National Coding Week: How to get into development

If you didn’t guess by the title, it’s National Coding Week. An annual event prompting people to learn new digital skills or share the skills they already have. 

So who is better to ask how to get into development than our Apprentice Dev, Jade Lei? 

First up, how would you recommend getting into web/software/app development?

Apprenticeships are an excellent way to enter the world of software development, they give you the opportunity to get hands-on experience with practising core principles of development. (This is needed by any developer career from games developer to app).

Learning at the foot of experienced developers not only allows you to learn from their personal experiences so that you avoid common mistakes (that most people fall into when going from a university route into the work environment) but also allows you to ask questions, that you may not be able to gain answers from, from a textbook or an internet search.

Your expertise

I initially got into coding through SQL, as I previously worked for a furniture company managing their inventory and web presence. Learning SQL made querying the company’s inventory system easier and found I had fun building more and more complex queries as I gained more experience. Learning a language like SQL which is very structurally similar to common English made my transition into learning more complex languages more fluid.

My recommendation would be people who are new to software development start by learning either SQL or HTML & CSS. Knowing these fundamental languages means that you’d start with a great foundation for any developer career path, and the knowledge of syntax and usage of these is a fantastic launch pad into other languages.

Where to start when learning code?

It's important to first recognise how you learn best. Are you a hands-on learner or more text orientated?

There are thousands of resources available online for free to help you start learning, from step by step videos to interactive websites. 

I personally find reading about basic concepts easiest and then finding demo projects online that use them that I can replicate to help solidify what I read about.

My top tips in learning/writing

It’s one thing to read about a concept in coding and believe you understand it, and another to be able to implement the concept into an actual project.

After learning a new unit in the coding language of your choice I’d strongly recommend practising using it, whether this be in the form of a mini project or just creating a document with a few different examples of its usage.

Try explaining what you learned to someone else too, as being able to explain the concept to someone and answer any questions they might have on it really demonstrates just how well you know the topic. Who knows, maybe someone will ask a question you didn’t even consider and give you a new topic to research and further grow your knowledge!

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