Learn to code. Seriously. I can’t stress enough how valuable coding skills are. And coding know-how can often lead to much more flexible (and lucrative!) work.
So, if you’ve been plotting an escape from your cubicle for some time, coding may very well be your ticket out of the office.
In fact, some of the most in-demand, remote-friendly positions revolve around coding. So, I’ll say it again, if you want to work from anywhere (and make a good living to boot) learn to code!
But before we jump into how and where you can learn to code, let’s look at what exactly coding is and why it’s such a hot commodity skills-wise in the remote working world.
What Exactly is Code?
All the websites, apps and software you use are built on code.
Your favorite social media site? Yep, that’s code.
That game you spend way too much time playing? That’s code, too.
Your go-to browser for searching? All code.
This very line of text you’re reading right now? You guessed it! Code.
And because so many amazing things are built upon code, it means there’s a lot of demand for people who know how to code. After all, behind every awesome app and share-worthy site, there’s the brillaint mind of a programmer (what you call someone who codes). And when you learn to code, that programmer could be you.
What Does a Programmer Do?
We know the term coding is super broad and applies to many different applications, software, and sites. And the job duties of one programmer will be just as broad, varying greatly from one to the next.
In fact, there are different types of code, called languages. Each language has a specific purpose in the world of web design and development. Typically, a programmer will specialize in a few languages.
If this is starting to make your head spin! Hang in there. I promise, it’s not as complicated as it sounds.
As a beginner, you won’t be focusing on the super complex languages that well-seasoned pros tackle. You’ll start from the beginning and work your way up. Baby steps, right?
Popular Programming Languages
Someone who builds websites will be more well-versed in certain languages than others. Just as a programmer who specializes in databases may only work with a handful of languages.
Really, the type of programming languages used depends on the nature of a job and its industry.
But, generally speaking, there are those languages which are continually in demand thanks to their popularity and frequent use in building the applications, sites, and databases we use every day.
These languages include:
Have an Android smartphone or tablet? Your device’s operating system is built on Java. This popular language is also used to build games, apps, and web-based content (to name a few).
Every time you visit Facebook, you’re looking at PHP in action! WordPress sites are also built using PHP.
The name sounds intimidating, but Python is actually regarded as a beginner-friendly language to learn. It’s also the power behind web apps for my favorite visual search engine, Pinterest!
Although specifically built to be easy to write, Ruby packs quite a lot of punch. This powerful language is used to build websites and apps as well as power Ruby on Rails, the framework that brings sites like Groupon and Shopify to life.
Many databases are built using the special-purpose language of SQL. It’s specifically known for its query feature that allows users to search databases.
Before there was Ruby, Python, Java (or any other languages), there was C Language. As the oldest programming language around, many of the others mentioned on this list were built with C Language as a foundation. Needless to say, it’s a must-learn for aspiring programmers!
To learn a little more about the in-demand programming languages (and to grab an awesomely free quick-start guide to becoming a web developer), head on over to Coding Dojo.
A Cubicle-Free Career
We know what code is. We know when you learn to code, you posess a super valuable skill. And we know the different coding languages and how they’re used to make the things we see, use and interact with every day.
But what makes programming such a remote-friendly career path?
Coding can be done from, well, anywhere. With a computer and Internet connection, you can work on, collaborate with, and share code with coworkers from around the world.
And many startups and well-established companies alike recognize this. So, instead of limiting their taent pool to local candidates, they open their virtual doors to anyone with the knowledge to get the job done.
So, when your end goal is to carve a cubicle-free career path, programming can definitely open up a lot of those opportunities for you.
Who Hires Programmers?
Programmers may be hired as full-time employees or as freelancers to perform one-off gigs.
For example, an online boutique owner may hire a programmer to help give their website a new look.
Or a large tech company may need a programmer on staff to make updates and troubleshoot bugs.
Really, it just depends on the company or person hiring and their needs.
But a quick search on Dice, a popular tech job board, shows a good mix of full-time, part-time, and freelance projects to choose from.
