Getting a Coding Job: Using Blogs and Books to Learn How to Code

By Nikhil Abraham

Teaching yourself how to code is the first step toward getting a coding job. Traditionally, a self‐learner used blog posts to dip a toe into a topic, and books to dive deeper into a programming language. Blogs highlight inspirational stories that document people’s journeys, and books serve as valuable reference tools. The following are some favorite blogs and books in each subject area:

  • Front‐end and back‐end development:

    • blog.jenniferdewalt.com: An artist by trade, Jennifer Dewalt learned to code by building a different website every day for 180 days, writing a blog post about it, and posting the code publicly on GitHub. On day 52, she created an Etch a Sketch program; on day 97 she created a text‐to‐Braille converter.

      Jennifer Dewalt on day 180 after building her 180th website.

      Jennifer Dewalt on day 180 after building her 180th website.
    • joshuakemp.blogspot.com: Joshua Kemp, a blacksmith, seriously injured his hand while shoeing a horse. He decided to learn to code, and wrote about going from a blacksmith to a developer.

    • HTML and CSS by John Duckett: For front‐end developers, this full‐color book is the number‐one programming book on Amazon and a good introduction to what you can do with HTML and CSS.

    • learncodethehardway.org: Zed Shaw has written two books for back‐end developers titled Learn Ruby the Hard Way and Learn Python the Hard Way. Both, which are freely available online, provide instructions and real coding examples aimed at beginners.

  • Mobile development:

    • app.itize.us: Half the challenge when creating a mobile app is cramming the functionality you need into a small mobile screen. Visit this site for a curated selection of the best‐designed apps.

    • twotoasters.com/blogs/ideas: TwoToasters creates mobile apps for some of the largest brands in the country. They maintain an iOS and Android blog on industry news and programming tidbits.

    • The Swift Programming Language by Apple, Inc.: Apple recently released a new programming language, and new and experienced developers alike are learning how to use it. This free book, which can be downloaded from iTunes, is long but a good place to start.

  • Data analytics:

    • Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte: Finding great insights is most powerful when you can communicate them effectively. This classic book has no code but shows the different ways data can be graphically displayed.

    • Python for Data Analysis by Wes McKinney: Data analysis always starts with cleaning, merging, and transforming your underlying data. This book shows you Python techniques to whip your data into shape so you can analyze it.

    • IBM Big Data Hub: IBM’s blog has consistent coverage of big data trends, industry news, and the latest technologies.

  • Search engine optimization:

    • Moz: This blog is the best place to go to start your SEO education. You’ll learn all the factors that influence search rankings.

    • cutroni.com: To track and measure the effectiveness of any SEO campaign, you need an analytics tool such as Google Analytics. Google’s Analytics Advocate blogs about cohort analysis, user identifiers, and other analytics‐specific topics.

    • The Art of SEO by Enge et al: The authors have been doing SEO work for decades and provide general advice along with specific suggestions for updates made to search engine algorithms.