Learning to code can empower you to become master of your own (Web) domain, oand maybe even land you a new, high paying job. So what are you waiting for?
Sure, a lot of us put off learning to code because it’s intimidating or we feel we don’t have the time. But today, thanks to no shortage of free resources online, it’s a lot easier and more convenient than ever to learn to code. And in summer, while the days are longest, anyone can make the time. (Confidential to Australia: Pity, mate!)
Here are a few courses of action you could take, whether you’ve got the whole summer or just a couple hours to devote to the pursuit of knowledge:
If You’ve Got A Month
Maybe the kids are at summer camp and you’ve got unexpectedly quiet weeknights for now. Whatever the reason, a month is a perfect time to learn a whole new language.
Since you know you’ll be around, sign up for a month on Treehouse or Code School. Each costs $25 per month. Plus, you can put your membership on hold when you’re done so you don’t pay when you’re not using it.
While a month seems like an overwhelmingly long time to devote to something, keep yourself focused by choosing just one of Treehouse’s “Learning Adventures” or Code School’s “Paths.” Since you’re paying for it, it’s tempting to dabble in a little of everything, but staying the course will keep you from becoming a jack of all trades, master of none.
In linear courses, the difficulty will continue to increase until you’re working at the same level (if not with the same expertise) as the pros. If your goal is to get a new job out of this, racking up the points in a “learning adventure” or “path” is the way to go.
If You’ve Got A Long Weekend
No plans for Labor Day? Spend the weekend conceiving and then executing your own program. They say the best way to learn to code is to come up with a project you want to do, and a long weekend is just long enough for that.
Here’s one example: Upload your first project to GitHub. GitHub is a great community in which to share, showcase, and get help on your code work. The link goes to GitHub’s own tutorial on putting your first project online.
Here’s another: Build your first website. In 2013, there are so many ways to make a personal website without a lot of technical know-how or even much money. You could start a blog on Blogger.com or WordPress.com for free. With Weebly, you could even build an online store for free and get that business plan off the ground. With virtually no technical barriers, it’s simply about dedicated a weekend to executing your goal.
If You’ve Got One Day
Plan ahead and scan Meetup for technology related groups in your city. I’m talking social gatherings for tech-minded people, hackathons, and educational coding lectures and tutorials. Chances are, you’re not the only person looking to dive into new tech skills.
Meetups are a great way to find friends and mentors that will hold you accountable for your goals. People who will ask you why you weren’t at the last Python tutorial. And of course, Meetup.com will send you regular reminders about what’s going on in your area.
If You’ve Got One Hour
Is summer boredom creeping in? Even an hour is enough time to dip your toes in. Take a few Codecademy lessons. I recommend beginning with Web Fundamentals. You can zoom through HTML Basics in no time.
On the off chance that you do get hooked, Codecademy is free, so you can devote an hour to it whenever the mood strikes, without worrying about payments or contracts.
If You’ve Got One Minute
First of all, I’m going to call BS since it definitely took you longer than a minute to read this article. If you’ve got time for that, you’ve got time to write down your goals. Are you interested in learning a new language? Finding a tech-savvy coding mentor? Launching a new business online? Perhaps even transitioning to a new job that requires tech skills (but not a degree)? Write it all down and figure it out.
Finally, bookmark this article for when you’ve got more than a minute, so you can decide which of these plans of actions will best help you meet your goal. Good luck!
Lead image via Flickr user JossSmithson, CC 2.0