In our high-tech society, knowing how to code can land you a great job or come in handy as a hobby. But writing lines of code can sound intimidating or even boring. Thinking of coding as an outlet for creativity, a way to dig deeper into your current interests, or a way to achieve a specific goal can help you get interested. Jumping in and trying out some coding in a coding group, or on your own with software or websites, can help you develop an interest in coding.
Reframing How You Think about Coding
Use it as an outlet for creativity.
You can create anything with the right lines of code – cartoons, websites, and software programs are just the most common. You might also be able to create something that no one has ever seen before. If you think about coding as an outlet for your creativity – the same way painting or writing are – you might become more interested in coding itself.
- You could also use CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to create any kind of website – for a company, a product, or even your own blog.
Link coding to your other interests.
If you love to read, you can use coding to build a website to write your own book reviews or blog about books you love. If you love cartoons, you can code your own animation. Think about your passions and then come up with ways that coding can help you pursue them.
- If you like music, for example, you can learn website coding that allows you to create a website where you can review your favorite music. With the right coding language, you can embed music samples or links to your favorite bands’ websites,
Keep a goal in mind.
If you set out to learn coding just for the sake of learning how to code, you might not stay interested in it. Instead, have a specific goal for the coding you want to do. Tell yourself you’ll make one page of a website, or a few frames or a cartoon. Having a goal can help keep you focused and make learning to code feel less overwhelming.
Starting to Code
Form a coding group with other people.
It can be hard to maintain an interest in something that you’re doing all by yourself, so it’s probably easier to stay interested if you’re doing it along with other people. Ask your friends if they want to learn to code with you – it can make it seem more like a social activity and way more fun. It also gives you a few resources if you run into trouble.
Try out coding software, websites, or apps.
Sometimes the best way to get interested in something is to try it yourself, and there are so many free or pretty cheap ways to try out coding.
- Free coding websites include Codeacademy, Free Code Camp, Codewars, and edX.
- Free coding games include Scratch, through MIT’s website.
- Robomind is an app available for Windows, Mac, and Linus operating systems. Cargobot is a coding game aimed toward a younger audience.
Sample different types of coding.
- Python is a type of coding that you can use on a lot of different platforms. It’s also pretty user-friendly, so it might be a good place to start.
- Structured Query Language (SQL) is used on websites to create, store, edit, or delete any kind of website content you can think of. This is a good choice if you’re thinking of creating a website that will need a lot of updating.
A lot of people lose interest in something because they aren’t good at it right away. A lot of coders aren’t very good when they start, and that’s okay! You might not be the greatest coder right away, or you might mess up. Be patient with yourself and give yourself a chance to get good.
Staying Interested and Motivated
Learn the basics first.
If you try to jump in and begin coding projects right away, you might find yourself hitting a lot of dead ends because you just don’t know what to do. Instead, learn the basics of the coding language you’re interested in first. That way you know what each command does and where it might be useful.
If your first coding project is a big project with lots of different steps, you might feel overwhelmed and lose interest in coding. If you start with a small, personal project, you can see the results of your work more quickly. Making it a personal project prevents you from feeling pressure from the person you’re coding for.
- For example, you could start with a very short animation, where your cartoon character only does one thing – like waving.
Keep a portfolio.
As you learn to code, keep a list of the projects you’ve completed. If you ever feel discouraged, or like you haven’t accomplished much, you can look back at your portfolio. You’ll be able to see how much you’ve done and how you’ve been able to complete harder and harder projects.