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A Guide To Coding For Dummies

A one-stop guide to coding for dummies to help beginners build their foundation of knowledge and get a kickstart to code.


Are you aspiring to become a coder and do not know where to start? Well, this coding for dummies guide might provide you with a whole lot of insight.  Are you a student who wants to become a software developer? Well, consider reading this story from Reddit. 

My last grade completed is 6th grade in formal school. I got my GED later on but had no college for programming.

As a kid I taught myself the old Basic from Apple II and Tandy CoCo days. At age 17 I was able to save enough to buy a PC so I didn’t have to use the older computers anymore. I started teaching myself C++ using a book, that’s not recommended, Sam’s Teach Yourself C++ in 21 days. I worked various jobs that gave me the opportunity to use my computer skills. Some of them were just Microsoft Office, some allowed me to use my development skills in C++, some were tech support. I kept practicing different languages (PHP, C#, VB.NET, C, Python, Batch) and then landed my first dedicated software development position.

Right now I’m working a great job from home handling data; writing Linux utilities in bash, C, TCL, Python; …… My last dev job I was at for 7 years and I moved to a new company to make 30% more because they reached out to me to apply via LinkedIn.

Don’t stick yourself in one technology. Always keep learning. Learn not just development but computers in general

The USA Bureau for Labor Statistics predicts that the employment of software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers will grow by 22 percent from 2020 to 2030. Statistics like this prove that the high demand for software developers will always remain a hot topic. Why is this? The tech industry keeps on evolving and hence remains thirsty for skilled programming experts. According to Gartner, worldwide IT spending is projected to total $4.2 trillion in 2021, an increase of 9% from 2020. 

What is Coding?

How can an article on coding for dummies be complete without the definition? To become a software developer, it is crucial to understand the essence and nature of this job. Knowing the basics of software development is what strengthens your foundation in coding. 

In the simplest terms, coding is the process of using a programming language for a computer. It is the transformation of computer instructions into an understandable language for the computer. Think of coding as a translator between any human language and the computer’s binary. Now, let’s get on to the next section to learn software development for dummies!

What is Software Development?

Since this is a guide to coding for dummies, it is important to cover every nitty-gritty. This article on learning software development for dummies is incomplete without the definition. In the simplest words, software development is the creation of software programs. If you need a better explanation, software development refers to building a computer program for computers, mobiles, other tech devices, etc. 

Who is a Software Developer?

In this section on coding for dummies, we will talk about how software development branches into multiple career prospectives. Ready to become a software developer? Software engineers are the driving force behind the creation of software programs. They design, build and maintain computer programs.

The first tip is to research software developer job duties. Coding for beginners course or learning the basics of software development is just not enough, expand your horizons, do market research, and meet software development experts. One can absorb so much from their stories, experiences, hurdles, as well as struggles. Now, let’s discuss a bit about software developer job duties. 

  • Analyzing user requirements and understanding client choice
  • Researching technological trends, new software programs, and operating system software
  • Writing and testing code
  • Debugging, troubleshooting, and checking for errors
  • Following the software development life cycle
  • Working and collaborating with business analysts
  • Improve software business processes
  • Managing and planning projects
  • Determine system performance standards

Moreover, this discussion from Reddit explains a lot about the job and really gets your brain juice flowing! A software engineer shares some activities from his daily routine and it tells us that to become a software developer, you need to be enthusiastic about learning something new. 

In addition to the obvious of writing code, I spend a lot of time thinking through hard problems. Mentally designing new pieces of our software system, following conventions where I can, carefully adding new pieces where needed. A lot of learning as I often come across tools and methods I’ve never encountered before. 

Plenty of reading code to understand it. Plenty of asking questions for my more experienced teammates. Plenty of planning ahead to have a high-level idea of what I’ll be working on over the next 2-week sprint. Talking to my boss or others in the company to get better explanations of what I need to be doing. Talking with our software tester to understand what test cases failed and then figure out why. Meeting to review the previous sprint.

Types of Software Developers

Did that sound like a lot of information? Don’t worry, we are at the beginning of our guide to coding for dummies! Now, that we are done with software developer definition, job duties, etc, it’s to explore the exciting world of software engineer jobs! 

This section in our software development for dummies guide will tell all about job prospects. As a youngster who wants to become a software developer, you need to know what kind of software development jobs are the most sought-after. Plus, it helps the individual to assess what kind of degree would entice them. 

Web developer

Did you know that web development is one of the most highly-paid software developer jobs? A web developer is responsible for building websites. In other words, web developers work on programming code for websites. Hence, they ensure that the level of web application functionality remains high. 

