Tools that taught me to code

I’m not an advanced developer by any means (in fact, my title is “Junior Developer”). But I think I’m in a good position to look back and see what helped me reach this level, and share some of the more useful tools for anyone looking to get started building websites and apps.

A note on teaching yourself. My development experience has been largely self-taught, meaning, I sat down by myself and toyed with this stuff for hours, googling around for answers, following tutorials, and just hitting Run over 9000 times until the program did what I wanted it to. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. The best way for me to learn was to plug my nose and jump into the deep end, keeping my eyes painfully open for keywords. Learn how to use Google, learn to always click on the StackOverFlow answer, read alot, try alot, take breaks, but keep at it.

The human element. Find peers and learn from them. If you put all this time in on your own, you will improve by leaps and bounds every time you meet with other real-life developers. Ask them what tools they learned from, what text-editor they use (Sublime!), and what language they’d recommend getting into (necessary? growing? niche?). After months of programming on my own, I ran into a like-minded developer on a train, and just talking about it with him was a huge leap for my experience.

Read on the internet! This is advice for any career. Google it and absorb it! If you are interested in any topic and know nothing about it but are ready to dive in, read the whole wikipedia article. It will be so good for to have at least that level of background, even if you don’t know what it is all referring to. You’ll piece it together as you go, and have a great foundation for growth.

Now, to the tools.

Other than that, I can’t stress the GOOGLE IT advice enough. Learn the keywords of your language, and put them in along with whatever method you think you might need, or just write out the whole question. StackOverFlow is an amazing resource. Don’t forget to add “tutorial” in there too. Often I’ll find a tutorial on how to build exactly the thing I’m struggling with. Programming these days, once you learn the syntax, seems to be about finding someone who’s already done the hard part. Now we make it pretty.

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