You need to be patient with yourself; don’t expect to code the next Fortnite after just a few months of study or a few bootcamps. Coding an error-free wedding RSVP form on a website, or making a simple-yet-correct number prediction game, is already a significant achievement for a beginner. If you get stuck, don’t give up. You should absolutely look for help everywhere you can find it, but also know when to take a break to avoid burnout. And then try, try again.
If you want to learn how to code, taking your first steps into this huge universe might seem like a daunting, if not intimidating task. Here’s the big secret: There are plenty of free (and inexpensive) resources you can use to give yourself all the help you need, teach yourself new techniques, and make this learning process fun and exciting—as exciting as coding can get, at least.

Khan Academy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission of providing a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. Khan Academy Kids was created by experienced early learning experts who have created 22 other top-selling titles and received 22 Parents’ Choice Awards, 19 Children’s Technology Review Awards, and a KAPi award for Best Children’s App at the International Consumer Electronics Show. The Khan Academy Kids team is a passionate group of engineers, artists, designers, and educators who joined Khan Academy from Duck Duck Moose, a maker of popular educational apps for kids. Khan Academy Kids is 100% free without ads or subscriptions.
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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).
Mastering typing skills takes training and practice. Practice on a regular schedule, 10 minutes to an hour per session, depending on your energy and focus level. As Vince Lombardi said, “Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect,” so it is important that you practice at a time and place where you can maintain focus and accuracy. Eliminate any potential distractions. If you find yourself making lots of errors, slow down and find a way to regain your focus or call it a day. The goal of practicing is to build muscle memory. You do not want to “learn” bad habits and mistakes.
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?
It does not matter how fast you type if you have to go back and fix all your mistakes. Fixing mistakes takes more time than it does to just slow down and take the time you need to type accurately. Fast typing depends on developing precision muscle memory. Allowing yourself to type incorrectly will actually reinforce your bad habits and common mistakes! Slow your typing pace until you can attain 100% accuracy. If you come across a difficult word, slow down further to type it properly. Develop good habits and speed will be your reward. 

No matter how many certificates and coding workshops you complete, or how many programming languages you learn, the proof of your coding skills will be in your programming project. While your personal project doesn’t have to be as ambitious as creating the next Google Maps, it should be something you’d want to work on 24/7 to constantly improve and expand its scope.
Once you figure out why you want to code, you can more easily pinpoint which programming language you should tackle. While there is no single “best” programming language to learn, some languages are more user-friendly than others. HTML and CSS are considered the easiest entry points into the coding world, but they are only really useful for developing basic websites.
I can’t recommend Harvard’s CS50x Introduction to Computer Science enough. You can audit the course for free via edX and earn a certificate by completing all the assignments, or you can go at your own pace and watch all the lectures posted on Youtube. You can build your own DIY college-level computer science program with this selection of fifteen online courses (many of which are also listed in our Lifehacker U series).
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I'm Dave Henderson! For over 34 years, I've made a wonderful living for myself and family of four creating world-class water features using real and faux rock in sunny San Diego as well as professional sand sculptures all around the world. And now I'm taking what I've learned about starting successful businesses, contracting, sculpture, water feature construction, and more, and sharing it with the world. It's my mission to help people like you enjoy more success both in your business and in your personal life.
JUST RELEASED! "Makin' Rocks" covers everything I've leaned after 34 years of hard work and experience making a living building things with my hands. I teach people like you how to create the same amazing water features as a master sculptor like myself! With tons of pictures and hand drawn illustrations from decades of work you will see actual project examples of how things get done. And even how to set up your own faux rock contracting business selling $10,000, $15,000 and $20,000 or more projects! Get this book and get in the game!
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?
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