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The programming guide I wish I had when I started learning to code

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What is a Coding Essential?

Just the thought of learning to code can be intimidating. The word code is mysterious by definition. It implies a technical form of communication that computers – not humans – are meant to understand.

One way many people start learning to code is by picking a popular programming language and jumping in head first with no direction. This could take the form of an online coding course, a tutorial project, or a random book purchase on a specific topic.

Rarely do prospective developers start with a roadmap – a bird's eye view of the coding world that outlines a set of relevant programming concepts, languages, and tools that almost 100% of developers use every day.

In this book, I propose such a roadmap by discussing 14 coding essentialseach being a programming concept, language, or tool – that I believe is critical to at least know exists at the start of your coding journey.

Who is this book for?

  • New developers that are excited and/or intimidated by the idea of learning to code
  • Intermediate developers who want to fill in the gaps
  • Professionals of any age considering a career change into technology and software development
  • Non-technical career employees who interface with developers and want to enhance their knowledge
  • Kids who are interested in computers and programming
  • Anyone who wants to learn coding but doesn't know where to start


Familiarize Yourself with Computer Architecture and Data Basics
Learn How Programming Languages Work
Understand How the Internet Works
Practice Some Command-Line Basics
Build Up Your Text Editor Skills with Vim
Take-up Some HTML
Tackle Some CSS
Start Programming with JavaScript
Continue Programming with Python
Further Your Knowledge with Java
Track Your Code using Git
Store Data Using Databases and SQL
Read About Web Frameworks and MVC
Play with Package Managers


"A down-to-earth guidebook that pieces together common concepts and coding languages to help the reader understand what is doing on behind the scenes. The book does a great job of laying the groundwork and building out from there, instead of throwing the reader into the deep end and using confusing industry jargon. I only wish I had read this book when I was first starting out, as it would have most certainly helped me wrap my head around how all these tools, principles, and languages play important, yet distinct, roles in data management and computer science." -Stuart K.
"I enjoyed reading your book about the dev things you wish you learned when you started. As a mid level developed who also struggled early on learning random topics without a larger context in mind I think you did a great job presenting a logical learning path for new devs. I also learned a few things about python and its relations to Java and JavaScript." -Paul G.
"Thanks again for your books and content. I really appreciate your first-principles approach. I'm transitioning from Biology to CS (mid-career pivot), and your Intro-CS book was super helpful." -Jerry C.

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