What is the correct strategy for studying algorithms and learning how to code… That’s what we are about to discover in this article.

When you want to learn coding, you need some good advices, preferably from someone with experience. The founder of Wazana, Valentin, will provide us with some helpful tips.

  • Start with easy things, but then continue and learn more.

Do not lose to much time in reading theory. Start coding even if it is to code easy things. It is even more important to train and code, than learning or listening to a MOOC.

It’s like sport, it is good to know the rules but the more important is to play. You won’t win if you only know the rules of the game. Let’s take Gym as an example, at the beginning you won’t do “saltos, you start with “roue”, but then, you will execute harder choreographies.

  • Openclassrooms.com motivated me while I was learning

Well, I visited many websites and different MOOC, I preferred Openclassrooms because they were the only website who was given some contexts and history about coding.

Openclassrooms also motivated me while I was learning: they indeed give simple messages of encouragement to their online members. They have accreditations so you can get certified, depending on which class you choose.

I also liked the clarity of their coding tutorials. They will also push you to practice and try.

Openclassrooms allowed me to learn the basis. Once you know the basis, Stack over flow will be the website where I would find a code-related answer to my question.

I also had my cousin to help me. He studied Coding for a long time so he taught me a lot about coding technics and concepts. For instance, the object –language, heritage or even what was the purpose of one language or another.

  • The thing I wish I would have learnt earlier

Compared to people who studied coding at university, I am not as talented as them. I.e. creating servers is not something I like to do and I am talented at. I think it would have been easier for me not to start with “web”.

I started with the easiest part. It was great for me to learn coding but now, I lack technical knowledge compared to people who start by learning hardest things with a teacher.

Today, I need to keep on learning because I am far from knowing everything. Maybe I am a bit slower than somebody who has studied coding before. I do not know everything yet.

I.e. Linux is used everywhere, C+ as well. And I do not know these languages. But engineers student always start by learning these 2 languages. They are a step ahead of me.

  • Without problems, life would be boring

« Without problems, life would be boring. So, I think you need to find problems to be solved to be motivated. The more you solve problems, the more you will be good at it. »

Since I have solved many, in life or in my coding experience, I consider myself as somebody talented in problem solving. But for sure it depends on the problem… If it’s a problem I have already face, it won’t be interesting. I prefer to face situations that I have never seen before.

  • The number one reason I learnt how to code?

My first coding experience was in VBA : the Excel Programming Language. I worked in Finance and had to optimize a huge Excel which use a lot of Excel functions. In finance you have a lot of complexe rules and logic that are not always easy to apply on a Excel. So, I had to find ways thanks to VBA to make it more flexible and powerful. And learning VBA quickly showed me that you can have way more interesting result in way less time. I have learnt that being smart in coding gives you a very strong leverage whatever the work you do. Because you will be the only person capable of really improving task or calculation that are currently made in your company. After this first experience in VBA and some talks with a cousin of me who was developer already, I decided to learn how to code to develop that leverage I identified in VBA.

  • What’s about my objectives, did I have any?

At start when you learn coding you don’t think about identifying a need, because you are stuck finding why the ‘if’ you add in the line 45 of your code make everything bug. But quick you will give yourself objectives to motivate yourself because you must have a purpose at each step of your training.

If your code is not logic, it won’t give you logic stuff. So, it depends what you intend to do with your code. I have seen some ‘WTF’ website that doesn’t make any sense but that I find interesting in trying to understand how unlogic it has been made.

When I first started, my goal was to create a game, I didn’t think about funding a start-up or not. I just wanted to see if I was capable of doing that.

Learning how to code is not similar to learning a new language because to me, language allow you to put words on what you have in mind when coding allow you to create what you have in mind. Ideas can be shared thanks to language but you can build them thanks to coding. This is the same with every manual knowledge, I often compare the coder with the craftwork. You imagine something and you use a tool to obtain the thing you imagined. In coding the tool is your text editor. And craftwork often master several materials (wool, wood, silver..) which will allow to achieve different product, the coder material is the language he will choose (PHP, Javascript, CSS…) which will allow him to achieve different product. So you don’t learn a new language but a new way to build stuff from scratch.

My very first coding project occurred when I was in High school. With my classmates, we developed a short website which showed the production of the wind turbine and solar panels of the school. That was a fun and interesting project but, at that time, it was the beginning of Internet and I didn’t really see the potential of knowing how to code. In addition to that, at this age, I didn’t have any idea on what to code yet.

 

As a conclusion, keep on learning!

« The breaking point for me was when I realised I could do anything thanks to code and the Internet. The only limit was my imagination and my ability to learn new things. »

So I felt like it opened an infinite new world to me where I could create many things for many people.

Don’t hesitate to ask me any questions;

 

Cheers,

Valentin

(@PichouPichou)