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Can i learn to code?
7 points by alexilio79 on April 5, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 8 comments
I am 34 and i have a business administration background. Is is difficult to pick up coding at that age ? I am taking CS50 online classes at Harvard in order to pick up some coding. But i have a full time job which i cant quit for the next 1-2 years, thus i can only devote up to 1 hour/day for coding. Is it doable ?

Anyone can pick up coding at any age. Don't let anyone tell you different.

There are several elements of being a programmer that aren't necessarily well captured when people talk about learning to code.

Of course you need the syntax of your chosen programming language. But you need to learn how to think in some very specific ways. You have to break down problems into small steps, reuse previously written code, understand logic, understand how to look for a problem when your code breaks, etc.

An example is... Given a list of numbers, determine which is smallest. It's easiest to figure this question out once you understand variables, loops, and conditionals, and if you start with 1 number, then add a second, and a third, etc.

Good luck. Try to use free time, (commute perhaps) to think about programming if you can, in addition to the hour a day.

Sure, it's doable. This class on learning to program starts in a couple weeks. https://www.coursera.org/course/interactivepython. They estimated 7-9hrs/week but as it is free there is no risk.

It's doable, and CS50 is a great place to start. You'll know whether or not you're cut out for it once you get to the more difficult homework assignments. Don't give up just because you can't solve them immediately though, it will probably take some Googling since on-campus students have access to TAs and classmates for help when they get stuck.

Learning by doing is usually the best way to get the material to stick though. If you can work on your own side projects or apply what you've learned at work, that might help you progress a lot faster.

I took and just completed the edx CS50x course. I have a bit of a CS background but am quite rusty, and I was able to stay well ahead of the suggested schedule with only 2 hours a week. 1 hour a day/5-10 hours a week should give you more than enough time to watch all the lectures, sections, shorts and walkthroughs, and do the psets and background reading within 2-3 months I'd guess.

This should give you a fairly good foundation in the basic concepts of programming, while creating some pretty cool stuff in the psets and for the final project.

5hours/week is better than 1hour/week. Depends on the language you're learning. Python or javascript should make things easy for your life.

I took up programming at age 33. I spent a lot more than an hour a week on it to begin with--I couldn't have survived the classes if I hadn't. I agree with shire on both points. Start with an interpreted language; I'd say start with Python, since it has a REPL.

Anything is difficult to pick up when you're just starting out. The important thing is to not give up. Too many people just stick what they're already good at as they grow older.

I recommend http://learnpythonthehardway.org/.

Guys thank you very much for your comments, it is very encouraging that all of you have the same positive opinion on code-learning. I will definitely keep up with CS50 classes. Thank you for your feedback/ support.Alex

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