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5 Essential Steps to Learn Code, According To Self-Taught Programmers


Many people are interested in learning to program. We speak with an impressive panel of self-taught and successful programmers who have shared the following guide for others who would like to follow in their footsteps.

About two thirds of software developers are self-taught. Stack Overflow's research on more than 56,000 programmers also reveals that less than half have a degree in computer science.

One of the reasons why people are so interested in learning to create and design software is that it is a professional career that can pay off quickly, with a salary of $ 100,000 or more after only a few years of experience. .

Although programming itself can be considered a technological skill of basic level, it is a basic element that can open the door to a wide range of better paid positions, from the technological leader or software architect to the CTO.

If you want to join the ranks of well-paid tech stars who learned to program, take a page from the manual of people who have done it.

Business Insider has spoken with an impressive panel of self-taught programmers who have rewarded their knowledge gained with so much effort in enviable wages and have shared the following guide for others who would like to follow in their footsteps.

Start now and start online

Damien Martin, who works at Shufti Pro, was inspired by AI and machine learning at age 11 with futuristic products seen in movies like Back to the Future. As a result, he began collecting books to master programming. Having taken the longest path of learning through books, Martin does not recommend it, but recommends going to YouTube and self-taught web pages for a faster and less painful path.

"Start as soon as possible," says Martin. “And you must start doing it directly. Sign up for an online course - some of these have the main programmers to teach you. ”He adds that it is also important to keep in touch with other programmers. "You need to be constantly updated on the latest technology, as well as job offers."

Don't feel overwhelmed

Software implementation consultant Bharat Nain grew up disarming toys to learn how they worked, so his parents enrolled him in a C language programming course when he was 12 years old. This skill would be very valuable not only to help you program in your high school's first robotics team (which took second place in the world among 3,000 teams), but also to pave the way for a lucrative career in technology.

This did not happen overnight, and Nain acknowledges that the path may seem intimidating when you are starting, especially if you are your own teacher.

"Learning to program can sometimes be equated to climbing a mountain," Nain explains. “If you look at the top, you could give up. It is better to take one step at a time. ” To do this, it is advisable to find a starting point with the goal of building software that really interests you. “Have faith in yourself and don't give up for at least a year of persistent effort,” says Nain. “And if it helps you, sign up for an online learning program where you are surrounded by a support system of other students and instructors.”

Take advantage of free resources

Will Manuel - who as president and CEO of Core Mobile Apps has far exceeded the $ 100,000 goal - remembers how difficult it was to learn to program when he started working. “Have you ever tried to talk to a Martian in your own language? Yes, it's basically the same as that, ”he jokes. But like the other self-taught programmers we talked to, Manuel found the challenge worth the effort. While in college, he accepted a job in the computer lab, which helped create a basis for teaching himself Photoshop and HTML. He then used these skills to start publishing his own basic web pages, which led him to his first job in the industry as a web design director.

From his current point of view of running his own successful agency, Manuel suggests that potential programmers take advantage of current low or no-cost opportunities, many of which were not available when he started two decades ago.

“The path to becoming a successful programmer, specifically in web development, is much clearer today,” says Manuel. “There are so many free resources that anyone with the desire to learn can learn to program and achieve a good salary in a very short time.” He adds that his main learning after 20 years of programming is: “Start with whom you want to add value and why " These are the underlying questions that will put you on the right path to earn six figures and more. ”

Test with tutorials

Being a self-taught programmer does not mean you cannot learn from others. Web designer and blogger Becky Beach used Lynda.com courses to learn on her own advanced JavaScript and CSS, and then build her own projects to display them in job interviews. Beach has been creating web pages for 17 years. Today he earns more than $ 130,000 a year by programming. “I was able to earn $ 70 per hour doing front-end development for companies like Verizon and 7-Eleven,” explains Beach.

When touring the video learning path through sites like Lynda.com and Udemy.com, Beach suggests going further. "Make your own projects to consolidate those skills," he advises. “If you only watch the videos, it is not enough. Projects also help you get interviews if you put them on a web page. ” To make a web page, suggest using WrapBootStrap.com, a site with Bootstrap templates. "Bootstrap is a great CSS framework to learn how to make web pages faster," he explains. "You can also make a page with WordPress easily."

Solve a problem

Programmer today, chief technology officer tomorrow? That was the path that Jim Joyce, Finxact Technical Director, has taken. His path, first to learn to program and then to get to the C-suite, began at age 10, when he had a major problem to solve with a video game he loved. Armed with a beloved Atari 400 that came with the Atari BASIC but without a storage device, Joyce had to rewrite the program every time she wanted to play one of the sample games documented in the product manual. “It was amazing that these simple instructions could produce a video game,” says Joyce. “Playing the game, I imagined what part of the program was running. I loved writing and adjusting the code more than playing games. ”

Today, in her role as leader, Joyce continues to believe in the value of addressing programming with a problem-solving mentality. It recommends developing an understanding of the specific benefits and challenges that arise in situations you face, seeing what makes a job easy and imagining solutions for things that are not. “Write a code to solve a problem that you understand intimately,” says Joyce. “Programming to solve problems keeps you busy and makes you overcome the challenges that seem to make you stumble every day. But, over time, you overcome those obstacles, you become better and faster, and that is a very rewarding way to make a living. ”