Can Anyone Learn to Code?

Can anyone learn how to code? Put simply, yes.

Learning to code is accessible to people of all ages, educational backgrounds, and interests. Not only that, but it can have a positive impact on your career, life, and way of thinking. While there are multiple paths to programming mastery, you don’t need a formal education or to splurge on a coding bootcamp to do it. 

Not convinced? Just ask yourself this: do you know how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

Yes? Then you can learn to code.

Confused?

Read on to discover how programming is profoundly connected to one of America’s favorite snacks. 

Why Anyone Can Code

To discover why anyone—including you—can learn to code, take this classic example used in beginner computer science classes around the nation.

It’s called The PB&J Problem.

If you can work through this problem, you have everything you need to become a coder. 

The Problem

Say you want to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s pretty easy, right? Just take peanut butter, jelly, bread and voila! Your culinary masterpiece is complete. Anyone can accomplish this task with confidence and ease.

But what if you had to tell a computer to make one? In that case, the recipe becomes a little more complex. 

Here’s how novice coders usually respond to this question:

  1. Put peanut butter on one slice of bread.
  2. Put jelly on the other slice of bread.
  3. Slap the slices together.
  4. Give me the sandwich!

While a human (with a reasonable understanding of what a sandwich is) would be able to execute this to perfection, a computer would follow these instructions far too literally—it would place the jar of peanut butter on one slice, the jelly jar on the other, and mush the two slices together, probably smashing the jars in the process. 

So how do you solve this problem?

The Solution

Here’s an improved solution for this culinary computer question:

  1. Select a slice of bread.
  2. Twist the lid of the jelly jar counter-clockwise until open.
  3. Place the lid on the table.
  4. Pick up the knife handle.
  5. Insert the knife into the open jar of jelly.
  6. Take the knife out once it has collected jelly.
  7. Run the jelly-side of the knife across a plain slice of bread.
  8. Repeat steps 1 through 7 for the peanut butter.
  9. Press the slices together so the spreads meet.

Clearly, this set of instructions is far more thorough, boasting almost three times the commands as the first list. Remember, this is only one version of the solution. Many versions would include even more instructions to ensure specificity. 

Think about what else you would tell the computer to improve the accuracy of your sandwich.  

The Takeaway

This problem reflects the profound simplicity behind computational thinking, the foundation of coding. In the end, all it takes to make a PB&J—and therefore, to code—is the following:

  • Increased familiarity of your tools and environment 
  • Iteration on a given problem 
  • Some patience 
  • And in the case of programming, an internet connection

While you might not be able to eat your code, the upside is: Coding is way more fun than making PB&Js.

Take the Leap into Coding

Now that you have the confidence to jump into the world of coding, you may be wondering where in the world to start. To begin, you’ll need to:

  1. Decide why you want to code.
  2. Choose the best coding language (or languages) for you.
  3. Acquire the perfect educational resource.

Step 1: Decide Why You Want to Code

Deciding which coding languages to learn or which projects to take on depends on one, very important factor—you. Here are some reasons you may decide to jump on the programming train:

  • Coding can be a fun hobby.
  • You want to make a career shift.
  • Coding skills will serve you well in your current job. 
  • You want to use coding as a creative outlet.
  • Your company’s website could use a custom revamp.

Whether you have big web development dreams, ambitions to learn programming skills, or want to find the perfect creative past-time, you have plenty of languages from which to choose. 

Can Kids Learn How to Code?

Anyone can learn to code, which means kids can too. In fact, coding is as beneficial for kids to learn as it is for adults (if not more). Here are a few reasons why kids should learn to code:

  • Improves academic performance
  • Fosters creativity
  • Cultivates stronger problem-solving skills
  • Builds confidence and resilience
  • Strengthens written and verbal communication skills

Apart from these reasons, kids should give coding a try because… it’s fun! 

Step 2: Choosing a Coding Language

While the world is your oyster when it comes to coding languages, it helps to choose the right one based on your goals. Here are some matches made in coding heaven.

For serious coders-to-be:

  • If you like mobile apps, use Java for Android, and Swift or C for IOS. 
  • To create stunning websites, form a dream team with JavaScript, CSS, and HTML.
  • For a leg up at your job, a versatile language like JavaScript, might give you the extra boost you need for that big promotion. 

For creatives, hobbyists, and tinkerers:

  • Are you an artist at heart? Programs like Processing, CSS and HTML offer the interactive, visual flair you may be looking for.
  • Do you relate to Belle’s dad from Beauty and the Beast? Easy-to-learn, object-oriented languages like Java are ideal for any tinkerer, especially if you want to integrate your code with an Arduino or Raspberry Pi.
  • For kids, high-level languages that cover the basic concepts of coding are ideal. Ones like HTML, CSS, Processing, or JavaScript are perfect foundational languages because they’re straightforward, and cover all the bases.

Always remember that the first language you learn might not be the best fit. Just keep testing the waters until you find one that truly inspires you.

Step 3: Find The Ideal Educational Resource

You may be overwhelmed with the languages at your disposal and the various skills you need to learn. That’s totally understandable—coding is incredibly complex, after all. In the end, the real question becomes: can anyone learn programming with the right resources

The tools you use are vital for your retention, enjoyment, and success. An Intensive bootcamp and computer science degree can be far too dense and prohibitive, while free online resources often lack the proper curriculum and teaching methodology to keep you engaged.

So which do you use? 

Disney Codeillusion is a comprehensive online program that helps you practice and master the languages you want to learn.

Disney Codeillusion Makes Learning to Code Easy and Fun

Whether you’re an adult learning to code for a major career shift or a kid picking up a new hobby, Disney Codeillusion’s immersive learning environment is perfect for coders of all ages. With this program, you can practice coding in these four, stellar languages:

  • CSS
  • HTML
  • JavaScript
  • Processing

This coding course is unique because it is designed with retention and engagement in mind—each of its 125 lessons are easy-to-follow and cumulative, so that new skills are as digestible and as memorable as possible. 

Users can team up with some of their favorite Disney characters to build skills in three areas: web design, media art, and game development. 

Why It Works

Disney Codeillusion stands out because its curriculum follows a “no-stuck” philosophy—students will never get caught in the frustrating bottleneck of endless error messages and unceasing debugging. 

With the help of their Disney friends, coders will never feel lost or discouraged.

Disney Codeillusion: The Answer to “Can Anyone Learn to Code?”

Whether you are flying on a magic carpet with Aladdin or wielding enchanted snow with Elsa, learning code has never been more fun! Stop asking yourself, “can anyone learn to code?” and start asking, “when can I start?” 

Try out Disney Codeillusion and experience the magic of coding!


Sources: 

Forbes. Anyone Can Learn To Program, But Don’t Do It For The Wrong Reasons. https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/10/13/anyone-can-learn-to-program-but-dont-do-it-for-the-wrong-reasons/#3a9e23dc338d


LifeHacker. The Best Ways to Teach Yourself to Code. https://lifehacker.com/top-10-ways-to-teach-yourself-to-code-1684250889


MIT. Making a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich. http://static.zerorobotics.mit.edu/docs/team-activities/ProgrammingPeanutButterAndJelly.pdf