Mobile developers

A mobile app developer is a tech expert who works with technology to build mobile apps. Hence mobile app developer categories are android developer and iOS app developer.  

Game developers

A video game developer’s job duties include programming and developing creative elements of a video game. Game development demands good coding skills and a practical yet imaginative approach.

Back-end developers

A back-end developer builds technology that powers a website’s database, server, and application. That is why it is also called server-side development. A backend developer checks what “happens behind the scenes.”

Front-end developers

Front-end programmers ensure the website design is according to the client’s specifications and customer needs. User experience and UI UX design are an integral part of their job. 

Full-stack developers

A full-stack developer deals with the front-end and back-end sides of a web application. Therefore, full-stack programmers develop the server and client software. 

Cloud developers

A cloud developer creates cloud-based applications and products. Cloud engineers are involved in making cloud network programs and software. 

DevOps developers

This term refers to development and operations engineers. A dev ops developer’s main job is to keep a check on computer infrastructure and company servers.

Software Engineer Degrees

Coding might seem intimidating but just like any other profession, it demands focus and a bit of organization. You’re probably looking for a program that can help to jump-start your career. The earlier you start to plan, the better. A degree can give you the academic background to understand computer science basics.

In this part of coding for dummies, we shall discuss which degrees can aid in the software developer careers mentioned above. Do you have a passion for computers? Are you particularly fond of math and physics? If yes, then read on!

BS Software Engineering

A Bachelor’s of software engineering is an undergraduate academic program – it is all about the fundamentals of computer science. The software engineering bachelor’s degree teaches students about machine learning and programming languages. The duration is four years. Some pivotal courses include:

  • Designing and building software components
  • Learning about the software development lifecycle
  • Introduction to website design and development
  • Studying data structures, algorithms, and operating systems
  • Computer communication and networks

Online software engineering degrees

Online BSC engineering degrees are gaining popularity over the past few years. Thanks to the COVID pandemic, online degrees have become the preferred choice for many. Students prefer online education due to ease of access and flexibility. Also, it is a more affordable option to progress toward a coding career path. Some courses include

  • Exploring technological trends
  • Learning about operating systems and programming
  • Distributed software systems and database management
  • Data structures and algorithms
  • Developing solutions using software engineering principles

BSc in Computer Science and Engineering

A Bachelor of Science in computer science focuses on software design and its application in the real world. The computer science bachelor’s degree can be 3-4 years long. Some courses include:

  • Developing software systems
  • Learning about web services and user demands
  • Subjects related to electronics, computer databases, and operating systems
  • Programming and application development
  • Analyzing computing problems and working on solutions

A Brief Step-by-Step Guide to Coding for Dummies

Why do you want to become a software developer? What is it that inspires and motivates you? Is it the payscale or simply the career growth? In the above section, we talked about coding in detail. Plus, we also discussed software development careers and relevant courses.

In the practical world, nowadays companies are looking to hire the best developers for their projects. The need for remote work is also growing. This section will be a guide that will help you turn your interest into a career path. 

Why Should You Learn to Code?

You need to figure this one out because it will determine if you are really willing to take on the challenges of learning to code. A software development career demands patience, resilience, and interest to keep learning. Therefore, you should know if you are ready to take on the benefits and difficulties of learning to code. These are some questions you should consider.

  • Which programming language do you like?
  • What computer science degree interests you the most?
  • Are you ready to put in the time?
  • Have you set any coding goals?
  • What are your strengths? (Mathematics, Leading groups, etc.)
  • What are your weaknesses?

Which programming language do you want to learn?

Do you want to learn Python? Or do you have an interest in learning Java language? It is up to the coding beginner or student to decide which software development language is for them.

  • C++

C++ is a cross-platform programming language. It mainly works for large systems. C++ language is an enhanced version of the C language.

Creation: It was introduced in 1979 by Bjarne Stroustrup in Bell Labs, New Jersey. 

Use of C++ programming language

One of the top uses of C++ is developing operating systems due to its high speed. It is the perfect choice for games and GUI applications since it is closer to hardware. More C++ applications include banking applications, web browsers, data management systems, distributed cloud networks, and high-end computational graphics.

  • HTML

The initials HTML stand for “Hyper Text Markup Language.” The primary use of HTML coding language is webpage creation, structuring, and content. 

Creation: The earliest version of HTML programming language was written in 1991 by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. However, the release of this language was in 1995 as HTML 2.0. 

