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When you’re getting starting learning to code you need to equip yourself with the right tools.
Here is my recommended list of resources to get you coding in no time.
Probably the first thing you’ll need is a decent text editor that’s aimed around coding. They offer several advantages over a plain old notepad style editor including syntax highlighting, auto-completion and plugins
- Visual Studio Code – currently my go-to editor (especially since they added a built-in colour picker!). There’s version control integration, loads of freely available plugins and it just works.
- Atom – I was using Atom a lot until I switched to VS Code. Same sort of deal, lots of plugins, easy to use.
- Sublime Text – it isn’t free (although you can trial it) and is a standard coding editor that’s used by professionals and hobbyists alike.
Development Tools / Environments
If you’re building anything web-based sooner or later you’re going to need a development server running on your local computer. This will enable you to test more complicated web sites / applications without having to put these on the web. You can also do things like store data in a database.
- XAMPP – If you want to create any PHP / MySQL applications on your local computer this is the essential tool to get started.
- lite-server – If you have NodeJS installed as above, you can install and use this to give you a lightweight server to host your website / application locally. It also has some cool features like live-reload.
- Git bash (Windows) – If you’re not quite there with using version control yet that’s fine but if you’re on Windows it’s handy to have a Linux-style command prompt for running commands. (There’s also the Ubuntu sub-system)
Once you’ve completed part or all of a project you’re probably going to want to put it online somewhere so that you can show it off to everyone. In this section i’ll give you some ideas on how to do that.
- DreamHost – i’ve been using these guys for years now and can single handedly say they are (at the time of writing) the best shared hosting platform i’ve used. You’ve got free SSL certificates, SSH access and pretty much unlimited storage and bandwidth 🙂
- 000Webhost – if you’re on a budget and aren’t bothered about about any of the fancy features then you can upload some files for free using using either FTP or their built in web file manager.
- AWS – if you’re looking for professional hosting then AWS is definitely the right choice. It’s used by businesses all over the world so you’ll be learning some awesome skills.
Places to learn
It would be unfair of me to say that you can learn everything you need to know on this site (although i’ll do my best!). You’ll probably want to invest in some training courses at some point. Here’s some suggestions:
- CodeSchool – if you want to get an overview of a subject and learn some concepts in a fun and engaging way then CodeSchool is definitely worth a look. The videos are really informative and you get to practice at the end of each lesson with an interactive challenge.
- Treehouse – definitely one of the biggest resources aimed at Junior developers and people learning to code. There is a huge wealth of video courses to go through covering everything from basic programming, web development to more advanced concepts.
- Lynda – if you’re looking to learn a particular technology in-depth then Lynda has courses that cover some of the more advanced web development and programming topics. These are serious courses that are taught by industry experts.
Help and Support
Let me tell you something that’s going to happen:
You’re gonna get stuck.
There’s no doubt whatsoever, even with all the training courses in the world you’ll need to ask something at some point. It’s therefore important to know where to ask.
- Junior Developer Central – the whole reason I started this was to help people learn to code and start a career in development. Shoot me an email at [email protected] and i’ll do my best to point you in the right direction.
- Stackoverflow – you might have come across StackOverflow when Googling for answers to your coding problems. There certainly is a lot of knowledge in these pages but asking your own question can be a bit intimidating especially as a poorly asked question can be met with a barrage of negative comments. But if you ask a useful question in a constructive and descriptive way it’s probably the quickest way to get an answer to your question.
- Self taught programmers (FB group) – Facebook groups can get a bit wild but definitely one to check out is Self Taught Programmers. In the same way as Stack Overflow, if you want to ask a constructive question, there are some experts there to give you a hand.