Computers and technology are here to stay. South Africa’s mobile penetration surpassed 90% in 2019 and technology has become an integral part of our future.

Maybe you’ve seen some recent advancements around artificial intelligence, experienced how apps make our lives easier or you’ve seen first-hand how software programs can answer customer care questions, sometimes even better than a human.

Programmers and developers work with entrepreneurs, project managers and computers to create the software programs, digital applications or websites to bring their technical product ideas to life in an easy, logic and inventive way.

Code is the binary language used to give computers, programs and technical platforms instructions and actions to perform.

Here’s how you can learn to code from scratch, how to figure out where to start, consulting useful online resources and helpful tips from the experts.

The best Computer programming tutors available
Charlton
5
5 (8 review/s)
Charlton
R200
/h
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1st lesson free!
Tristan
Tristan
R100
/h
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1st lesson free!
Lewin
5
5 (7 review/s)
Lewin
R150
/h
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1st lesson free!
Robert
4.9
4.9 (6 review/s)
Robert
R200
/h
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1st lesson free!
Mikaela
5
5 (2 review/s)
Mikaela
R120
/h
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1st lesson free!
Tiara
5
5 (4 review/s)
Tiara
R180
/h
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1st lesson free!
Elmar
5
5 (3 review/s)
Elmar
R150
/h
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1st lesson free!
Antsa
5
5 (7 review/s)
Antsa
R150
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Charlton
5
5 (8 review/s)
Charlton
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Tristan
Tristan
R100
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Lewin
5
5 (7 review/s)
Lewin
R150
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Robert
4.9
4.9 (6 review/s)
Robert
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Mikaela
5
5 (2 review/s)
Mikaela
R120
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Tiara
5
5 (4 review/s)
Tiara
R180
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Elmar
5
5 (3 review/s)
Elmar
R150
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Antsa
5
5 (7 review/s)
Antsa
R150
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Let's go!

Why You Want to Learn to Code?

The need for code-literate employees is increasing daily as the demands around technical innovation places pressure on businesses across the globe. Automated technical solutions can not only help a company serve a broader customer base, but technological innovation can also result in break-through solutions and products to  positively impact a company’s revenue.

This won’t be possible without the help of programmers and developers, which has become as integral to a progressive business as the code required to run any computer program.

Even people in marketing, management, analytics and project management can benefit from coding experience as the needs to understand this ever-changing market will help them to better run and manage technology driven start-ups and companies.

What are your personal reasons for wanting to learn how to code?

A lot of new programmers get stuck on the programming language they should learn first, but the best piece of advice any professional programmer or developer will give you is to decide what you would like to do with the code you write?

Do you want to become a software developer, someone who specialises in application development, a person who builds websites?  All these approaches require a different language and your decisions around what you will use your code for will narrow down the coding languages you need to learn to best meet your goals.

Can you learn to code with online tutorials?
The first step for beginners in tech is deciding where they want to go... Only then can they explore the topics, tutorials, courses and skills required that will get them there. (Source: StartupStockPhotos)

Which Programming Language Suits Your Plans?

Most programmers and developers understand two or more coding languages. While they specialise in a specific field, they will keep an eye around advancements and innovation in their industry that might force them to learn a different programming language. Whichever code you choose, you need to accept and grow comfortable with the fact that you will always continue your learning journey in the world of innovation.

We wanted to make your task of selecting a coding language a bit easier. Below is a list of some careers and the coding language that makes most sense to enter those jobs. Knowing the code required for your career plans will ensure you research the right code on google while you start to build the foundations for your new future.

Website Development

HTML and CSS are the most basic and obvious options for the build of static websites. Once you’ve developed a sound understanding of those you can delve into Javascript and PHP which is more back-end and behavioural type of coding.

Computer Sciences & Software Development

Python is one of the best programming languages for beginners. Not only is it easier to read and write, but it’s also used as a generic and universal coding language which means it’ll be used from web development, through to games, apps and software programming. Python’s strength lies in its automation capabilities and its ease of use.

Data Analyst and Data Science

If you complete a degree in computer or data science your four-year degree will certainly include Python as this is also one of the most popular programming languages for data analysis. Java, which is completely different to Javascript, is another great option for data analysts, allowing for scaling and integration with machine learning applications. SQL will be a requirement for most people who work with data frequently.

Full-Stack, Front-End or Back-End Developer

Front-end developers engage with creating a customer appealing solution and what is visible to the customer (using HTML, CSS and Javascript) while back-end developers ensure the invisible commands and programming runs the way they should (running languages like PHP, Ruby and Python). A full stack-developer understands both the front and back-end and there are a lot of skills, other than coding, that you will need to learn including version control, security best practices, user experience and project management.

You will still find a multitude of opinions around the best code for a specific program, job or task, but it’s important to realise that one coding language is not necessarily better than another, it might just be more suitable for specific industries, platforms or tasks.

Which are the best websites for learning to code?
There are websites and forums where you can learn more about programming. (Source: tookapic)
The best Computer programming tutors available
Charlton
5
5 (8 review/s)
Charlton
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Tristan
Tristan
R100
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Lewin
5
5 (7 review/s)
Lewin
R150
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Robert
4.9
4.9 (6 review/s)
Robert
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Mikaela
5
5 (2 review/s)
Mikaela
R120
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Tiara
5
5 (4 review/s)
Tiara
R180
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Elmar
5
5 (3 review/s)
Elmar
R150
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Antsa
5
5 (7 review/s)
Antsa
R150
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Charlton
5
5 (8 review/s)
Charlton
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Tristan
Tristan
R100
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Lewin
5
5 (7 review/s)
Lewin
R150
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Robert
4.9
4.9 (6 review/s)
Robert
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Mikaela
5
5 (2 review/s)
Mikaela
R120
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Tiara
5
5 (4 review/s)
Tiara
R180
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Elmar
5
5 (3 review/s)
Elmar
R150
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Antsa
5
5 (7 review/s)
Antsa
R150
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Let's go!