So, no matter the type of employment you’re after, chances are you can find it once you learn to code!
I’m In! I Want to Learn to Code
I knew you’d say that As you might have guessed, there are a lot of places you can learn to code. Some are free and some are paid for.
Before you jump in and spend a ton of money on one programming course after the next, I suggest checking out the freebie options first. If you feel you want to invest in a paid-for program down the line, go for it! At that point, you’ll know you’re in it for the long haul.
But trust me when I say, these free options are so darn good, you may not even want to consider anything else.
Learn to Code — for Free!
At Codecademy, you can learn everything from HTML to Ruby on Rails. The Codecademy Course Catalog is brimming with lessons that will prepare you to tackle a number of projects. You’ll even learn to build your own website and publish it to the Internet.
Each lesson is interactive and engaging. And for good reason — Codecademy is on a mission to change the way we learn. When you start taking their courses, you’ll take notice of their efforts and see just how fun it can be to learn to code.
Codecademy is my top pick if you want to learn to code for free. This platform is perfect for budding programmers who want a step by step guide to help them reach their goals. Codecademy will even track your progress for you and create a tailormade learning path to help you reach your goals.
And if you’re ever feeling less than motivated to move on to the next lesson, you can read super inspiring Codecademy success stories to help put a little pep back into your programming step.
Udemy is a platform that course creators use to share their knowledge with others. Many courses are a mix of video, slides, and even quizzes! There are both paid and free courses available, and there are new ones being added all the time. When searching for “learn to code” make sure you have the “free” box checked to see a current list of freebie courses!
You can see there are ten times as many paid options as free ones. If there’s one you love that isn’t free, like the highly-rated Complete Web Developer course, don’t worry. Courses on Udemy are often very affordable — costing less than $50 on average.
Keep in mind, a course is only as good as its creator. So, you may stumble upon some not-so-stellar options. Make sure to check the reviews from other students before enrolling!
Coursera is a collection of courses from top universities. I’m talking Duke University, Stanford, and University of Pennsylvania! Impressive, right?
If you enjoy learning in a traditional classroom environment, you may want to learn to code with Coursera.
Before you ‘enroll’ in a course, you’ll learn upfront what the prerequisites are, the weekly time commitment, and receive a syllabus of projects and lessons.
Remember, courses are taught by actual professors at top universities, so you’ll have to participate and finish assignments by certain dates.
Not all courses are free at Coursera. And even the free ones have a premium option. With the premium option, you’ll receive a certificate upon completion. You’ll also get graded assignments — two important features not available in the freebie option.
If your end goal is to work as a developer, seriously consider purchasing courses. The certificate will be recognized by prospective clients and employers and will make a nice addition to your resume!
But, don’t worry, if you have your heart set on a program that requires a purchase but can’t afford it, there are financial aid options available.
Free Code Camp
At Free Code Camp, you get to learn to code all while helping non-profits. But before you can put your knowledge to work for good, you’ve got to complete three Free Code Camp certifications:
- Front End Development
- Data Visualization
- Back End Development
Once you do, you’ll get to work on projects for nonprofits! This is a great way to give back all while building your portfolio.
Free Code Camp’s ultimate goal is to help you launch your flexible career as a developer. And having a portfolio filled with non-profit projects to show off will certainly help you do just that. To date, more than 2,000 people, like you, now have developer jobs thanks to Free Code Camp!
Learn to Code Today
The best way to learn to code is to jump in and get your hands dirty! Even knowing basic HTML and CSS can set you a part from your peers.
True Story: A client paid me double for web content I wrote because I included very basic formatting.
So, as soon as you start learning, that knowledge can pay off! And once you get a few projects under your belt, be sure to set up your own portfolio site to showcase your work. From there, you can take your newfound coding skills with you wherever you go — Syracuse, Starbucks, Sri Lanka — the sky’s the limit (as long as there’s internet!)
Questions? Confused? Sound off in the comments below. I’m happy to help!
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