I'm sorry if this has been asked before but how did you teach yourself to code and get experience? I'm just starting to learn using freecodecamp, and I have a FT kind-of tech job where knowing coding and related context is useful, but doesn't involve actual coding... So I don't know how I would get the practical experience. Any suggestions or resources you'd recommend? Thank you! Also I love your comics! 😃
I’ve mentioned some resources before in this post, but I’ll amend that now with some more beyond-the-internet tips.
Check your local organizations for groups who do the language you want to learn and attend – I’ve met numerous fantastic people from our local Women Who Code group, and others from the convention I attended. You’ll often find a mix of people in these groups, from people who are learning just like you all the way to season folk who’ve been doing it for years and years. Our local group does “code jams” where we basically get together to code whatever we want. Some people use the time to study and ask others for help, while others may just work on a side project to practice things they wanted to try out. We know each other’s strengths/weaknesses, so it’s not unusual for to get a message later like, “Hey I know you’re good at doing X. I’m trying to do Y and having trouble – can you help me figure out what this error means?” Likewise, someone new might ask the group: “Does anyone know Z? I’m interested in learning it” and someone may pair up with them. (I’ve literally gotten random emails like this for years and I always answer them lol)
These connections are great! They were really helpful when I was trying discern whether going full into code was what I wanted to do or not. (Previously was a designer.)
You can also try to get some practice at your current job, if they’re open to it. If you know the group well enough, you can ask someone who does coding for tips OR if there’s a time where they’re super busy, find an opportunity to point out to your boss “Hey, I’ve been learning X and they seem to be really busy. Can I try to take on this task to help them out?” Most managers and bosses will appreciate your willingness to help, which will help create more opportunities for you to learn. At some point, if the deadline is pretty lax and you feel more confident in your skills, you can even ask to be more involved. Depends on the company whether they’ll allow it, but if they do it’s a definite plus. Just be careful your position doesn’t change while keeping you on the same salary!
Open-source projects on GitHub are also great for practice. Trying cloning a finished project and trying to figure out how it works, or helping a group to finish a project they’re working on. In these cases, it’s personal connections that can really help, so I strongly recommended befriending coding colleagues, joining groups, or finding folk on social media. 👌
Good luck!! And have fun!!