Learning coding on your own can be a great way to start your coding journey. As a self-taught programmer, you will pick up new skills, gain access to the best tech jobs, improve your salary, and make yourself a more valuable employee no matter what industry you work for. If you’re wondering how to learn coding by yourself, keep reading.

We’ve put together this guide to help you figure out how to teach yourself coding. It will cover the steps you need to take to master the basics, complete your first programming project, and become an expert programmer. We’ve also listed the best bootcamps, programming books, and other resources you can use as you learn coding on your own.

What Is Coding?

A screen full of lines of code.
Learning how to code by yourself may seem daunting, but in the end, it is very rewarding.

Coding is the process of writing instructions for computers in the form of lines of code. These can be written in different coding languages that have specific uses. There are many types of programming languages you can learn to use for different ends. For example, coders use HTML and JavaScript to build websites and Swift to create iOS applications.

Developers use code to create everything from calculator apps to entire operating systems. Smartphones, laptops, vehicle infotainment systems, and many other computers utilize code. Programmers can create virtually anything through coding.

Why Should You Learn Coding on Your Own?

  • Access better job opportunities. Coding is required across all industries. With this skillset, you will be able to land work in a broader variety of organizations depending on your personal and professional goals.
  • Gain a higher salary. With better job opportunities also come higher wages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for computer programmers in 2021 was $93,000 per year.
  • Develop your analytical skills. Aside from work perks, when you learn coding you will develop your logic and analytical skills. Problem-solving is also a big part of coding, and you will be able to practice it consistently and improve noticeably.
  • Work from anywhere in the world. Programmers can work from anywhere in the world. If you are looking to become location-independent, learning to code is a fantastic way to accomplish this.
  • Exercise your creativity. Coding requires creativity. Whether you’re solving a problem for a client or crafting a new piece of software, you’ll have plenty of chances to get creative and explore new ways to do things.

Is Teaching Yourself the Best Way to Learn to Code?

If you’re a highly self-motivated learner and you’re willing to commit the necessary time and energy, then teaching yourself can be the best way to learn coding on your own. Even if you can only put in a few hours every week, you can teach yourself the essential coding skills and launch a successful career in tech.

How to Learn Coding by Yourself: Step-by-Step

A man learning how to code on his own on a computer.
Before you start to learn to code on your own, identify which programming language you want to begin learning.

If you’re ready to know how to learn coding by yourself, keep reading. We’ve listed the steps you need to take to master the fundamentals and teach yourself coding without needing to go for expensive degrees or training.

Start With an Easy Coding Language

In your time working with software development, you’re going to have to learn many programming languages. When you first start learning to code, you can easily burn out if you try to tackle a complex and difficult language. To keep yourself motivated and moving forward, you need to choose a language that is beginner-friendly.

The best first language will vary depending on the programmer, so it’s not easy to recommend a specific one. Generally speaking, though, languages that work with human syntax and expressions such as Python will be easier for the coding newbie to pick up than lower-level languages that get down to the computer’s level to communicate. It’s easier to remember a word or phrase than a string of numbers and characters for most people.

Learn the Basics With Online Resources

To learn the basics of coding, there is a wide variety of online resources you can use. From online courses and books to YouTube tutorials and games, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.

Try Out Online Courses

Online courses are a great way to learn the basics of coding if you prefer a bit of structure and guidance. Many courses are available online for free or for a small fee. Coding courses are available for beginners, and also for intermediate and advanced users hoping to move from the basics and deepen their knowledge of a particular topic.

Get a Coding Book

A coding book is also a great way to learn to code. The best programming books can help you dive deeper into specific topics. One advantage of books is that they will generally teach you everything you need to know about a particular topic.

Watch Coding Videos

If you are more of an audiovisual learner, the best coding YouTube channels are a great option. There are countless content creators devoted to exploring all sorts of coding topics, from specific languages to troubleshooting techniques and everything in between.

Find Interactive Coding Games

If you want to practice what you’ve learned and have fun while doing it, you can try your hand at interactive coding games. The best coding games for beginners will give you a chance to get hands-on experience and add a playful element to your learning journey.

Start With Easy Coding Projects

Perhaps the number one reason why hopeful programmers throw in the towel during training is that they bite off too much and try to get through it as quickly as possible. You can find yourself in a vicious circle if you’re not careful. 

It’s easy to pick ambitious projects to learn coding as a way to build up your experience and try to push through to just get it over with. The result is unfinished projects, missed goals, and discouraged students.

Don’t let your reach surpass your grasp. Pick a reasonable and small coding project at first. It’s best to start with tasks you can accomplish in a few weeks first and then move on to bigger and better things. 

Once you establish a solid foundation with simple do-it-yourself projects, you can build on it with larger and more complex projects. As your experience and confidence grow, you’ll be able to handle much more challenging issues without trouble.

