When you’re first learning how to swim, you start in the shallow waters. When you’re first learning how to code, you start with simpler coding languages.
Sounds straightforward, right?
Unfortunately, programming courses and classes are not often set-up for success. In fact, online coding courses have a completion rate of less than 10%. Some reasons for this go beyond the actual structure of the education, but by meeting new learners where they are, programs can ensure being “out of their depth” is not one of them.
So, what is the easiest coding language to learn? There’s actually two, and you can learn them simultaneously.
The Beginner’s Dream Duo: HTML and CSS
If you are just starting to look into coding for beginners, practicing HTML and CSS is a great way to begin your coding journey—whether you’re using them as a stepping stone to lower-level languages (closer to computer language than human language) or as a jumpstart on your programming career. Before we go into why HTML and CSS are the easiest to learn and why they’re so valuable to learn in tandem, let’s explain what each language is.
- Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) – HTML is the most widely used programming language for building websites, web pages, and web-based applications. It’s a simple, yet powerful tool for new and advanced coders to create the layout and underlying structure of anything web-based.
- Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) – CSS is to HTML as jelly is to peanut butter. CSS is a popular language that builds on top of HTML to stylize and create an aesthetic out of the basic layout. Where there’s HTML, there’s almost certainly CSS right beside it making the final product pretty.
To understand the yin-yang duality of these languages, you can think of them as one part function (HTML), and one part form (CSS). HTML builds the skeleton, while CSS fleshes it out.
What Makes HTML and CSS Great for Beginners?
Between the two, the first programming language that is easiest to learn for beginners usually depends on whether you’re more of a structural builder or a designer. The truth is, they’re both necessary—you never find one without the other. You may enjoy one aspect more than the other, but you can more or less think of them as one language.
The reason these languages are great for beginners are:
- They teach new coders to be detail-oriented
- Your progress is instantly reflected in new skills
- They’re great to have on your resume
- They offer insight into more advanced techniques, like layering multiple languages
- These languages are supported by every browser, making them easy to practice
Here’s something you may find beautiful about code—coding relies on meticulous precision. And no other language is as meticulous as HTML and CSS when it comes to spelling. One misplaced vowel or consonant can send your entire two-hundred pages of code to error signs.
To spin this in a positive light—learning to be detail-oriented and meticulous early on in your career will greatly benefit you as you graduate into new coding heights. Which means, as you’re developing your skills, you can think of every missed typo or error as another opportunity to increase your focus and improve.
This focused approach also applies to the physical layout of the code. As you move from a single coder working on fun art projects, to figuring out what coding language most games use, to eventually working towards building websites and developing complex algorithms, organization is key. Often, what separates a professional coder from an amateur isn’t their ability to make the computer operate a certain way. It’s that they can achieve this result with the least amount of code in the simplest fashion.
You want your code to be laid out such that another program can step in and understand your thought process just by reading from top to bottom.
When Spelling Isn’t Everything
It’s important to note, there are many times when spelling errors won’t break code. Within HTML and CSS specifically, you’ll learn how to name a variable (<var>) to be used later. If you wanted to name your variable “Flavor” for your e-commerce salsa store, and accidentally misspelled it as “Flaovr,” this wouldn’t break your code.
To a computer “Flavor” isn’t anymore significant than “Flaovr,” it’s just a slightly different string of 1s and 0s.
Although to us humans, there is a difference.
However, every time you wanted to call upon that variable, you would need to use the improper spelling “Flaovr.”
This type of mislabeling or misspelling can sometimes be so entrenched in the foundational code that companies will have known Easter Eggs—where certain pieces of their code require an index to understand.
Obviously, it’s more efficient to just be detail-oriented from the beginning.
Progress is Reflected
With more complex languages, like C# or C++, you may find yourself untangling code theory for hours to make something work—yet, you might not be sure whether you learned anything. Of course, all practice is good practice, but as a beginner, learning these more complex, low-level languages can be disheartening.
Contrasting that with the HTML and CSS combo, when you learn something you can instantly see your progress because you physically manipulate websites and web pages with whatever skill you just learned.
This offers a form of creative freedom. Learn something once and you can instantly change the way you think of developing.
Are you learning how to program for a career change (or a first career)?
Here are some facts to consider:
- 36% of small businesses don’t have a website, according to Small Business Trend.
- Over 600,000 businesses are created each year, according to Small Business Chronicle.
What does that mean for you? There will always be a continuous stream of businesses who need a website and will pay money to get one!
Programming is interesting in this capacity. Programming is part art and part science—and website building is a beautiful mixture of the two. Yet, with any artform, you need years of honing the craft before you’ll make money from it, and with any field of science, you need to go through a phD program before you’re really hirable.
With coding, however, as long as you nail down the basics…
...you can enter the job market and apply your website-building skills successfully.
Learning How Languages Interact
HTML and CSS go together like string to balloons, but they’re not the only coding duo.
As a programmer, you’ll rarely be using just one language. You might be building a framework with one, accessing multiple different libraries, using various types of coding languages to build components on top, and compiling this all together at the end. This is especially true when you’re building something that works across multiple types of devices.
When it comes to efficient programming, every language has its function and purpose. To use a language outside of its function is to be wasteful with code.
Looking specifically at HTML and CSS—what might take you twenty lines of code to program a certain design on the font in HTML can be done with one quick line in CSS. Remember:
- HTML is the bones, the skeleton, the structure, the framework.
- CSS is the rest of the body, the paint job, the design.
By understanding this concept from the onset of your coding journey, you will bypass headaches later on.
HTML and CSS are Supported Across Browsers
In your coding career, you will face problems that may feel like multi-headed hydras.
What’s one problem in particular? Device universality.
There are so many devices and web browsers to consider when you’re building a mobile app, a web application, or even a multi-platform video game.
As a developer, you want to ensure that these run smoothly and effectively across all the different platforms that host your code—yet this could mean slightly different rulesets and code changes depending on the interface.
For example: Website code needs to adjust to match multiple screen sizes. This blog will change size depending on if you’re reading it on a large desktop computer or a small phone screen. Either way, the experience doesn’t change.
Thankfully, when it comes to HTML and CSS, these are supported across all browsers, so this problem doesn’t greatly affect your work.
Other Languages That Are Good For Beginners
Once you’ve gotten the hang of HTML and CSS, there are a few other languages that you can add to your repertoire that will boost your coding knowledge and open up the world of programming. Those languages include, but aren’t limited to:
- Ruby & Ruby on Rails
How to Easily Practice HTML and CSS
If you’re ready to commence your coding tutelage, it’s helpful to have the right tools. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, online coding courses and classes will often throw new coders into the deep end, preventing them from the enjoyable experience needed to learn.
Disney Codeillusion takes a role-playing game (RPG) approach to coding practice, blending entertainment with education. It’s perfect for all ages, from young kids who want to develop applicable skills to adults looking for a career change.
With Disney Codeillusion, you follow some of your favorite Disney characters through 125 lessons that average 30 minutes per lesson.
Through various courses and code learning games, you’ll learn four primary coding languages:
...and apply them across various real-world projects, including website design, game development, and media art.
Experience coding magic, with the expert (and fun) instruction of Disney Codeillusion. Try a free trial of Disney Codeillusion today!
Small Business Chronicle. Information on Small Business Startups. https://smallbusiness.chron.com/information-small-business-startups-2491.html
Small Business Trends. The Hidden Mystery Behind Why 36% of Small Businesses STILL Don’t Have a Website. https://smallbiztrends.com/2019/05/easy-website-maker.html