Use of HTML programming language

HTML is the language of choice of tech experts for web page development. It can assist in creating web documents as well as data entry. Also, HTML helps with data entry and game development. HTML tools improve the website user experience. 

  • Java

Java is a popular programming language used for coding web applications. It is a general-purpose programming language. Java runs on the latest tech gadgets such as computers, mobile devices, etc. Can an article on software engineering for dummies miss out on the mention of Java? Never. 

Creation: The Java project was started in 1991 by James Gosling, Mike Sheridan, and Patrick Naughton. However, it was introduced in 1995 by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems. 

Use of Java programming language 

Java helps in scientific application development, and desktop application is one of its primary uses. Moreover, Java has proven to be beneficial for the big data industry and data analytics. 

  • Javascript

Javascript is a programming language that helps in web development. It assists in making interactive pages. Examples include adding animations and developing mobile apps, web servers, and games. 

Creation: Coming to the history of Javascript, it was made in September 1995 by a programmer named Brandan Eich.

Use of Javascript programming language

Some common uses of Javascript include building web applications and web development. Android and iOS app creation is done with Java. Moreover, it enables developers to add interactive elements to websites according to user needs. 

  • Objective-C

You might’ve heard how companies are the demand for iOS developers is increasing. Mainly used by Apple, Objective-C is used for writing applications for Apple’s iOS and OS X. Its application can be seen in Apple iPhone mobiles, iPads, Apple watches, etc.

Creation: Initially,  Brandon Cox and Tom Love developed it in the early 1980s. The Objective-C language received its license in 1988. 

Use of Objective-C programming language

It supports older versions of Apple iOS and Mac OS. It is still one of the most widely used programming languages for Apple. Objective C continues to play a crucial role in iOS app development

  • Python

Python is a high-level programming language. When we talk about software development, its uses can be seen in a variety of areas. It is easy to learn python for beginners. Python coding language has a simple syntax, hence it is easy to understand. 

Creation: The release of the earliest version of Python language was in the 1980s. In 1991, Guido Van Rossum released Python’s code.

Use of Python programming language 

Python is utilized in building any software you could think of!! Python is one of the most popular programming languages to learn in 2022.

 It is also suitable for AI and machine learning because of its syntax. More applications include SEO, gaming, blockchain, and web development. 

  • PHP

The initials PHP stand for Hypertext Preprocessor. It is a general-purpose programming language, and one of its most prominent uses is web development. 

Creation: The creator of the original version of PHP was Rasmus Lerdorf. It was available in the market in 1995.

Use of PHP programming language 

PHP is a fast and highly efficient programming language. Plus, its characteristic of flexibility makes it ideal for image processing, GUI base applications, and e-commerce applications. 

  • Ruby

Just like Python, Ruby is an easy-to-learn programming language. You can classify it as a back-end language that helps in supporting the front end of the application. Ruby for beginners is relatively simple to learn. 

Creation: The birthdate of Ruby is 1993. After a discussion with a colleague, Yukihiro Matsumoto came up with the idea of Ruby.

Use of Ruby programming language:  

Mainly, Ruby can build a web app. However, it is equally advantageous for other web projects. The applications of Ruby include data processing, building servers, and web scraping. 

  • Swift

Designed as a replacement for Objective -C language, Swift was launched by Apple to speed up the iOS app development process. When compared with Objective -C, it is easier to learn Swift coding basics. Programmers worldwide also appreciate Swift for its online communities for software developers.

Creation: The introduction of Swift programming language took place in 2014. The name of the person behind this language was Chris Lattner. The event took place at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference.

Use of Swift programming language:

The speed and performance of Swift speed up the iOS app development process.  The vision behind Swift was to give developers more freedom in building iOS apps. The list covers Apple products such as iPhone mobile devices, Apple tv, etc. 

Choosing Resources to Learn Coding

There are several options for learning to code. Since the internet has become a prominent part of our lives, you can find online coding boot camps, software development short courses, and even online coding tutorials on Youtube. In this section of software development for dummies, we shall cover all the right channels to perfect those coding skills!

  • Coding boot camps

A coding boot camp combines practice, study, and instructor lessons. The goal of an online coding boot camp is to equip you with the knowledge and skills to enter the professional world. Online hiring platforms such as Gaper organize coding boot camps for aspiring software developers. 

It acts as a marketplace for the best software engineers from across the globe. Therefore, Gaper bridges the gap between startups and software developers.

