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Understanding the Basics of Coding

As the job landscape continues its seismic shifts courtesy of the Covid pandemic, many people want jobs that better suit a remote work lifestyle. Computer programmer tops a lot of people’s lists. With a median salary of around $88,000 and many companies now accepting self-taught coders, it’s an attractive option.

Of course, learning code isn’t an overnight process. It takes time and commitment to master enough material to secure employment. If you want to become a coder, you need some intro to the basics of coding. Keep reading for our coding 101 guide.

Programming Environment

Most computer programming these days happens in what’s called a programming environment or an integrated development environment. Essentially, it’s a computer program designed to make writing code easier. A few of the more popular programming environments include:

  • Visual Studio Code
  • Eclipse
  • Notepad++
  • Sublime Text
  • Atom

Most programming environments support all of the mainstream programming languages. Although, each workplace will typically pick one and expect all of their programmers to use it.

Programming Languages

When you first start learning code, you’ll find out that there are many programming languages. They fall into two main categories: front end languages and back end languages.

Front end languages deal primarily deal with things you see on screen, such as the visuals and behaviors on a website. Back end languages deal primarily with things operations that happen on a server. A few of the more common programming languages include:

  • Python
  • Ruby
  • C#
  • JavaScript
  • PHP

Some languages, such as Python, work for front end and back end programming.

Libraries and Frameworks

You’ll also quickly discover most languages can also make use of libraries and frameworks. For example, you might use the OCR C# library if you program with C#. You can think of libraries and frameworks as pre-written code that accomplishes certain tasks. In most cases, the library or framework helps with programming something specific.

Core Terms

Most programming happens with a set of common terms and procedures. A few of the most common terms include:

  • Variables
  • Functions
  • Arrays
  • Loops
  • Conditionals
  • Algorithms

Each of the things listed above makes programming possible by telling a computer what something is or what to do with it.

Learning Code

You can learn code on your own by taking advantage of any number of free and paid online resources that teach coding essentials. You can enter into a coding bootcamp. You can also go back to school and seek a degree in computer science.

Basics of Coding and You

For the newcomer, even the basics of coding can feel intimidating. Don’t let the terminology and new technology frighten you off. You can learn coding the same way that thousands of others learned to code.

Take it one step at a time by finding an online resource, bootcamp, or college program to guide you. These will routinely provide advice on things like programming environments. They also typically impose some structure on your learning to help minimize gaps.

Looking for more tips on coding and tech? Take a look in our Technology section for more articles.