The purpose of this blog article is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s to show you How I’m Learning to Code! Hopefully this will give you a good starting point to go out there and learn to code in a way that suits your learning style. You may find it super easy, I certainly didn’t. It was a challenge but I’m learning something new every day. I’ll start by going over a little about me and my background so you can understand the steps I took to get to where I am today.
At The Beginning
My first interest in computers came about when my mum brought home a Compaq Deskpro running Windows 95, it was second hand from a local computer recycling charity.
We didn’t have access to the internet at the time so all my brothers and I would do is play Minesweeper or Solitaire. We’d always argue over who’s turn it was. From that first introduction to computers back in 1996 I was hooked! I found using a computer really easy and soon I was teaching my younger brother how to use the word processor and MS Paint effectively.
It wasn’t until almost a year later that we got dial up internet connectivity. A whopping 40kbps! Of course, at the time I had no idea about how the internet worked or what a kb was.
My first venture into browsing the internet was the AOL homepage that loaded when I launched Internet Explorer 1.0. I can’t really remember much of those early days of having access to the internet. Time has literally gone by so fast. The internet exploded in such a short time and it is arguably the greatest thing man has ever invented.
Building my first Website
My first website I ever built was GroveStreet.Info. It was a fan site for the popular PlayStation game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I launched the site in 2005 and my greatest achievement was holding a number 1 spot on some of the fan site top site rankings. I built it using GeoCities WYSIWIG editor but eventually, I went a little more technical and switched to notepad to edit the raw HTML. From then on, I spent the next 14 years developing personal websites and some freelance projects.
Since that first foray into coding, I’ve had many jobs outside of I.T but eventually I landed a Support Role looking after a collection of web applications. I’ve since found a job with one of the world’s largest technology companies doing a similar job. My current goal is to transition from support-based work into full on backend website development. This is why I thought I’d start the blog, to capture that journey.
How I’m Learning to Code
There are seven learning styles, take a look at them below and choose the ones you feel is appropriate for you. You can then start to plan how you utilize those styles and formulate a plan of action.
You prefer using pictures.
You prefer using sound.
You prefer using words.
You prefer doing.
You prefer using logic.
You prefer to learn with other people.
You prefer to self-study.
For me, I learn best when it’s a mixture of Verbal and Physical. This means I like to be told what to do and then go and put that theory into practice. What I’m getting at with the history lesson above is, I learnt by doing it. You can learn a lot by just ‘having a go’
ASP.NET MVC C#
The technology I want to improve on more than most is C# and specifically using the ASP.NET MVC Framework. I mentioned above that my learning style is verbal and physical, so I started with tutorial videos that are freely available on YouTube.
Just by searching ‘C# Tutorials’ you’ll get loads of results. The first videos I watched were plain old C# tutorial videos. I did this firstly because I didn’t have a lot of experience with C# and secondly, it appeals to the verbal learning style that I get on well with. After I spent around 3 or 4 hours watching some videos I was able to understand some simple concepts. I did struggle to grasp Object Orientated Programming at first.
Next, I figured I’d do some supplementary reading to make sure I had a good understanding of some of the features of C# that I had struggled with in the video tutorials (Object Orientated Programming for example). I logged onto Amazon and purchased two books. One book was to brush up on some C# that I hadn’t quite understood in the video tutorials and the second book was to cover some more advanced topics. These books have great reviews on Amazon and I recommend them.
C# Crash Course
These books come highly recommended. Once I’d brushed up on my C# skills with tutorials and videos I turned my attention to some paid tutorial videos using a company called PluralSight . One of the best tutors on the PluralSight platform in my opinion, is Scott Allen. Firstly, the videos he has published talk you through how to build a real-world application. Secondly, you actually get to build one! This has ticked both of my learning style boxes.
Try to build some some real-world applications that solve a problem. It took ages to find a problem that I could resolve with code, eventually I needed a way to choose a winner of a competition randomly. I built a Random Winner Generator as a console application in C#. I’ll cover how to build that, as well as some more real-world practice projects in another blog. I hope by explaining How I’m Learning to Code; it can help you find a way that works for you.