to help you determine if you are headed in the right direction at every stage.
Sometimes the internet is the only resource you have to start your career as a programmer or developers. It opens up multiple resources as outlined that will help you achieve your learning objectives. You can learn to code online alone to a certain degree. However, for in-depth coding lessons, you need to enrol in a coding school for an online or on-campus program.