As our world becomes more dependent on technology to accomplish daily tasks, coding is growing in popularity as a skill for high school students to learn. The good news is, there are plenty of resources available for them to learn on their own in relatively affordable ways.
Coding is a tremendously marketable skill that improves the way you think and can be applied to exciting careers in a wide range of industries.
Internships in coding can be challenging to find, but learning from current professionals can help build relationships and give you knowledge that will last a lifetime. Below, you’ll find several methods to help you learn to code and enhance your skills to ensure your internship application won’t be ignored.
Books and Online Resources
There are several books available for beginners who want to learn how to code. Which books you want to invest in may depend on what programming language you learn first, but many coders learn more than one throughout their careers. Books offer a good foundation in coding regardless of your preferred language and can be good points of reference even as you become more experienced.
- The Self-Taught Programmer by Cory Althoff: Written by a fellow self-taught programmer, this book describes how the author went from a complete beginner to a professional programmer. He shares tips on landing a job and how to avoid burnout when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- Cracking the Coding Interview: 189 Programming Questions and Solutions by Gayle Laakmann McDowell: Although this book is technically meant to be a guide for job interviews, it is a great resource for understanding how to understand and solve common coding problems. The author has completed coding interviews at companies like Apple and Google, so she can offer helpful advice on the subject.
- Code Simplicity: The Fundamentals of Software by Max Kanat-Alexander:The author of this book posits that the best code is the simplest code. He offers efficient coding principles that can support software development in any programming language.
- Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction, 2nd Edition by Steve McConnell: This book is known specifically for its approachable and clear writing style. It covers basic coding concepts and also touches on the important principles of testing and debugging as well.
- Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software by Erich Gamma et al: This book was written in 1994, but don’t let that stop you from giving it a read. It is regarded as one of the best programming books out there and highlights 23 different design patterns to create reusable and flexible code.
There are also plenty of online resources available to help you learn how to code for free. On these websites, students can learn to create simple projects independently or with friends. You can create simple games such as Tic-Tac-Toe or Rock-Paper-Scissors. Working on these small projects will also help you create a portfolio of examples to show off your coding skills, should you choose to pursue a career in the industry. You might also want to check out the USA Computing Olympiad once you’ve got your skills nailed down. This competition is held multiple times a year and there is no limit to the number of times you can enter, so take advantage of the additional practice. If you’re curious about what the competition is like, you can check out some problems from past USACO competitions.
Learn Coding in NextGen’s Summer Classes
If learning to code as a high schooler appeals to you, look into NextGen Bootcamp’s Coding classes for high school students. NextGen Bootcamp offers in-person coding courses at its Manhattan location as well as live online coding classes that can be attended remotely from the comfort of home. Completion of these classes is an impressive way to boost your resume and give you a solid foundation to start your career.
NextGen offers a wide range of courses to help students enhance their coding skills. These include courses in Java, Python/data science, and web design. All of these courses are around 50 hours long and designed with the beginning coder in mind. At NextGen, you’ll enjoy small class sizes so you can benefit from more individualized instruction. They also have free course retakes available for up to one year after the original course which ensures that students can solidify the concepts and practice as much as they need.
Coding Career Paths
Careers in coding are growing in demand as our virtual world continues to expand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that web development jobs will grow by approximately 8% over the next ten years; for comparison, the average growth rate for other occupations is closer to 4%. Coding careers vary widely depending on the industry, but below you’ll find a few of the more common careers that you can pursue with these skills. As a bonus, most of these jobs offer average annual salaries between around $60,000 and $100,000.
A lot of coders work in web development. Front end developers deal with aspects of a website that users interact with, such as buttons, menus, and images. Back end developers focus on how the website functions rather than how it looks. They are responsible for configuring servers and managing databases. There are also full stack developers, who are skilled in both ends of the development process.
Learning to code can also prepare you for a career as a data scientist, though this takes a lot more time and schooling. Their primary responsibility is to assess large amounts of data and look for patterns. These patterns then help inform business decisions and improve operations to gain more customers. Data science is also one of the most lucrative jobs for coders: their salaries typically reach the $100,000 mark or higher, depending on experience and education.