You're maybe a parent, or teacher or someone who wants to upgrade their skills and knowledge so you can do more online - but the choices of what to learn, and how and where to learn it can seem utterly bewildering. In this little guide, we aim to give you some clear steers for your decisions.
First up then, the most important question:
1. WHY DO YOU WANT TO CODE?
Do you want to:
1.Create a website
2.Make an ebook
3.Have a You Tube channel
4.Make a newsletter
5.Do a podcast
6.Make an app
7.Build a game
Coding can help you most specifically with 1), 6) and 7) though it may not be vital. At the end of this guide we list resources to make websites and apps, without writing code.
Everything you make will be easier to create though, if you have some familiarity with how code functions.
You may want to learn to code for the hell of it, as a mental exercise, to give you a better understanding of what the web - and your kids possibly - are about. A lot of people learn some coding skills when they have a project they want to build online, and in our experience having a clear content goal, something you want to communicate about with the world, can make learning much easier.
Digital skills can make you more employable too. A Tech City report in February 2015 put South Wales in a Top 5 Cluster for growth and average company turnover, with talent in relatively short supply.
2. WHAT IS EASY CODE TO LEARN?
You can read more about this here: http://www.quora.com/Which-programming-languages-are-front-end-and-which-ones-are-back-end
The front end builders create the equivalent of the shop front of website - the back enders do the storeroom. Perhaps a more accurate metaphor is that of a hotel, where everything that the customer experiences on the surface is front end, whereas the laundry room, kitchen, housekeeping and utility management take place in the back end.
For those of us who view ourselves as 'non-techie' front end coding will be easier to learn and has almost instant gratification, in that you can see the results of what you build, very quickly.
3. HOW TO LEARN
You'll save yourself grief learning to code if you ask yourself the following questions:
1) Which percentage of these do I like doing most when I learn? Feel, do, watch, think?
2) Am I happiest copying when I learn? Stopping and working things out? Do I like social aspects of learning? Do books, videos or chat help me most?
3) Am I a mostly a 'why?' learner, a 'how-to' learner or a 'single idea' learner?
Why learners need reasons, and underlying principles, which you're unlikely to get in a class where you code along with the teacher for much of the time, at a fast pace. You're likely to benefit from a slower paced, pootleing about type of learning, possibly over a longer period of time.
How To learners cope with this type of learning much better - they often pick up coding quickly because they learn easily by rote.
Single idea learners benefit from metaphors to help with their learning: for example that HTML is like the structure of a building and CSS like the decoration of that structure.
4. WHERE TO LEARN IN WALES
Cardiff University Evening Classes ( 11 meetings £422 at the time of writing) http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn/choices/computer-studies/web-publishing-and-authoring/
Cardiff, Chapter: ( 10 meetings £200 at the time of writing) Ffotogallery http://www.ffotogallery.org/creative-web-design-1
Cardiff Start http://cardiffstart.com/ (and thanks for contributions here from this group)
Swansea Start http://swanseastart.com/
Swansea Hackspace http://swansea.hackspace.org.uk/
Caerphilly: Welsh ICE http://www.welshice.org/news/767-digital-business-academy.html
Cardiff Tech Talk http://www.meetup.com/Cardiff-Tech-Talk/
Cardiff Unified Diff: http://www.meetup.com/unified-diff/
Swansea Software Development Community: http://www.meetup.com/Swansea-Software-Development-Community/
Swansea Tech Talk: http://www.meetup.com/Swansea-Tech-Talk/
Code Club https://www.codeclub.org.uk/communities-and-events
Coder Dojo Carmarthen https://zen.coderdojo.com/dojo/771
Coder Dojo Cardiff https://zen.coderdojo.com/dojo/619
Collaborate Ed: http://collaborated.org.uk/
5. WHERE TO LEARN ONLINE
Code Academy http://www.codecademy.com/ (free)
Tree House http://teamtreehouse.com/
Women's Coding Collective http://thewc.co/
W3 Schools http://www.w3schools.com/
https://webflow.com/ (thanks to Jaymie Thomas http://www.payzip.co.uk/ for this tip)
DIY APPS AND GAMES
http://gamesalad.com/ ( games)
https://bubble.is/learnmore (websites and apps)
http://fivesimplesteps.com/ (Welsh!!!) More stories