The 5 coding skills that everyone can acquire on their own

Have you ever thought about becoming a software developer? Our guest author gives you tips on what to learn first and where to find the best free resources.


Most recently, according to the Bitkom digital association, 124,000 IT specialists were sought in Germany alone – most of them programmers. This number is impressive in itself, but in the current crisis it is even more important: More people than usual are currently thinking about a career change – whether voluntarily or by necessity. Perhaps you have been wondering for a long time whether software development could be the right thing for you.

In this case, the important question is, what are the top five coding skills to familiarize yourself with when considering whether to learn to code? Where and how can you get into this complex topic without overwhelming yourself?

The good news is: There are extremely many helpful resources on the Internet that allow you to take a few first steps towards coding free of charge and without obligation. So that you don’t lose track, you will find five recommendations below. You can outsourcing work through them in this order, but you don’t have to.

1. Getting started doesn’t have to be difficult – the basics with HTML, CSS and JavaScript

At the beginning you usually ask yourself the question: “There are countless programming languages ​​- where should I start?” In general, you should make sure that the first language is easily accessible and has a large community. In addition, of course, it is important to consider what you want to do with the language. With the “triad” of HTML, CSS and JavaScript one is seldom completely wrong. This is because no one programming for the web can ignore these three languages. This free course from Duke University is highly recommended because it covers some very basic programming concepts as well as the three languages ​​mentioned.

2. Be creative and have fun – with JavaScript

After that, it might make sense to dig a little deeper into JavaScript. But above all, it’s about the following: Have fun! Find out what you can do with your new knowledge and how you can use it creatively. A tip: In this short tutorial you will learn how to program your first game with JavaScript – even a very first foray into artificial intelligence is included.

3. Think Like a Developer – Ruby and Ruby on Rails

Ruby shouldn’t be missing on this list. There are several reasons for this: Firstly, Ruby is extremely user-friendly – especially if you use the language in the Ruby on Rails development environment. The language is designed to make the life of its users easier and is both easy to read and write. When you learn Ruby, you also learn to think and solve problems the way software developers need to do in their day-to-day work. Second, Ruby is unbeatable when it comes to prototyping websites or apps as quickly as possible. Therefore, the language is the first choice for entrepreneurs who want to build an MVP quickly. Many well-known and innovative companies use Ruby and offer interesting jobs for developers who speak this language. To name a few: Airbnb, Groupon, Couchsurfing, Shopify.

The ten-hour Ruby introductory course from Codeacademy is highly recommended (this also covers some of the basics of programming, so if you are a complete novice you could also start with this course). In addition, there are very helpful application tips for Ruby on Rails from the great organization Rails Girls – a community of female Rails users who have decided to pass on their knowledge.

4. Is data the new oil? Then you need python to build the refinery

Of course, it could also be that you are already sure that the path should lead in the direction of data science. In this case, you should definitely focus on Python, because this language specializes in evaluating large amounts of data, efficiently using statistical methods and ultimately receiving specific recommendations for your company or organization. Data scientists are also being sought more and more frequently and urgently in the job market. The extensive Python track from Dataquest, which consists of several modules, is highly recommended.

5. Last, but definitely not least – UX design

Last but not least, you should deal with a coding skill that is often far too neglected: As a budding developer, you should deal with the basics of user experience design (UX) as early as possible. After all, who of us likes badly usable or unsightly websites or apps? This course, which is offered by Accenture on, is very entertaining. It lasts three weeks, but only takes two hours per week and teaches the basics of UX design as well as the necessary tools and everything you need to know about testing.

Ultimately, there are many ways in which you can become a software developer. But one thing is certain: as soon as you have acquired the first knowledge and skills, you have to do one thing above all: code, code, code. You can only develop further if you constantly apply your knowledge to new problems and challenges. The good thing about it is: That’s when it is also the most fun!

Richard O’Grady comes from London and came to Berlin a few years ago – originally to learn programming himself. He has been part of Le Wagon Germany for two years and today, as Country Manager, controls the expansion of the company’s coding boot camps.

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