August 4, 2016 by Ed Kennedy
If you’re reading this chances are pretty good you’ve got the basics of coding down. If you’ve not yet written even one line of code all OK! – maybe go have a quick read of Part 1 then come back – while we wait for those readers catching up let’s get a coding joke on the books;
Question: How do you tell an introverted computer scientist from an extroverted computer scientist?
Answer: An extroverted computer scientist looks at your shoes when he talks to you.
Well, oftentimes it’s said ‘once you know these three languages you can do some web design and seek out work’ – whether in a temporary capacity or full time – as a front end developer. The variety of these roles, the requirements of your bosses/clients and other factors vary in each job.
At its core though, whatever work you do the infrastructure you use to do it will be important. This is especially so as you seek to keep your knowledge and skills sharp throughout, and avoid a Brando-esque On The Waterfront lament ‘I coulda been a contender’ #CodeDontRegret
Just as many employers may bring you into an agency and say ‘OK we use this software to code our sites’ so too will many more (especially if you are freelancing) be fine with you using what software you like to use – so you need to know what code editors work best for you.
Just the same as it’s very fortunate you will not be in short supply when it comes to the variety of coding editors available, so too can the sheer range and differences between all the programmes that you write code in quickly feel overwhelming to a new programmer. So, let’s look at a couple of good options for you and the merits they have for a new beginner.
Further, it is handy on mobile – for while you may not be set to code up a whole new and full design via smartphone – if meeting a client for a coffee and trying to provide a quick explainer of the different elements of a front end design, a 2 minute write up in JSBin can be your essential tool for to assist in the ‘ah, now I get it!’ moment.
Brackets is a great starter program for a coder who seeks to start working on their desktop. Free to download, and easy to use – with a helpful explainer even included ‘inside the box’ to get you rolling if coding for a first time on a desktop editor – a chief draw in particular for brackets is the virtue of its live preview feature.
Atom is the heavy-level programming. It is desktop-based, and the sort of software you use when really getting deep into a project that requires extensive writing of code. While Brackets is a solid and serviceable program – and very good and intuitive one at that – it is by and large the domain of front end web design. Nonetheless, even back end languages like PHP find some use on the front end via their deployment for coding WordPress websites – so having an editor on hand that can serve you well when writing backend code is essential.
Practice before the curtain goes up (and then after)
The great thing about learning to code and a career in the field is with the immense diversity of methods for learning, practising, and ‘selling’ your craft (getting hired, doing jobs for clients, and so on) provides you the opportunity to by and large often use the software and setup that suits you. Just the same, it is also a field with perpetual and ongoing innovations, changes, and updates.
While these changes are not exclusive to programming – we are in the era of disruption and startup after all – the speed and 24-hour operation of online shall always outpace the rapidity of change seen by an otherwise agile and dynamic local or regional brick and mortar business. Accordingly, seeking to stay atop so you don’t get shocked by something new and uncertain is sage.
Accordingly, just as the above represent a strong starting point, as your skills, understanding, and particular preferences for a code editor grow, so too can you easily find an editor and setup for coding that feels to like a custom fit should these 3 here not hit the mark for you in the first.
Once this is done the next step is taking the show ‘on the road’ and beginning to showcase your portfolio online. See how in Part 3.
Good luck and happy coding!
Ed Kennedy is a journalist and ghostwriter from Melbourne, Australia. Contact Ed via firstname.lastname@example.org on Skype or LinkedIn.