10 Tips Around Teaching Yourself to Code

Coding can be an ambitious undertaking for beginners and to become a pro coder will require determination, hard work and an open mind to ensure continuous learning.

Here are ten of the best tips for beginner coders from the professionals:

  1. As mentioned already, be clear on why you want to code as this will inform where you start, the core programming languages you need to master and the steps you need to take to reach your goals.
  2. If you plan to make a career out of it, then we recommend creating a roadmap. This will ensure you keep your eye on the prize and don't get diverted by other opinions.
  3. Try out free online platforms (we have included suggestions in this article), before committing to paid courses. This will allow you to test the university and their course content plus you'll get an idea on whether it’s the coding language you want to learn.
  4. Start small and don’t skip the basics. Most students get stuck because don’t fully comprehend fundamentals and coding builds gradually into complex coding scripts.
  5. If you are paying and planning to make a career out of programming, you need some assurance of the quality of the certification. Be sure you check the institution’s accreditation, including that of the actual course you will be studying.
  6. Ensure you can learn in a way that suits you best, whether this is through videos, online tutorials, textbooks, classrooms or a blended combination of all. It’s important to set yourself up for success.
  7. Learn by doing. Practice makes perfect and coding is all about application so be sure you practice writing code as much as possible to apply your learning as you go.
  8. Ask an expert for advice when you struggle. Experienced programmers and developers might be able to explain questions, help unpack logic and identify challenges like syntax errors. A Superprof tutor can be your ideal wing(wo)man for this.
  9. Know how much time and money you have as this will give you a realistic perception of what is possible. Overlay your available resources with your roadmap and see how long it will take you to reach your goal.
  10. Remain curious and playful as this will make the learning journey more enjoyable and will probably also ensure you retain what you learn for longer.
Which are the best YouTube tutorials for programming?
CSS, Ruby or C++? You can find tutorials around most coding topics on YouTube and the web. (Source: OrnaW)

Learn to Code from Scratch with Websites and MOOCs

Starting an online programming course is quite easy, once you know what you are looking for and where to start. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) host a range of free and paid courses where students can do a short course or even a degree from an internationally recognised university.

Most MOOCs will promote free short courses and diplomas, where students pay if they want a copy of the certificate. 3-4 Year degrees in data sciences, computer science, data analytics and development are generally paid courses and if you are lucky, you will be able to try out the beginning modules of the curriculum or a short course from the same institution.

Here are some of the most popular, online educational websites to investigate:

  • Coursera
  • EdX
  • FutureLearn
  • Khan Academy
  • OpenClassrooms
  • Udacity
  • Udemy

If you are looking for some of the best quality courses and degrees in programming, be sure you check out the following:

  • Introduction to Computer Science by Harvard University (EdX)
  • Programming for Everybody (Getting started with Python) by the University of Michigan (Coursera)
  • Python Data Structures by the University of Michigan (Coursera)
  • Introduction to Python Programming (Udacity)
  • Machine Learning from Stanford University (Coursera)
  • The Fundamentals of Programming from LinkedInLearning

Read this article for more details on MOOCs or to learn more about specialist coding websites like Codewars, Freecodecamp or OneMonth.

Which are the best MOOCs for learning to code?
There are many computer science and IT MOOCs out there. (Source: StockSnap)

Videos to Teach Yourself Programming

Some of us just find it easier to learn with videos and you'll be able to find hundreds of videos on YouTube to help you while you learn to code, all for free. Finding good and engaging videos to aid you in your learning journey can however be tricky, so here are some of our favourite YouTube channels to get you started:

  • Adam Khoury (Web design, PHP, SQL and Javascript)
  • Eli the Computer Guy (HTML and PHP)
  • ProgrammingKnowlede (Python or Java)
  • Freecodecamp.org (programming and computer science)

Read here for more about those channels and how you can learn coding basics with online videos.

The more you explore, the more you’ll discover exciting content, progressive channels and programmers whose style you enjoy. With time you will also become more interested in their professional journey and be sure to check for blogs and online articles that are linked to their profile.

Here are some additional suggestions of online coding resources to aid you.

Learn To Code with An Experienced Tutor

Hopefully you are now armed with a multitude of ideas and resources to help you while you learn to code for free. All you have to do is decide where you want to start, and which programming language gets priority?

We also have one last trick up our sleeves to make your coding learning journey easier, faster, more enjoyable and engaging – the guidance of an experienced Superprof tutor!

On Superprof you can compare and choose from a range of professional programmers, set-up a trial class and coordinate online lessons or face-to-face tutorials in your area.  Want to split the costs of your tutoring costs… why not organise group tutoring sessions with your friends?

An experienced tutor will design a roadmap for your learning journey, whether you are brand new at coding or looking for additional resources to supplement your current studies.

Your first session can be free, so go on and find your coding expert on Superprof today to set your programming dreams in motion.

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Mauritz

Writer and qualified yoga instructor, who is passionate about health and well-being.