Learning to code can seem like a long journey. And in some ways, it is. Becoming an expert coder can take years of hard work and dedication. But even experts had to start somewhere, with smaller goals and habits that they built up into larger skills over time.
If you're wondering if you can become a web developer, create a working A.I., or learn how to be a data scientist, the answer is yes! The most important thing is to set goals and stick to them. In this article, you’ll find 25 realistic goals that will help you to get started or keep going on your learning journey.
Getting Started with Learning to Code
The biggest step you can take toward learning to code is to get started with it. While it’s good to have an end goal in mind, don’t focus too much on how quickly you’ll get there. There are plenty of early milestones you can reach that will serve you well on your journey.
One important step is to set a date to start and stick to it. If you keep pushing your goals off until a better time, they will likely never happen. So first, thing -- decide when you will start to tackle one of these goals:
Pick a Programming Language
With so many languages to choose from, picking one to start can be a challenge. Python is the most popular language course among SoloLearn learners. It’s easy to get started with it, and is powerful enough that it is used every day by some of the largest companies and open source projects out there.
Print Your First “Hello, World!”
Once you’ve selected a language, dive in! Use SoloLearn’s Code Playground to create your first “Hello World” program. What seems like a simple thing can be an important step on your learning journey.
Set Up Your Coding Tools
While the Code Playground is a fast and easy way to get started with coding, you will eventually want to use the same tools that the pros use. Install a text editor like Visual Studio Code and register for a GitHub account, where you can share code and collaborate with other programmers.
Post Your Code For All to See
Once you’ve worked hard and created a program, post it to the SoloLearn community for all to see. You’ll get valuable feedback on your work and learn ways to make your code even better.
Write Your Code on Paper
One tip we learned from the SoloLearn community is to write out a piece of code by hand on paper. Then, check and double-check it for errors before typing it into the computer. Doing this can help you to better remember the syntax of your chosen language without relying on auto-complete in your text editor.
Improving Your Learning Habits
Once you’ve started learning how to code, you may soon realize that it’s a bigger challenge than you first thought. But this isn’t the time to give up. Rather, you can add a few more goals that will help you to continue on your learning journey. If you’re ready to continue learning, why not try one of these goals?
Download a Coding App on Your Phone
If you struggle to find time to practice coding, you are not alone. With the SoloLearn mobile app, you can study and practice any time, anywhere, right from your phone. Download it today and use your next wait in line, breaktime, or commute to continue learning.
Set Reasonable Expectations
How much time can you spend learning? Here at SoloLearn, we’re big fans of habit-forming learning. Even a short time spent studying or practicing, when done every day, is better than a long time less frequently. So make a goal to set aside a few minutes each day to practice coding.
Join the Community
You are not alone on your coding journey, and it’s good to remind yourself of that. When you join an online community, you can get answers to your questions and meet others learning how to code. Join the SoloLearn Community to find others who have the same goals and challenges as you, and be ready to ask questions when you get stuck.
Answer a Question
The community isn’t just a place to ask questions. You can help your fellow learners by answering their questions too. Plus, explaining a concept to someone else is a great way to help make sure you understand it at a deeper level. Make a goal to scan the Q&A section and find one or two questions that you can answer each day.
Find a project that interests you and work on it. For example, make a simple app that reminds you of your grocery shopping list or your family’s birthdays. When you work on something that will be useful, you’ll be more likely to see it through to completion.
Keep Moving Forward in Your Coding Journey
Once you’re comfortable with coding and feel like you’ve made progress, it’s not the time to stop learning. There is much more out there to explore on your coding journey. You can continue to practice and use the skills you’ve learned while adding new ones along the way. To keep building on the progress you’ve made, try one of these goals:
Write a Blog Post on Something You’ve Learned
Why not start a blog to share your learn-to-code experience with others? You might just inspire someone else to follow your journey too. Plus, you’ll have a place to document your progress and think through the trickier coding challenges that you encounter.
Speak With Someone in Your Field of Interest
The best source of knowledge in a particular field is someone who is in it currently. Make a goal to connect with an expert who is already working in the field you would like to pursue. If you ask them politely, they may be willing to share their experience with you.
Read a Technical Book
If you’re ready to dive into more advanced coding topics, reading a book is a good way to do it. Publishers such as O’Reilly Media specialize in books that cover intermediate and advanced programming techniques and languages, which can give you the knowledge boost you need.
Build a Portfolio Website
If you are planning to make a career out of coding, you will want to build a portfolio to show off your work. This is especially important for careers in web development. You can start with a simple site and add to it over time as your experience grows.
Take an Advanced Coding Course
If you’re ready to dig into more advanced coding or computer science topics, look for a free online course from universities such as MIT OpenCourseWare. Many include notes, exercises, recorded lectures, and more. And you can always come back to SoloLearn to practice what you’ve learned or brush up on a basic topic as needed.
Completing Your Learn-to-Code Goals
As you move through your learning journey, keep track of the goals you’ve made and when you completed them. This will help you to clearly see the progress you’ve made, keeping you motivated to reach your next goal.
Why not start crossing off goals today? Head over to the SoloLearn courses page, pick a language, and get started on your coding journey today. Or if you’ve already started learning, pick one of the intermediate or advanced goals and make a plan for how you’re going to accomplish it. The best time to start was yesterday, but the second-best time is now.