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Coding is the past, present, and future of the tech industry, and we can thank it for a huge number of our accomplishments as a species. From landing on the moon to reading this very article, you can thank coding for why that is all possible. Coding is a goldmine for self-improvement, whether it’s for a hobby or a career.
Today, we will be talking about some of the best ways to learn to code. Sure, there are always reliable (and old) methods of reading up on books and online courses, but there are a few unorthodox ways you can try for yourself. Engagement is one of the most important factors in teaching code. Making code exciting through these fun learning tools is the best start to your developer journey.
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You heard that right, playing video games can help start you on the path to being a developer. In fact, Microsoft’s official education channel uses Minecraft “block:” coding to teach basic concepts of development to kids. Don’t turn your head away from a perfectly valid way to learn to code just because it is “meant for kids”. Coding is not kid-specific, anybody can learn coding in whichever manner they want, even if that manner involves mining Redstone.
There are also other open-source games that involve teaching code through practical applications within the game world. Games such as CodeMonkey and CodinGame are fun ways to see the results of your labor and learn important coding concepts along the way. CodinGame in particular offers over 25 programming languages, so there’s no shortage of lessons.
Speaking of video games, another fun way to learn to code is through modding existing video games. A lot of game developers had their start by modding video games. This can range from simple model changes to a complete overhaul of the video game mechanics. Some games even encourage modding, providing platforms and tools for the players to use in their coding.
Modding video games give you a real-time view of what your code does and whether it works or not. There’s also the benefit of motivation because it’s fun to code a video game you like as opposed to an endless string of boring tasks in Java or Python. Modding video games also get you used to handling APIs and the massive community of modders is basically your teachers.
Drones are surprisingly easy to code, and unsurprisingly really fun. Most drones such as Tello brand ones come with everything you need to start learning the hardware and software side of development. Most drones use a form of block code because the commands given to them are actually quite simple and rely on basic coding concepts.
Block coding, in particular, is very effective for newbies because of how accessible and fast it is. Though you are obviously limited compared to freeform coding, beginners need to have an idea of how code works in the first place, and block coding is great in that regard. For newbies, focusing on the programming aspect instead of the syntax is important.
Start a Project
Admittedly vague, but undeniably effective. Starting your own project means you have a goal in mind, and having a goal is better than aimlessly doing courses with no idea of what to do with the knowledge afterward. Is there a game you’ve always wanted to put into action? An app idea that you think could be lucrative? Start drawing out plans and learn the relevant languages.
An active project is essentially starting your own course. Every aspect of your app will have its own respective lessons, and you can only see it come to fruition if you manage to learn every aspect. The most important benefit of this is that it prevents you from stagnating. Being stuck on a project is much more productive than being stuck on a course
Teach Your Smart Devices
This is a two birds with one stone deal if you already have smart devices. If you have an Amazon Echo or Google Home, there are a lot of resources online you can learn from to get them to do some amazing things. Customized mini-programs not only benefit your home experience but get you much-needed experience with voice commands and device control.
For those looking for more impressive coding exercises than “Disco Mode”, you can get a Raspberry Pi and convert it into several useful tools. The Raspberry Pi platform is a canvas for whatever kind of digital project you want and uses the very beginner-friendly language of Python in its API.
Coding is an incredibly fun career path, and learning it is much the same. While not everything you do will involve drones or video games, having a real passion for coding is important in making it in such a competitive industry. Remember, coding isn’t just about memorizing lines of commands, it’s about being engaged and doing things you find interesting and important.