Starting to code does not have to be hard!
When a person first starts to code, it might be very challenging. It takes many hours and it might be very discouraging to see many errors show up. But at the same time, it’s like solving a puzzle, it keeps you drawn in and you do not want to stop until you solve it. That is the beauty of coding: no matter how hard it can be, it has this magical ability to keep us wanting to keep going and continuing to develop our work. At the same time, it is natural to feel stuck and to feel like you might need some help. I know that this is something that continues to happen to me sometimes. Sometimes you need some help from others and that is why this article here presents ways how you can get better at coding. These ways include joining online communities on coding websites, competing in coding competitions and taking coding courses.
Join online communities
In my opinion, the best way to improve your coding skills would be by meeting other coders like you, and in today’s day and age, it has become so easy to find other people of different ages and locations having similar interests as you. One of the best ways to improve your coding skills would be by coding through websites like GitHub and Repl.it, along with many others. Reddit is another example of a website that has many extremely supportive communities for coders all around the world, where you can submit your code for help or even discuss with fellow coders questions or anything you wish to discuss. The beauty of these websites is that they create communities in which people can share their codes and post them to others. You can have discussions on these websites or even join mini competitions. If you are not into competition then you can simply look at works created by other people like you. Every code you make is published online and that means that others can comment on it and edit it. Another benefit of that is that it makes it very easy to share your codes with anyone, rather than how it would be if you were to send it from an app like Jcreator or Netbeans.
Another way to improve your coding skills is by competing in both small- and large-scale competitions, which can be a fun challenge for any beginner or novice coder. Some competitions for beginners would be TopCoder, Codeforces, CodeChef, and Codewars. CodeChef for example has three different levels: foundation level, advanced level and expert level, which means that you can start out the bottom and improve to reach the top which is very motivating to a beginner. Websites like Coderbyte provide over 200 coding challenges with various levels which can also help develop your skills.
Then come larger-scale competitions include Google Code Jam and USACO. USACO is a not only for students in the United States, but for ones all around the world. In this competition, you are representing your country and required to complete a few coding problems in whatever language you prefer. It is hosted a couple of times a year and students are awarded in either platinum, gold, silver, or bronze. Both these competitions have thousands upon thousands of participants worldwide and the competition is very stiff, so getting a rank like platinum can highly boost your chances into getting into some of the top schools in the country such as MIT and Caltech. With these competitions, you are bound to improve your coding ability in no time.
Online courses and classes
Lastly, try seeking online resources and books. There are thousands of online courses that you can take to improve your ability, with most of them being free! One way would be through websites like Codecademy, Coursera or Udemy. There is also a program called One Million Arab Coders which is a free 3 month challenge – not only for Arabs, but worldwide- that can get you great recognition if you complete it.
For American students and students at American international schools- You can also enroll in AP courses at your school that are for computer science, such as AP Computer Science A and AP Computer Science Principles. You do not have to have these courses in your school to enroll into them, as you can simply sign up to take the test at the end of the year while self studying for it. In the class AP Computer Science A, students are studying a Java curriculum which includes methods, inheritance and polymorphism and arrays. After taking this course, most students are able to independently code. The test is written and focuses on predicting what would happen to the code. While AP Computer Science Principles requires sending a portfolio of all your work, and then you will be graded in both the form of a written test and your portfolio. If you are able to get a 4 or 5 on the exam, you can get college credit at most universities which will help you immensely.
Get ready to enjoy the world of code!
To sum it all up, you might be a beginner at coding now, but with these resources, you are bound to improve immensely. Coding is more than just what is used to operate applications and websites, it is a fun activity that thousands of people enjoy doing. Through these online communities, contests, and courses, it is evident that you will also find yourself enjoying the world of code and everything that it has to offer.