Kickstart a coding career in Bangladesh | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 30, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:59 PM, January 02, 2017

Kickstart a coding career in Bangladesh

As the rest of the world gets in on what is called the Silicon Valley fever, the demand for programmers and coders is only increasing. Whether it is to create simple programmes for your office or to relate to coders in your workplace so that you know how your office computer system is being operated, coding can be a very important skill. In fact, with the world surging towards technology, you can even build up a freelancing career as a developer if you get really good at it.  

So what exactly is coding? Well, it is basically a set of instructions that tells a computer what to do. From games to software to even the apps in your phone—almost every sophisticated technology (and even simple ones in certain cases!) requires coding. Even though most of the programming languages share similar basic features, they are often used for different purposes. For example, you might prefer C for graphics-heavy applications, but JavaScript may be better for the web.

HOW TO GET STARTED

Yes, coding can seem overwhelming, which is why it is very important to start simple. Whenever you do find a problem, don't just directly start solving. Good coders don't just find solutions; they focus on finding the most appropriate method to solve the problem, thoroughly understanding the problem first. Only then will you have a competitive edge over other programmers.

Beginners should start with object-oriented languages as it has a common basic principle—making objects and doing things with those objects. There are also other types of languages, such as functional languages that are more suited to manipulating data, and procedural languages which perform low-level system tasks. Most popular programming languages to start with include python, java and C/C++.

Soon enough, you will start enjoying changing numbers and deleting lines in your code to see what happens. After you learn the basic concept of one programming language, with a little reading, you can easily figure out the other languages. In fact, the first language you learn might not be the one you stick to. As you explore, you can switch between languages, and enjoy all their perks and quirks.

FOR A FREE KICK START

Being one of the top engineering universities, MIT open courseware from MIT is naturally a top choice for any beginner. Straight from MIT classrooms, the OCW is a collection of their course material and contains extensive information on programming. Besides general courses on concepts and programme-specific courses, they also have follow-up courses such as those on algorithm and software construction for those wanting advanced knowledge.

Another top choice for beginners is Codecademy. Containing all things code and nicely organised categorically, Codecademy allows you to be more specific in your learning. Whether you want to learn programming languages such as JavaScript, PHP, Python, Ruby or HTML + CSS or focus on web development, data analytics or even API, Codecademy excels in helping you find exactly the right course for you.

You could either opt for Khan Academy with its easy-to-follow course sections and step-by-step video tutorials or go to the king of online education, Coursera. While Khan Academy is a great place for those aiming to learn JavaScript, Coursera offers free classes from many universities from USA, and also contains recommendations to make your learning journey easier.

Finally, the Google project HTML5 Rocks has also been a massive success, with Google pro contributors bringing you the latest updates, resource guides, and slide decks for extensive knowledge on HTML5. More suited to those with some previous experience, it is the ultimate stop for anyone willing to learn HTML5.

PAID CODING COURSES

For a more comprehensive learning, it is better to opt for paid courses especially after you are done with the basics. Paid courses also provide some kind of expert support that is helpful for beginner developers or when you have questions.

One great source to jumpstart your coding journey is Udacity. The first thing the site asks is what you want to be. That way the site knows exactly the kind of courses you would require, and would suggest courses accordingly. The site also includes a personal coach to help you develop your skills.

With videos and quizzes, Treehouse is another website with plenty of contents to keep you busy. Once again, the site functions by helping you pick a learning track which you can easily follow through. Treehouse also includes contents on freelancing and business strategies so you can make the most of your new education.

Finally, Code Avengers also provides step-by-step instructions while guiding you through over sixty hours of course material. With a free trial version, the site helps you learn with challenges and games, only requiring payment for level 2 and 3. It will also allow you to build a portfolio of all your coding, so that you can show your skills off to your employers.

 

The writer is a second-year student of Computer Science and Engineering at BRAC University

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