Our guide to coding
Jane McGuire

Our guide to coding

Our guide to coding

Published December 08 2015

As the world goes crazy for coding, it is easy to get left behind. On the surface, coding is a confusing mix of words and symbols, but once you understand how to use it, things are far simpler. In fact, you actually use code everyday – your browser, your OS (operating system), apps on your phone, Facebook and this page on Hotcourses are all written in code. If you’re ready to take the leap into the world of coding you’ll probably already know a bit about it, but if not here is our dummies guide.


Why do I need to learn how to code?

Unlike learning a foreign language, learning how to write in code can open a lot of different doors for you in quite a short space of time. Coding gives you the opportunity to hand build websites and understand the technology you use every day. As the gadgets around us get more and more advanced, understanding the internet, your mobile phone and the apps you rely on can be satisfying from a personal point of view.

If you are thinking about learning to code for work, it is one of the most valuable skills you can add to your CV right now. As a career, computer programmers are massively in demand. In fact, this demand is said to be growing twice as fast as most other jobs out there.


What is there to learn?

This is where we get to the technical part. It’s true; one of the most confusing things is the number of different languages out there for you to learn to code in. Unlike spoken languages, coding languages contain special commands, abbreviations and ways of arranging text.

Every coding language is unique and is designed with a certain operating system and intended use in mind. For example, some languages will be more suited to coding websites; others will be perfect for making apps.

It’s important to note, despite the wealth of languages out there, very few coders will know how to use all of them, most will specialise in a few or sometimes just one. To give you a little more information, we have given a very basic outline of some of the most popular coding languages below -  


JavaScript – one of the most prominent languages for coding websites, JavaScript appeared in 1995. In very simple terms, this is one of the most popular coding languages in the world and can be used to add functionality to websites.


Python – Created in 1991, Python was designed to emphasise code readability and is easily recognised by its clear, expressive syntax. Because it is so easy to read, people often chose to learn Python first.


Java – A class-based, objected orientated programming language that was developed in the 1990s, Java is now one of the most in-demand languages. Java is used for web based content, games, mobile apps and the Android operating system.


C Language – One of the oldest languages out there, C Language is often seen as a building block for other popular codes. Because it is the foundation to many codes, it is often advised to learn C and C++ before moving on to more advanced languages.


C++ - To put it in laymen’s terms, C++ is kind of like C Language but with added programming features. C++ powers major software like Firefox, Winamp and Adobe programmes.


As mentioned above, there are also many more important coding languages to consider, including Ruby, PHP, C Sharp and Perl. It’s a good idea to do some research into the language and what is used for before signing up to a course. That said you can’t go wrong with the basics – HTML, CSS and JavaScript.