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So you have a million dollar idea that you want to turn into a reality, but you’re not sure how to get your foot in the door. While it is not strictly necessary for startup business owners or entrepreneurs to know coding to launch an MVP, the fact remains that programming is an extremely helpful skill for anyone.
Coding is a valuable asset for entrepreneurs in many ways; perhaps one of the most important reasons is that marketing has become more technical than before, and knowing code helps you best market your business and products. What’s great is that you can design your own learning program for coding to suit your specific preferences, needs and learning styles.
Trust me, there’s truly nothing standing in your way, so here are five ways to start learning to code and finally launch your MVP.
5 Ways to Finally Start Learning to Code and Launch Your MVP
1. Choose a Programming Language
You know programming languages abound, but you don’t need to lose extensive time researching your options. Instead, you can choose one of the two following approaches or a combination of both:
- Approach One: Take this multiple-choice quiz, which will delve into why you want to learn to code. In less than a minute, you’ll find out the best programming language for you, depending on your needs.For example, if you choose the startup option, your next question will be about your area of focus and platforms. If you’re an entrepreneur who wants to focus on creating an Android apps, then you should learn Java. It’s a fun quiz, so definitely try it out!
- Approach Two: Read this article for an overview of which programming languages a beginner in 2016 might want to learn. It even talks about what language startups tend to prefer.
2. Warm up With Some Basics
Websites such as Codeacademy and Codecombat help you warm up with the basics. You can learn to build a website with Codeacademy, or you can decide whether you want to dive into specific technologies like Ruby on Rails, SQL, AngularJS, Java, Git or more. Codecombat takes a bit of a different approach by helping you learn through games (cause who doesn’t like games, right?). They help you better retain material and provide real-time feedback to sharpen your skills. For a few other ways to warm-up, check out this article.
3. Read a Book or Take an Online Course
It is no mystery that everyone has different learning preferences and learning styles. By now, you probably know what works well for you, whether it is to read a book and/or take an online video course. If your usual method no longer works, then why not experiment with other methods to find something that helps you succeed. This blog post has a few handy tips for learning how to code from a book; it also discusses how to avoid typos and why reading the entire book from cover to cover is critical.
Be sure to tailor your learning to your MVP idea as closely as possible — for example, you can read books on coding kids’ iPad apps — and create a timeline to ensure you keep progressing.
In most cases, you are better off starting small and building simple things with code. Learn by doing with beginner-friendly projects, and read other people’s code to get an idea of what they have done well and what they could improve on. You can also learn from screencasts that other coders have developed. Join communities, ask questions and take a page from an athlete’s playbook; just as athletes improve when they compete against folks better than them, you can improve via coding challenges and battles with more experienced coders.
5. Get a Mentor
The quickest and most effective way to build an MVP is to enlist the help of an experienced coding mentor who will teach you best practices and guide you. For women and minorities, this has been an extremely important way to conquer many of the potential challenges that they may face. With the right mentor, success may be just around the corner.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to others and ask for advice. If you don’t personally know someone who can mentor you, you can try looking for one in online communities such as Reddit, StackOverflow,and IRC, or even dedicated platforms such as Codementor. When meeting with a mentor, be sure to ask questions and try to understand his or her rationale in order to get the most out of your time.
Having a great idea is really just the beginning of a long but exciting journey. Once you start learning to code and begin seeing your MVP come to life, the more motivated you’ll become to improve it and make it a big hit.