Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

How to learn to code?

purpleusapurpleusa Registered User Posts: 34 Junior Member
Hey! I've recently completed some Codecademy courses, and although I think they've given me a fairly good understanding of some basic/general principles of programming, I don't at all think that they gave me the skills I'd need to make a fully functioning/useful/practical website, app, or program, so I was wondering how/where I could obtain those skills. My school doesn't offer any sort of computer science class, and I live in a small agricultural town, so there's not exactly many people/places that could teach me (that I know of). I did look into some 1 and 2 week summer camps (iD Tech & Digital Media Academy) in the nearest big city, but they are pretty expensive (in the $1,000-$2,000 range), and even though my parents might be willing to pay that much, I don't know that I could bring myself to ask them to fork over that much for just 1 or 2 weeks. Do any of you have any advice? How did you learn to code? Did you ever attend a summer camp like the ones I mentioned? Thanks for any answers you may have. :)

Replies to: How to learn to code?

  • terrapin45terrapin45 Registered User Posts: 72 Junior Member
    I've been programming for just about ten years now, and the only courses I ever took have been in the last year due to college. I am otherwise entirely self taught.

    What I used to do was look at source code for things close to what I was making, and then make my own and use the original as reference when I got stuck. This is great because you get to do a project you're interested in, but also have some help for what you're specifically doing.

    Reading code is a big part of it. Understanding code is something that can be adopted from reading a lot of code. Fortunately there are billions of well documented codebases online that you can read.

    What language(s) have you learned?
  • purpleusapurpleusa Registered User Posts: 34 Junior Member
    Thanks for replying! Yeah, I think that I might just need to start working on something, however basic it may be, and use Google as a reference when I get totally lost! ;) So far, I've completed Codecademy's HTML/CSS and Python courses, as well as about 30-40% of their Ruby and JavaScript courses. I'm hoping to improve this summer.
  • YnotgoYnotgo Registered User Posts: 3,883 Senior Member
    If you like math, the Project Euler challenges might be a good place to come up with ideas for small projects. Python is a good language for that.
  • fragbotfragbot Registered User Posts: 270 Junior Member
    Two suggestions on books to read and work through:
    * "How To Design Programs" by Shriram Krishnamurthy and Felleisen (I think)
    * "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs" by Abelson and Sussman

    The second book is brilliant but it's a bit run before you walk (it took me six months to read it and do all the problems). It's in Scheme which scares people (unnecessary IMO as it's a trivially easy language to learn as long as you avoid call-with-current-continuation; as a programming language, I think it's easier to learn than Python but Python has massively better libraries which makes it easier to accomplish tasks in). On the other hand, the first book is well-regarded as a teaching book but won't take you as far.

    Other books some people like (count me in this camp) are Felleisen's "The Little _____" series. They aren't for everyone but they're an experience if you read them honestly (if you don't have an AHHH moment after a chapter, slow down and reread the chapter). I can't tell you for sure if they make you a better programmer but they're certainly didactically remarkable.
This discussion has been closed.