In the past centuries, education for most people was about learning the alphabet and the multiplication tables. In the fast-paced and digitally innovative 21st century, however, programming is quickly becoming one of the primary skills to learn.
Working for an Edtech startup, I often get asked why people should even bother ‘learning to code’. Whilst I’m not saying that everybody should become a developer, I strongly believe that any founder of a tech startup should learn the basics of how their product is developed. Can you imagine owning a café without even knowing how to make a coffee? It’s the same with technology – you don’t have to be an expert,, but you should understand the process of how it is actually developed – including the code.
The word ‘code’ shouldn’t be scary. Learning to program is similar to learning a foreign language for the first time, and it will soon become a universal language. If you need more convincing, I suggest reading this article on 5 Reasons Entrepreneurs Should Learn to Code.
So, what language should I start with? There are a lot out there (too many). For a beginner, the easiest and most fun way to learn is the language and framework called Ruby on Rails. It produces fantastic results and is easy to understand.
Free learning resources
There are many free resources for learning to code. I recommend starting with one of these three options:
Shay Howe has produced two amazing guides for beginners to learn HTML and CSS - a beginners and advanced guide. Although not tutorials as such, they are easy to read through and learn from the start.
Code Academy is the hottest new coding education startup and they have a great Web Fundamentals course.
The people at Hackdesign.org provide a great email tutorial with a focus on design that I really recommend you sign up for and progress through.
Remember, “The programmers of tomorrow are the wizards of the future”. – Gabe Newell
About the author
Dan Siepen is the co-founder and strategic partnerships director at The Coder Factory, a coding school that teaches aspiring tech startup entrepreneurs. He is passionate about technology education and encouraging more people to learn to code. Find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.