How to write code in 6 steps (tips and career opportunities)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Coding is an exciting field that presents rewarding opportunities for people willing to learn. Writing code is the process of writing computer programmes to help in performing various tasks. Learning how to write code can help you determine if a career path in a computer-related field is great for you. In this article, we explore the steps you can use to write code, give you tips for writing code and look at various career opportunities for professionals who enjoy coding.

Related: IT skills: definitions and examples

How to write code

Learning how to write code depends on what you wish to achieve with this skill. There are several paths you can use to learn to code. Here are some steps to get you started:

1. Determine why you want to learn how to code

Before you start learning any coding, work out why you're interested in coding and what you hope to accomplish by gaining these skills. Evaluate how much time and resources you may invest in learning how to code. The reason for learning code can help determine the programming languages to learn.

It can also help you determine the path to take to learn to code. For example, if you want to pursue a programming career, invest lots of time and resources and require enrolling in a course. If coding is something you want to do in your free time, you can consider using free resources to learn, such as watching online videos.

2. Choose a language

There are many types of coding languages used for various programming projects. If you want to code, consider choosing a coding language to start with. Whichever language you choose to learn can provide you with fundamental coding basics, such as programming logic and commands, making learning other languages easy. If you want to code websites, you may consider languages such as JavaScript, HTML or CSS. You may learn Python if you're interested in creating artificial intelligence or design analysis programmes. Consider researching to know which language can help you achieve your goals.

Related: FAQ: What is JavaScript?

3. Choose the right resources

Once you know the coding language you want to learn, you can now find the right resources to help you learn. There are various available options, which depend on your reasons for learning and the language you choose. If you hope to pursue a career in computer programming-related jobs, you may want to pursue a degree in computer science or computer programming.

If you prefer learning in the comfort of your home, you can enrol in online courses or take private lessons. You may also use books if you enjoy teaching yourself. Most code reference books have conventions and syntax of a language, giving you a place to refer when you're unsure of something. Watching online how-to videos may also help you learn easily. The effectiveness of the resources you choose may depend on the time you invest and your learning style.

4. Download an editor

Though most online courses allow you to write code in your browser directly, most jobs require that you write code into a code editor. You may use simple text editors at the basic levels since the programming languages are often in plain text. In most cases, programming languages have downloadable code editors tailored to that specific language, so consider downloading it to practice before you join a professional job. The best editing programme depends on the language you learn and the budget you have.

5. Start practising

Once you have the basic knowledge of writing code, you can start practising creating your own projects and programmes. Practising is one of the best ways to learn to code. It allows you to learn from your mistakes. You can start by picking a project you think you can complete, such as creating a database function or designing a website. The type of projects you choose may depend on the language you use. You can use online videos that explain how to complete tasks using the languages you've learnt and then move to complete complex projects.

6. Continue learning

The computer industry is an evolving field, with new techniques and programmes being invented regularly. To remain informed and competitive, consider looking for ways to continue improving your skills. You can keep learning new things by attending programming forums to share ideas with other professionals in your field and know what's happening in your industry. Subscribing to magazines with information on computer programmes may also help you learn of emerging trends in your field. You can join an online community to interact with people who share your passion for coding, allowing you to ask questions and share ideas.

Tips for writing code

Here are some tips to help you write better code:

Start simple

Coding can be a complex skill to learn, but with time, it can be very rewarding. You can start with simple languages and projects suited for beginners. With time and dedication, you can become a master of writing code, allowing you to get numerous work opportunities.

Be persistent

When writing code, you may face certain bugs and glitches that can threaten the functionality of your code. In most cases, the best way to fix these issues is to keep trying different methods until one works. It might be frustrating at first, but it can be exciting to identify and solve problems with time. Consider being persistent in the task to help you know how to solve similar situations in the future.

Choose a project that interests you

Coding might not be easy to learn if you're not engaged or passionate about it. Consider finding projects that interest you to keep you motivated, even when the coding process is challenging. You can choose a passion project that you can work on from home.

Related: How to answer 'what are you passionate about?' in an interview

Use a simple code

As you write a code, consider focusing on maintainability and readability. A good code requires being short and easy to read. Create a code that you can read even after a few months of not using it. Consider maintaining the same indentation and style throughout the code. You may break the code into small logical units.

Study other people's codes

Consider finding other people's code and studying it. Learn what the code means and how it works. You may change or improve it and share it with other programmers and ask for their comments. Asking for feedback may help you know what to improve and also what you're good at.

Be patient

Coding is a great skill that takes practice and time to master. For example, designing a website or creating video games may require investing a lot of time and energy. Patience can allow you to master creating complex projects and with time you can become invaluable to your clients or employer.

Find a mentor

As you grow in your career, you may require someone to guide you. Having a mentor who has experience writing code can help you know who to ask for assistance when you get stuck. You may also request your mentor to check some of your projects and give you constructive criticism.

Career opportunities for professionals who enjoy coding

If you'd like to pursue a career that involves coding, here are some of the career opportunities to consider, along with their salaries:

1. Computer engineer

National average salary: £26,102 per year

Primary duties: Computer engineers integrate computer science and electrical engineering. They may use coding to develop new technologies, build devices and design computer networks. They may also monitor the functioning of operating systems and make adjustments to correct or improve specifications.

Related: How to become an IT engineer (with practical steps and career info)

2. Computer programming

National average salary: £30,461 per year

Primary duties: Computer programmers write and test codes used to create various computer programmes and applications. They may update existing code to create better programmes or check for errors. They may also use designs from software engineers and developers to create workable code.

3. Web developer

National average salary: £33,740 per year

Primary duties: Web developers use computer programming languages to create websites. They spend most of their time writing code and testing new applications. They also specialise in front-end and back-end development. These professionals may work alongside other departments and IT professionals to troubleshoot and maintain company websites.

4. Database administrator

National average salary: £39,462 per year

Primary duties: Database administrators store and organise company information, such as customer shipping records and financial information. They may use coding to encrypt data to protect it from unauthorised users.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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