  • Online coding courses

With a click, you can access a range of options for software development courses. From full-stack developer training to coding classes for beginners, one can find something according to their budget. Some good sources for finding online coding classes include:

Join Online Coding Communities

Online coding communities serve as a constant source of support for programming students worldwide. As an individual who has just finished their high school studies or entry-level programmers, these developer communities can be helpful.  

You can even connect with an experienced software developer and get their perspective about projects, companies, etc. Mentioned below are some popular online coding communities:

  • Hackernoon
  • Reddit
  • GitHub
  • Gitlab
  • Women who code

Start practicing! 

According to Dennis Ritchie, a world-famous computer scientist and the creator of the C programming language,The only way to learn a new programming language is by writing programs in it.” 

As an individual who wants to become a software developer, you should never stop practicing and experimenting. That is how you evolve your programming skills, experiment, and discover what programming languages might become your strength. In short, the learning process never stops. With assistance from online coding tutorials and the right tools, you can take your coding skills to the next level. Remember, every project you complete automatically becomes a part of your portfolio. 


Microsoft, Apple, IBM, Google – what is the similarity between all these companies? They are tech giants! The demand for IT talent continues to increase as more businesses and companies continue to embrace the latest tech trends. 

Especially, after the COVID pandemic, startup founders had to re-create their strategies. It was a time of improvisation and making practical decisions. Even in this climate of layoffs and quiet-quitting, many companies are open to hiring tech talent. Therefore, more youngsters are becoming interested in the fields of software engineering, IT, and technology. Before we end our guide to software engineering for dummies, remember one thing. The learning never stops!


How should a beginner learn to code?

There are several ways to polish your coding skills. For example, the beginner has just finished high school and is looking to pursue software engineering. Then, they can search for suitable degrees. One can find on-campus BSc computer engineering, Bachelor of software engineering, etc. However, the list does not end here. Students can opt for online software engineering degrees which saves a huge amount of money, fuel costs, etc. 

However, technology has become a source to provide options to learn to code for dummies. For instance, an individual is switching their career path. They want to learn and develop their coding skills with a job. Apart from practicing the basics of software development, there should be an avid interest in exploring multiple languages.

Then, there is the choice of online coding boot camps, online coding courses, and online software developer courses. In addition, you can even sign up for a free coding boot camp.

Do coders make good money?

Yes, coders do make a good amount of money especially compared to many other professions. Careerexplorer.com mentions that the average salary for computer programmers in the United States is around $85236 per year. The salary may vary according to the location. For example, San Francisco has a really good pay rate for software engineers.

The demand for coding experts and software developers is increasing at a steady pace. The USA Bureau for Labor predicts that the employment of software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers will grow 22 percent from 2020 to 2030. This shows how businesses are looking to hire software developers and even outsource tech teams. Remote tech jobs are also growing in popularity.

What jobs can I do with coding?

If you’re an aspiring developer who needs a lesson on software engineering for dummies, then there’s one thing you should know. Software engineering opens a world of opportunities. Coding skills open so many doors when it comes to software developer career options. With the right software developer degree and certifications, one can polish their coding skills even further. Listed below are some coding jobs

  • Software Developer
  • Data Science
  • Cybersecurity engineer
  • iOS app developer
  • Android app developer
  • Web developer
  • Front-end developers
  • Back-end developers
  • Cloud engineers
  • Machine learning engineer

How can I learn to code at home?

Yes, it is possible to practice and develop coding skills at home. First, you need to decide what kind of software developer career path appeals to you the most. The internet is a helpful tool, you can research the best software engineering jobs. 

There are several ways to take the next step. Either you can go for a software engineering degree or take up a software engineering online course. All you need is a laptop with 8GB RAM at the least and working space. . Udemy, Coursera, and Codeinstitute can be quite beneficial in the learning process. 

Can I learn coding on my own?

Yes, you can and it is not that hard. However, it requires practice and resilience. Did you wish you had a guide with the title how to learn “coding for dummies”? This is where suitable tech tools, the internet, and the information above will help you out. The first step is research-based. Remember to analyze your financial position and your career status. If you’re still a student, the path may differ from an individual who’s looking for a better career path. Here are some steps that can aid you during this phase.

  • Research on software developer careers
  • Find information related to programming languages
  • Consult a software developer or talk to a person working in the tech industry
  • Prepare a list of daily and monthly goals
  • Choose learning resources (coding boot camps, online coding courses, etc)
  • Utilize Youtube and online coding tutorials
  • Become a part of online coding communities to seek advice and input from other professionals as well as aspiring software engineers
  • Practice and build your portfolio
  • Prepare yourself for an internship

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