Take a few minutes (or a day) to think about the reasons—the real reasons—why you want to learn a programming language. Be honest with yourself. Are you trying to learn the barest minimum to score a promotion? Are you looking to make a big career change? Do you want to create the next greatest app? Thrill your roommates by programming your various smart devices to do something awesome?
Instead of hyper-focusing on learning a specific programming language, you can also learn to problem solve in a way that a computer will understand. In other words, improve your skills at concepts like pattern recognition, algorithms, and abstractions. There’s also lingo, like loops, which are bound to pop up in any language you use. The better you understand these principles, the easier it will be to learn the next language (and design better products or projects as a result).
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Whether you’re an adult looking to transition into the tech industry, a student looking to learn the latest language, or a hobbyist who just wants to understand how software and services work, all you need is a computer and internet access to start your programming journey. But before you take a flying leap into The Matrix, here are our best tips and resources to set you off on the right foot.
Udemy bills itself as an online learning marketplace, hosting 130,000+ user-created courses on all kinds of topics (including over 2,000 coding-related classes). While some of Udemy’s offerings are paid (costing $20-$200 per course), there are plenty of free coding classes as well, including some shorter Tech 101-type courses that teach code for beginners.
Third, Keybr.com lets you introduce as few keys as possible to the lesson, adding more keys automatically when it decides that you are proficient at the current level. When you only start learning it generates lessons with words from a very small alphabet of the most frequent letters. When your typing speed for every key in that alphabet reaches certain threshold, the algorithm adds the next most frequent letter to the alphabet. And so on, until the next letter. This way you will learn the most frequent letters first, and the least frequent ones later.
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Second, Keybr.com measures your keystroke dynamics and collects comprehensive typing statistics. For example, it measures your typing speed for each individual key, and uses this data to generate random words putting emphasis on the weakest key. The more troubles you have with a particular key, the more you will be typing it. It means, the generating algorithm will put that letter in every word in the next generated lesson. Your typing skills are re-evaluated after every completed lesson, and the next lesson will be adjusted accordingly.
Luckily, institutions like the Flatiron School and The Grace Hopper Program offer scholarships or deferred tuition to make these bootcamps more affordable for under-represented groups like minorities and women in tech. Check out Course Report for a comprehensive breakdown of the many online and in-person bootcamps—including detailed reviews from their alums, which can help you decide whether a bootcamp is going to help you achieve your programming dreams.