The world of coding and computer programming is exciting. With how much technology has advanced, it essentially gives you the toolbox needed to do whatever you, granted you put the time and effort into learning to use that toolbox effectively.
That's where it gets complicated. When you first start learning how to start coding, you're going to feel a bit overwhelmed. From necessary hardware specs to the multitude of technical jargon you'll need to know, you will have a lot of information tossed at you at once. We're here to help with that with this beginner coding guide.
Let's get started.
Essential Beginner Coding Hardware
You can’t learn how to start coding without a bit of equipment, and nowadays, any old hardware isn’t going to work. To be productive, the quality of hardware you purchase will matter.
The most important piece of equipment you’re going to need is a laptop. A laptop is perfect for coding from home, and it’s what you’re going to make all the magic happen with. However, you can’t just buy any 10-year-old junker and expect to start pounding out highly complex codes. The better your specs, the more productive you’ll be. Your specs will matter whether it comes to multi-tasking or just getting programs to load quickly enough.
For a good beginner coding laptop, we recommend finding something with at least an Intel i5 series processor and 8GB of RAM. The i5 series typically runs at about 2.4hz, and it’s enough to work productively. In fact, this is the minimum requirement for most college-level coding courses.
Luckily, laptops matching those specs can be purchased for as low as $300-$400. So, almost anyone can get one with a little bit of saving and shopping around for a good deal.
However, if you want something a little more future-proof, you’ll want to get a laptop with an i7 processor and 16GB of RAM. These will usually be a bit more expensive, but try checking out the business laptop category of your preferred brand. You should be able to find something affordable, still.
Second, you'll want to get a second monitor. A secondary monitor is crucial when you get into more complicated programs because it allows you to code on one screen and loads the program on the other. However, it's also a boon for beginners. Instead of having to back out and look at tabs upon tabs of tutorials and guides, you can keep your references on the second screen as you work.
Just don't grab a standalone monitor like you would for a desktop, though. That is unless you're using a desktop. If you're using a laptop, it's far more efficient to pick up a portable monitor. Portable monitors are more compact, lighter, and connect right to the back of your laptop; meaning you don't need to create a lot of room on your desk when you use them. This is the perfect solution for working from home or on the go.
Of course, there are plenty of other reasons a portable monitor should be on your shortlist of hardware purchases. Here’s a complete guide to all the benefits you can expect.
Other Helpful Gadgets and Programming Equipment
Having a laptop and a portable monitor is enough to get started, but you’ll quickly notice some hiccups. The portability of those two pieces of equipment doesn’t come without its downsides. Luckily, you can completely remove those drawbacks with a few peripheral hardware pieces.
- Ethernet Cable: Wireless internet connections are slower than hard connections. When you start programming, you’ll be downloading a lot of information and programs, and you’ll have to perform a lot of online research. Invest in an ethernet cable to ensure your connection is as fast as possible.
- Mouse: Trackpads are not ideal for anything more than surfing the web. They're clunky, get worn out, and aren't as easy to manipulate. Buy a USB mouse to make your coding experience a lot smoother.
- Ergonomic Keyboard: Your laptop’s built-in keyboard is perfectly fine for on-the-go coding sessions or short bursts of work, but if you want to do long hours of coding, get a USB keyboard that has better ergonomics. Your wrists will thank you.
- Blue Light Glasses: Screens, whether you’re talking about your phone, tablet, TV, or laptop, give off blue light. This damages the eyes when you stare at it for a long time, and coding isn’t something you only do for fifteen minutes get some blue light glasses to keep your eyes healthy.
- Cord Organizer: As you get better, you’ll likely buy a lot of gadgets that make your life easier. From cooling pads to mice and external drives, you’re going to have a lot of cords dangling around. Get a cheap cord organizer to keep everything copasetic.
Start Coding from Home
Learning how to start coding isn’t impossible to do from home. You don’t HAVE to invest in college courses or online programs. However, you do have to put a lot of research and hard work into the process.
If you want to learn how to start coding, here are three things you can do from the comfort of your living room.
- YouTube: YouTube has become a one-stop shop for self-educated people everywhere. The massive user base has people from practically every field and experience level sharing their knowledge via video guides, and you can learn from them for free. Just keep in mind that there isn't any real quality control on YouTube. So, try to find videos that are in-depth and well-made.
- Read Beginner Coding Books and Guides: You can also go the old school route and pick up a book. Most libraries will have books on coding available for free, and you might even be able to find donated copies of college textbooks. If not, you can always look online and find whatever type of book you want. Just make sure the book is up-to-date. Coding is very different from what it was in 1998.
- Follow Coding Blogs: Blogs are rich in information, and they’re typically 100% free. You can find a lot of blogs on the topic on sites dedicated to coding, and sometimes companies specializing in coding and computer-related products will offer their expansive knowledge via a blog, too.
As you can see, most of it comes down to seeking out and applying information as you go. If you equip yourself with good hardware and put your best foot forward, you can learn how to start coding in no time.