So You Want to Learn to Code…

Madison Kanna

A few years ago I wanted to learn to code, but I had no idea how to get started.

Today I work as an engineer on the Publisher Engineering team here at Mediavine. A question I hear often is the one I was asking myself: Where to start?

When I first began, my only coding experience thus far was tweaking things on my WordPress blog. I realized that I could edit the CSS on my WordPress theme, and began experimenting. I knew I wanted to learn more, but wasn’t sure what to learn next.

There’s a vast amount of free coding resources on the internet, so deciding on what to choose can seem overwhelming for a beginner.

Let’s go over some of the essentials of web development and some of the best resources for getting started with coding.

So You Want to Learn to Code…


HTML

Most people with any interest in coding have probably played around with HTML at some point. HTML blocks are the building blocks of the internet. HTML is at the core of every web page and provides the basic structures of our sites.

HTML is a fantastic starting point for anyone who wants to learn web development.

Here are a few great (and free) resources for learning HTML:

Resources for Learning HTML

HTML is a fantastic starting point for anyone who wants to learn web development. Here are a few great (and free) resources for learning HTML.


CSS

If your site was a house, you could picture HTML as its fundamental building blocks. HTML could be the walls, roof or furniture. CSS on the other hand is the styling of your site. If an HTML element is a wall, then CSS is the color of the wall.

Resources for Learning CSS

Here’s some resources on getting started with learning CSS.


JavaScript

JavaScript is a programming language for the web that you’ve probably heard of. If we go back to our metaphor of imagining your site as a house, then JavaScript is the interactive part of your house. While HTML could be your garage door and CSS could be the color or size of that door, JavaScript would be the functionality that allows the garage door to move on command from a remote.

Resources for Learning Javascript

Here are some great resources for getting started with Javascript.


Altogether, HTML, CSS and JavaScript make up what is called front-end web development. Front-end web development is also known as client-side development. There are many fields within front-end development or ones that go hand-in-hand with it, such as UX (user experience) design or UI (user interface) development. Here at Mediavine, we have a specific team devoted entirely to UI development.

While “the frontend” of a site is commonly described as the part of the web you can see and interact with, the backend of a site usually makes up things that a site’s user cannot see, such as your site’s database and server.

There are many backend (or server side) languages to learn from. One of them is PHP.

PHP

PHP is a commonly used server-side language. WordPress is written using PHP and you may have seen it if you’ve looked at the theme of your WordPress site. While most WordPress users don’t need to know PHP to have a WordPress site, knowing PHP can help you understand more of how your site works. With PHP you can develop WordPress plugins and create WordPress themes, as well as create any kind of site or app you want.

Here’s a couple of resources for getting started with PHP and WordPress. These are resources that have been helpful to many developers here at Mediavine.

Resources for Learning PHP

Here’s a couple of resources for getting started with PHP and WordPress. These are resources that have been helpful to many developers here at Mediavine.

One of the ways that Mediavine developers like to learn beyond taking tutorials is by building. If you have an idea for a site or app you are excited about, start building it and Google as you go.

Coding can seem daunting, but anyone can learn to code with practice and in time.