Learning to code may seem daunting, but here are five companies revolutionizing the process...
By Yash Kumar (CEO and Co-Founder, Runnable)
It should be obvious to anyone in today’s business world that programming has become one of the most sought after skills in the market. Almost every business is using programmers in some form or fashion, whether that’s to develop an API, integrate another company’s API into their own software, or build and manage a company website. And the number of programmers is continuing to grow dramatically to meet this new business need – by our own estimate there are around 25 million coders today, which is a number likely to double by the end of the decade.
With all the evidence pointing towards a pressing need for programming skills in the workplace, there are, and will continue to be, an increasing plethora of courses on coding and ways for programmers to improve their skills. Learning to code is no easy feat, but with the right mindset and work ethic the benefits of coding become apparent quickly.
Here are five companies that can help you take your programming to the next level:
Before you can be an expert at anything, you need to know the basics. This is where Codeacademy comes in – a fantastic organization that teaches you the basics of coding and how to make API calls. The beauty of the site is that it caters to so many different ages and skill levels, and helps build and nurture a passion for code. The introductory levels of Codeacademy are perfect for those who have never coded before in their lives, and the more advanced levels are quite useful to help experienced coders hone their skills. Codeacademy is also a great tool for learning new languages once you have mastered the basics.
What differentiates Codeacadamy from other “learn to code” sites and programs is that rather than reading or watching videos about how to code, Codeacademy throws you into the fire immediately, teaching you to write your lines of code right off the bat. The process helps you learn as you go, and allows you to have a simple, fun and to the point way of learning how to code. It’s a great way for anyone to dive headfirst into what will be one of the most important skills of our generation.
Once you’ve gotten the basics of coding down, naturally you’re going to have questions. This is where Stack Overflow comes in – Stack Overflow is an online Q&A community where developers crowdsource answers to their programming questions. Ran into a problem with CSS? HTML? HTML5? Chances are, Stack Overflow has the solution. Since launching in 2008 the site has built up a formidable wealth of data, so virtually any common question is searchable on the database.
Stack Overflow not only offers the space for developers to crowdsource information, it also has created a system that translates these interactions into valuable rewards (in the form of points) that measure programmers’ skills for future employers.
Beyond programming it includes 110 Q&A sites on topics from IT security to cooking, bicycling, and even Battlestar Galactica. Currently ranked the 59th site in the world by Alexa, it’s clear that the programming world is hungry for solutions that will make their lives easier and help them develop better products.
It’s no surprise that the app landscape is exploding. With over 600 new apps per day on the App Store alone, there’s a lot to be said for taking an app idea to market quickly. Firebase’s cloud-based service powers real-time, collaborative app building, providing, and managing the back-end servers – allowing programmers to focus on client-side coding.
Its goal is to fundamentally shift the way development happens, by essentially undercutting the need for a server to even exist. Developers are clearly receptive to this idea - in the first week after its launch, the Y Combinator alum saw a staggering 4,000 developer sign-ups.
As you progress as a developer and become more and more comfortable, you can really begin to do more fun things within your projects. Twilio powers in-app communication, with it’s simple, cloud-powered API. In just a few lines of code, the Twilio API allows developers to build apps that are able to make and receive phone calls, as well as send and receive text messages. With the emergence of Twilio, you don’t even need a telephone to make calls anymore - one line of code directs callers to the appropriate person or department all over the world.
I would also humbly suggest that our company Runnable, which we launched in October 2013, is a great resource to help developers work quickly and build great products – regardless of skill level. Runnable is a platform for code discovery, that lets developers search for and discover different types of code, test that code right in the browser, and then copy and paste it directly into their own projects. This saves developers from wasting hours, even days searching through code libraries and testing code, only to find a bug and have to start all over again.
In the same way that YouTube brought together the fragmented world of online video, Runnable is doing the same with code – bringing it all to one central location that’s easy to find, quickly test, and then implement. We’re constantly adding more languages and adding features to better help our community, and are on a mission to empower developers across the globe to build great products, quickly.
About the guest blogger: Yash Kumar is the CEO and co-founder of Runnable. As graduates of AngelPad with investments from Sierra Ventures, Resolute.vc, and 500 Startups, Runnable is helping developers of all skill levels quit wasting time and get to work. Follow them on Twitter at @GetRunnable.