How to Build Your Own Website - Learn to Code For Free Online
As we advance further into the age of technology, it becomes more crucial to understand computer programming. Coding is a valuable skill that can help you build an online business, make a scalable product, or visually represent your ideas. Adding it to your arsenal will advance your career and make you a more valuable entrepreneur.
Coding is a unique way to take an idea and turn it into a real product that people can use. If you are able to understand the fundamentals of coding, read and write coding language and put that into action you will be able to build a website, digital tool, or minimum viable product for a business.
What is Coding?
A website is simply a bunch of files that are stored on a computer called a ‘server’. These files work together to provide the look and functionality of the website. Once this computer is connected to the internet, the files are loaded onto a browser, like Google Chrome or Safari, which is how the world can see it.
The first decision is choosing the software development path you want to go down. There is an ever-increasing number of software development channels but web, mobile, game, and data science are the most common.
Currently, websites are the best channel to reach the largest audience and for business ideas to be seen. The web development path is my preference as it will provide the ability for me to build my own websites and business ideas.
Coding Languages to Learn
Let’s consider a house. The HTML file is the blueprint of the building, it tells you everything about how the house should be laid out. Imagine a floor plan, it displays the house's foundations, the number of rooms, etc. This is what HTML provides for a website.
The CSS file is the painters and designers of the house. They add all the styling to the house giving it the color, size, positioning, and more.
You need to understand the fundamentals of each front-end language. Learn these one-by-one, and dive into more advanced aspects of each once you have a good feel for the language. When you have a good grasp on the front-end as a whole, you can move to the back-end to become a full stack developer. This makes it easier to analyze and understand the back-end application.
Where to Start Learning to Code
The self-taught route to coding is much more common these days thanks to a wealth of helpful online resources. You can learn to code for free online in many ways. Self-taught allows you to fully customize the learning path you take. You can learn about topics that fascinate you the most, this will keep you more intrigued, but, it does come with difficulties.
The world of computer programming has its own unique terms, languages, and slang. If you have no background in computer programming it can be intimidating. The more exposure you give yourself to coding, the more you’ll understand the lingo, helping to develop your skills more efficiently.
When problems arise, you need to be able to Google them, which requires you to know what you are googling for. Unfortunately, having no background in computer programming makes this difficult. Immersing yourself in the language will help you construct more relevant sentences, making your research will more efficient.
Explained on Netflix has a great episode that breaks down coding in a way anyone can understand. It introduces the fundamentals of coding and common languages. You will get an understanding of technology and how it has developed over the years. Watching YouTube tutorials on the capabilities of each language and walkthroughs will help you understand the process of building a website.
There is a huge range of online courses or boot camps to choose from, some cost and some free. If you want to learn to code for free online the best platforms that offer courses are Codecademy, Coursera, and Springboard. Each varies in the way they present and teach coding.
Find out what teaching structure works best for you. A trick I used originally was to take advantage of the free trial for each platform to see how each course would play out. This allowed me to learn to code for free online while using a range of platforms.
I later settled on the Full Stack Web Development course provided by Springboard as a good foundation to start. You also need an application to write all your code on - I use Visual Studio Code. It seems to be one of the most popular and easy to use.
If you are a complete beginner, you may want to start out by building websites on Wix. This will help you get a better grasp of the fundamentals of building a site. Wix helps users easily create websites, assemble features, and add components with no computer programming experience.
Wix is a great way to learn the basics of computer programming, however it is limited to what you can customize and create. In order to build your ideas, you need a system that allows more customization, this is the beauty of coding.
Time to build
Now comes the fun part; Building websites. Once you have a solid foundation of knowledge around coding, the best way to improve is to practice. There are tons of coding games and challenges for you to hone your skills. An exercise I use to develop my skills is finding websites that I like, then trying to copy it with my own code.
As a side product to this practice, I encountered many problems. This is perfect. It forced me to learn essential aspects of the web development process that I did not even know existed beforehand. Coding is all about problem-solving.
With practice, comes greater potential to build more dynamic and interactive websites. Moving up from simple landing pages and blogs to more complex websites and applications. This is made easier by the mass of open-source code available online for everyone. Using open source to build websites makes the process much less tedious.
Codepen is a fun website where developers showcase and test the code snippets that they've created. The vast extent of creations could vary from an animation of a dog running to a small game of Tetris to even simple text movements for headings on a website. Codepen displays the code on one side and the product of it on the other. Allowing you to visualize how other developers write code for a deeper understanding. Once you've found something you like, it's as simple as copying the code into your website's files.
When you feel like you’ve got a good hand on front-end development, back-end is the next to learn. From what I understand, Python is a widely used and very popular back-end language. Python is the recommended language for blockchain technology and beneficial for addressing an Internet of Things use case. Learning Python would help position you best to take advantage of blockchain technology in the future.
Learning to code is essential if you are seeking to be a valuable entrepreneur in the future. Our lives are encompassed in technology, which has made the world a very efficient place. To find something that is new, novel, and uncovered in tech, it helps to understand computer programming.
Computer programming is an area of life that everyone can look to improve themselves in. It is important to remember that learning coding is a marathon, not a sprint. But if you dedicate yourself to it, it will expand your world, advance your career, help you to visually represent your ideas, and allow you to offer more in life.
The ability to code will give you access to the life of a modern digital nomad or online entrepreneur. You can work anywhere in the world, as long as you have your laptop and wifi and make money online while traveling.
Please connect with Mozz via his LinkedIn if you would like to chat more about the Journey into Coding.