What is Coding? Part I: Understanding the Basics

By: Fullstack Staff
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This is the first of a two-part introductory series on coding. Today we’ll review the basics of programming, including data types, variables, functions, and more. Next week, we’ll look at what it’s like to be a professional programmer.

Learning the fundamentals of a programming language is the first place any aspiring developer should start because those concepts are transferable to any programming language—and essential to all of them, software developer Vinicius Brasil says.

Whatever programming language you decide to learn, there will be an awful lot of new terminology and concepts to digest. This can all get a bit overwhelming if you aren’t already familiar with the basics of how computer science works in general, says developer Mikke Goes. “After learning Computer Science basics, you’ll have a solid understanding about what computers can do for you,” Goes writes. “You’ll also learn coding a lot faster, since you’ll already be familiar with most of the technical terminology you hear when you’re learning programming.”

This last point is essential. At the end of the day, you probably aren’t going to learn just one programming language during your entire career. Odds are, you’re going to have to learn several, one after the other.

Adam Wulf, founder of Milestone Made, believes changing tech stacks is inevitable. “Right now, I’m of the mind that you should plan to learn essentially brand new technology stacks every ~4 years,” he writes. That means your career will depend on your ability to learn new languages quickly, which is facilitated by a solid understanding of programming’s underlying concepts.

Why Learning the Basics of Programming Is Important

Corey has a holistic viewpoint of Fullstack, in that he’s been on both the receiving and giving ends of our education model—and contributed greatly on both sides. For example, even before working here, Corey spent time during his job search to help construct the Bootcamp Prep Course we use today.

When he told us that he’d accepted a job at Wenner Media, the parent company for publications like Rolling Stone and US Weekly, we were sad to see him go, but excited to see what he’d accomplish in his new role. However, when a need for a part-time evening instructor at Fullstack arose, Corey was at the top of our list. We reached out and asked if he’d be able to juggle his full-time gig with some instructor duties. He said yes, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Once back in the saddle, Corey realized that he’d missed teaching—he had been a tutor throughout school and lived for that “Ah-ha!” moment of seeing things really click for a student. He wanted more of that, more of the time, and so he left Wenner Media to teach full-time here at Fullstack, eventually becoming a Senior Instructor at our NYC campus. Hooray!

Now that you understand the basic concepts of coding, why not start learning your first programming language? Take the first step on your journey by enrolling in Fullstack Academy’s JavaScript 101 course, where you’ll gain a foundational understanding of JavaScript and even build your first app.

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