Learn to code – the best tips for beginners

Technology has become a key part of everyday life for billions of people around the world.

This growth, combined with continued innovation within the tech space, means there is a high demand for people who can code.

This demand has extended down to the high-school level, and Curro recently launched Curro Foreshore – its first ever school based on its tech-focused model.

The school will offer learners a curriculum that prioritises the teaching of Mathematics, Science, Robotics, and Coding.

“The idea behind this technology-driven, flexible approach comes from asking what skills learners will need for the 2030 workplace, and then working backwards to provide schooling that aims to teach those skills,” said Curro.

If you are an adult and know nothing about coding, however, do not despair – there are many ways for you to learn.

Why you should code

Arnold Graaf, founder of CodeCollege, said that you should learn to code because it is a skill that is always in demand.

According to Graaf, this is “due to continuous advancements in technology and because businesses need current technologies to stay competitive”.

He added that another benefit of learning to code is that it helps to teach you problem-solving skills.

Katie Wilter of WeThinkCode echoed this, and said that the 4th Industrial Revolution is upon us – and coding is key in this new period.

“In order to adapt and thrive in this revolution, it is essential to know how to code,” said Wilter.

Graaf said that it is incredibly important to learn the foundational skills of coding well, as here are no shortcuts in the beginning.

“It is so crucial to learn the fundamentals well, learn every new concept twice, and from different resources.”

Wilter agreed that it is important to set strong foundations, and added that coders should never stop learning.

“New coding languages will constantly pop up and it is vital to be able to draw on your existing coding knowledge and adapt to the latest cutting-edge tech stacks,” said Wilter.

Misconceptions about maths

Wilter highlighted that the idea your maths and physics marks need to be high to learn to code is not always sound.

“You need to be an excellent problem-solver and logical thinker,” she said.

Graaf agreed that you don’t need to be a master mathematician to be a good coder.Instead, motivation is what you need if you want to succeed in this field.

Graaf also believes that one of the best decisions a prospective coder can make is finding a suitable mentor.

“Having a good mentor is a great help and can ease your learning process,” said Graaf.

Where to learn

There are a variety of opportunities for South Africans to begin their coding journey – regardless of age.

WeThinkCode is an option for those who are willing to study full-time.

They offer a 2-year course, which equips graduates with a MICT SETA NQF Level 5 certification.

According to their website, they “also focus on providing access to real-world experience through internships and a clear path to employment upon graduation”.

WeThinkCode has campuses in Johannesburg and Cape Town, and the course is free if you make it through their selection process.

Another option for Cape Town residents is codeX, which offers a one-year, full-time coding course.

codeX is an accredited training provider with the MICT SETA, and rather than teaching specific frameworks, it teaches students the basic building blocks of coding – which should allow them to learn new frameworks or languages quickly.

Targeted at a younger market, codeX also helps students to find work after they’ve finished their course.

For those who would prefer to study part-time, CodeCollege offers a variety of online courses, covering a variety of languages and frameworks including Java, Python, PHP, JavaScript, and .NET.

CodeCollege also includes beginner courses in HTML/CSS, WordPress, and SQL, as well as an “Intro to Programming” course.

Other popular online platforms with coding courses – many of which you can trial for free – are edX and Codeacademy.

Now read: The skills you must have to study Computer Science

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Learn to code – the best tips for beginners