Coding for the Entrepreneurial Heart
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Silicon Valley was a lot more than just a meeting to bring the heads of Google, Microsoft and Facebook together to invest in India. Beyond the ‘Digital India’ campaign lies a call for young computer engineers in India to create.
The PM has seen the future, and it is a digital future. Think about it. Everything we see, hear about, learn, or need is most likely found on the internet or through an app. There’s practically an app for everything today. There was a time when standard phone messaging was all that existed until someone developed Whatsapp and Snapchat and completely changed the way people interact through messages. Now standard SMS has practically become obsolete.
Every programmer needs to know coding to bring their ideas online. If you’ve always dreamed of creating an iOS or Android app, or full-fledged website, then Siddhant Puri, an Electric Engineer and Computer Science graduate from UC Berkeley, has some tips and suggestions on how to get started.
Why learn coding?
“Obama & will.I.am tried to learn how to code. It’s strange how the tables have turned. Society suddenly respects that kid who used to be on the computer on IRC channels just derping on the internet and learning more about it.” – Siddhant Puri
Until a few years ago, you would be scouring all over your city looking for various products, and then there came apps such as Amazon and eBay that made sure you wouldn’t need to leave your house to buy something.
Apps have not only made life ridiculously easy for us but it has also opened up new possibilities and opportunities for those who have created the apps and made them what it is today. Anyone can create an app based on a simple idea. But before they can do that, they need to know the ‘how to’ aspect. This is where coding comes into play.
A programmer fails 10,000 times before progressing.
The first thing you need to do is know what you want to create. “Instead of learning for the sake of learning, learn with a purpose,” says Puri. It can be an app or a personal website, as long as it is something definitive. Secondly, patience is the key for any programmer. Every website or app will come with its own set of bugs and glitches which can drive you insane if you’re not patient enough about it.
You can always Google for help related to what you want to do and how to go about it. However, here are a few helpful sites suggested by Puri that can help you get started.
StackOverflow: This is basically Reddit for programmers. It is a place where questions related to bugs and glitches or any programming related queries can be posted and can be answered by anyone.
Coursera: This is a course conducted by University of Michigan. It is a 2-month course that covers the fundamentals of programming using Python and is useful for anyone who has a lot of time on their hands. The applications have already begun and the deadline for the current session (September 15 – November 9) end on October 6th.
Codecademy: With over 25 million users, Codecademy is a great place to learn the basics of coding and connect with other young entrepreneurs. Watch how one developer made it big by joining Codecademy.
Udacity: Offers full programs that guide you step by step. This is perhaps one of the most thorough sites out there that helps you immerse yourself in coding, but it is an expensive affair. “I’ve personally met the team and the course managers and they are a very determined group of people trying to make this process very fruitful for you. This would be my recommendation if money was not an issue,” Puri says.
Finally, whatever course you do plan on taking, and if you are determined to learn the art of coding, you need to stick to it. Having a mentor or finding a community will really help you with your goal.
“And make sure the first line of code you print is HELLO WORLD.”
Why ‘Hello World’? It’s because it is typically one of the simplest programs possible in most programming languages, it is by tradition often used to illustrate to beginners the most basic syntax of a programming language.
So get to it, dreamers.
A special thanks to Siddhant Puri for sharing his experience straight from Silicon Valley.