Have Fun

Finally, remember to have fun. When you learn coding by yourself, it can get overwhelming pretty quickly. There is a lot to cover, and without proper guidance, it can be easy to get discouraged or lose track of which steps to take. However, like any other learning journey, you can make it easier on yourself if you keep in mind what motivated you to start in the first place and make it a fun process.

Remember that coding can be an engaging and highly creative task. You will be using your imagination to create new programs and solve different problems. Focus on the goals and try to make the process entertaining for you. Use resources that you find engaging, and work on projects that inspire you. Bring your own unique strengths to the table and create something great.

How to Troubleshoot Your Code

As you gain more hands-on experience and start writing your own pieces of code, you will often encounter issues and need to troubleshoot your code. Keep reading to find out some of the best ways you can accomplish this.

Google Your Error Messages

It might seem obvious, but if you’ve had a problem, chances are someone else has run into the same problem before. If your code results in error messages, use Google to try to find an answer. Beginner coders will more often than not find the solution to their problem somewhere on the Internet.

Get a Mentor 

Getting a mentor can be a great way to strengthen your coding skills. A mentor can be a source of inspiration, encouragement, and solutions to common problems faced by absolute beginners. An advanced-level coder will be able to help you identify solutions much faster than you would on your own.

Join Coding Communities

Finally, a great way to discover how to troubleshoot your code is by becoming an active member of a coding community. You can join forums, subreddits, and coding discord servers where you’ll be able to engage with your peers, ask questions, and receive the support you need.

How Can I Get Started With Coding?

Coding isn’t hard, but finding the right place to start can be. Most coders begin with books, YouTube tutorials, or other inexpensive resources like free coding courses. Initially, this is a great way to start because it requires very little investment and it will allow you to confirm whether coding is right for you.

Once you begin to see results, it’ll be time to move on to more advanced content. And if you intend to make a career out of coding, it may be time to seek out a professional coding education program, such as a coding bootcamp, paid courses, or even internships. Keep reading to find out more about these options.

Complete an Online Coding Course

Online coding courses are a great way to learn coding by yourself. Courses usually include a structure you can follow, resources such as reading materials or videos to learn from, and practical exercises so you can practice your skills. Sometimes they offer access to a community of learners. If you’re ready to deepen your knowledge on a particular topic, a course is the way to go.

Attend a Coding Bootcamp

If you’re convinced coding is the right track for you and are ready to go all in, the best coding bootcamps are an excellent choice. Bootcamps provide you with intensive training over the course of a few months, equip you with the tools and knowledge you need to be a successful programmer, and provide career support to ensure you land your dream job upon graduation. 

Find Local Coding Meetups

Learning to code by yourself can be a lonely journey. Finding local coding meetups is a great way to help you connect with fellow coders and work on your skills away from the computer. As is the case with any other profession, your career will greatly benefit from networking with peers and being part of a community that can support you.

Get a Coding Internship

If you feel ready to put your skills to the test, a coding internship is a great choice. Many companies accept interns, provide them with training and opportunities to practice what they’ve learned, and sometimes offer full-time positions to the most successful interns. This is a great way to get your foot in the door and get a taste of what it’s like to be a coder in the workforce.

Start Freelance Coding

Another way to go is to start freelance coding. With the rise of remote work across the world, it is now easier than ever to find clients working in all sorts of fields and located all over the world. As a freelancer, you will have full control over who you work with, your wages, and your schedule.

Should You Learn Coding on Your Own?

Yes, if you’re a self-motivated learner and are willing to commit, you should learn coding on your own. By now you should know how to learn coding by yourself using all the resources and steps listed above. It is absolutely possible to be a successful self-taught coder. If you put in the effort, you will reap the rewards very soon. 

How to Learn Coding by Yourself FAQ

Is it possible to learn coding on your own?

Yes, it is possible to learn coding on your own. You can use books, online courses, YouTube tutorials, and online communities to help you master the fundamentals. If you’re sure coding is right for you, a coding bootcamp can equip you with the tools you need to succeed in this profession.

Is coding hard to learn by yourself?

No, coding is not hard to learn by yourself. You will need to spend time and energy learning, but the great variety of resources available online can help you master the fundamentals and progress to more advanced topics without the need to enroll in a degree program. 

How long does it take to learn coding by yourself?

How long it takes to learn coding by yourself will depend on how much time you invest in learning. If you are committed and consistent, you can become a proficient programmer in as little as three months.

Where can you learn to write code by yourself?

You can learn to write code by yourself through online courses on platforms such as Coursera, Udemy, and Khan Academy. You can also go to YouTube and find tutorials, or join subreddits and Discord servers where you can find resources and engage with a community of learners that will support you during your coding journey. 

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