Many people have realized the importance of learning how to code as a life skill. No matter where you go, and what job you have, it’s always seen as in a positive light if you know how to work some code, even if that’s not your profession. As this importance increases ever more, there are plenty of new initiatives to get kids to learn code in school. While it’s great to see them, you can take control of your coding education by taking some steps on your own.
The best – and probably most surprising part – is that it doesn’t have to be a boring ordeal. Don’t believe me? Check out these five different ways you can learn to code.
Minecraft – the number one cross-platform indie game – is played by seemingly everyone. Even if you don’t play yourself, I’m sure you have a good number of friends who do. Minecraft is extremely extensible with lots of different mods, which gives rise to packages such as Tekkit. There is actually one mod which is included with Tekkit, called ComputerCraft, which adds an entire coding element to the game.
Once you’ve crafted a computer from the necessary items, you can begin to code on it using the easy Lua language to build automatic miners, send messages between computers within Minecraft, and so much more. While it doesn’t build any “traditional” programs or web applications, it’s still very much coding that can teach people the concepts that they can extend to other types of applications.
However, this is probably the funniest way of doing it while keeping it extremely simple. For help on coding with ComputerCraft, check out their website.
Rebeca is a 3D programming environment which is based off Alice. This tool is fantastic because 3D graphics programming is already a hard concept as it is, so having a tool which simplifies everything to something that can be used for educational purposes is a great thing.
One of the primary benefits of Rebeca over Alice is the fact that it’s been internationalized so it’s easier to translate it into different languages. Currently, Spanish is available in addition to English.
A programming language designed specifically to help people learn concepts of 3D objects could also be a way to go. 3DPL offers a simple, straightforward way to manipulate code and see the results. While this programming language shouldn’t be used for actual projects, it’s still a great educational tool which shows the workings in a simpler form.
The site surrounding 3DPL offers multiple tutorials on how to do cool things with it, so it’s also worth checking out if you’re interested in 3D programming.
If you want to mess around with something closer to actual programming, you may wish to take a look at desktop scripting. While these scripts usually don’t use common programming languages such as C/C++, they do let you do actual work on your computer rather than just “playing around”. You usually don’t need any extra tools for scripts besides your preferred text editor.
Windows users can create .bat scripts, Mac users can create AppleScript files, and Linux can create bash (.sh) scripts. There’s a large number of applications for which these can be used. Some examples include bulk file renaming or other bulk operations, searching for specific files, and much more.
If you’d rather leave the computer on which you do your work alone, then you may be interested in getting a Raspberry Pi for your code learning adventures. The device is only the size of a credit card, yet has enough power to run some low-resource games and only costs $35 for the higher-end model.
The Raspberry Pi runs a full ARM-based Linux distribution (which you get to pick as you’ll need to prepare an SD card to use with it), so you have plenty of options at your disposal, including traditional programming languages such as C/C++, scripting such as Bash, and other languages which make use of the Pi’s custom ports that work with custom hardware. Therefore, so much flexibility may be worth dropping a relatively small amount of money.
Hopefully these 5 unique ways of learning code will help you get started and motivated to sticking with it. Like I said earlier, it doesn’t need to be boring code that does very miniscule things — it can be exciting and used in many different applications that are highly popular. No matter if you’re just a kid or an adult looking at learning some skills, there’s no better time than now to get started!
Do you want to learn to code? If you already have, what is your preferred method of teaching others? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credit: Internet background with binary code via Shutterstock