"I always tell people: learn a programming language that will help you achieve your goals" - Interview with Laurence Bradford, the creator of Learn to Code With Me


Hi Folks! 

Today we present you an amazing interview with Laurence Bradford, the creator of Learn to Code With Me. Have you ever wanted to learn how to code but never knew where to start? This interview will definitely help you! Laurence has shared her knowledge and told us about her experience with coding! We talked  about favorite programming languages and how to start your journey in coding! Dive in! 

[Hakin9 Magazine]: Hello Laurence! Thank you for agreeing for the interview, we are honored! How have you been doing? Can you tell us something about yourself?

laurence-bradford-sq[Laurence Bradford]: Hey! Thanks for having me. I am doing well.

A bit about me: I currently reside right outside of Boston, Massachusetts. I am the creator of Learn to Code With Me - a site for self-taught coders. I am also the Tech Careers Expert at About.com. Overall, I love helping people get paid to use their coding skills.

[H9]: Why did you decide to become a self-taught developer?

[LB]: I studied history in college. Afterwards, I went to teach English in Thailand. My career options were bleak. I didn’t want to dish out another $100,000+ on grad school. And I began keeping a travel blog which introduced me to the web. It was several factors - money, creativity, wanting to travel and make money. Learning how to code seemed like a perfect transition. (It was!)

[H9]: It was a good choice - but was it an easy one? Did you have any doubts?

[LB]: At the time, it was really by only/best option. A few Google searches will show all the job openings for developers in the US. And how it is only going to rise in the coming years. So, it was an easy decision. The only doubt was doubting myself and if I could stick with it.

[H9]: Where the idea of creating the blog LEARN TO CODE WITH ME came from?

[LB]: Initially it was a way to help me stay motivated. I would write about what I was learning. It helped me stay accountable, and on track. Over time, though, it evolved into more than that. Rather than documenting my own journey, I started to take a greater interest in helping others who were just starting to teach themselves how to code. The site continues to evolve; I am excited to see where it heads in 2016!

[H9]: Do you remember the moment when you realized that the website became something more than a learning journal?

[LB]: Yes – in late August 2014. About four months after I started it. However, I really began taking things to the next level in 2015.

[H9]: Why choose coding? Do you think that people need more guidance in this area?

[LB]: Having digital skills (including coding) is very lucrative. These kinds of jobs tend to pay better, and offer more flexibility. To me, it’s a no brainer. Even if you don’t want to become a web developer/software engineer, having coding skills can make you a more attractive job candidate. In business, marketing, customer service, and so on. So choosing it is easy. Learning it is not. It can be really frustrating. Especially for people who are transitioning into it. So, those who don’t hold a degree in CS. (Like me!) It’s like...a whole new world. So yes - I think people who are unfamiliar with technology and want to make their way in, do need some more guidance.

[H9]: Let’s say that I want start to learn how to code, where should I begin my training?

[LB]: I usually tell most people to start with HTML and CSS. You can see it right in your web browser with a few clicks. (Inspect element and view page source.) You can see the changes instantly - it’s very rewarding. As far as where to start learning, there are so many awesome places to learn online and offline. I usually recommend Codecademy, Free Code Camp, and GA Dash because they’re free. When you’re brand new, there is no reason to spend money. (Now...as you progress, I think investing in books and paid courses is important. Because the material is more in-depth.)

[H9]: What is your favorite programming language and why this one? Or maybe you have more than one?

[LB]: I always tell people: learn a programming language that will help you achieve your goals. For me and my goals, all I really need to know is HTML, CSS (I use Sass), some jQuery, and PHP. (PHP because I use WordPress to power the learntocodewith.me blog.) These aren’t my favorite things necessarily – but they’re what I need to work towards my goals.

As far as “favorite”—like I found it enjoyable to work with—I suppose Python. While it’s not technically a programming language, I really, really, really like Sass. Moving from CSS to Sass was a game-changer.

[H9]: What is the most difficult thing to learn in coding?

[LB]: I think this really depends on the person. For me, I find hardware side of things mind-boggling. I took an Arduino class once and wanted to cry in frustration! However for other people, they are a natural with hardware. They like to hook things up - literally build with their hands. However, maybe for them designing a website is challenging. Again - I think it depends on the person!

[H9]: What is the question you get asked most often when it comes to learning coding?

[LB]: “What should I learn?”, “Where should I learn?”, and “Where should I learn next?” Are probably the three most common. (Or some variation of one of the above.)

[H9]: Your community at LEARN TO CODE WITH ME is amazing! Do you receive a lot of feedback from people? Do their comments and suggestions influence you and your blog?

[LB]: Oh thank you! That means a lot. Yes - definitely. One of the best places to see the community is in my Facebook group - Newbie Coder Warehouse. (Yes, I decided to go with another name for the group, because I felt like “Learn to Code With Me” was too “me”. And I wanted to make it more about the community). Aside from that, emails I get from people are really important. They shape a lot of the content on the site and beyond. (Guest posts, products, oh my!).

[H9]: I found an information that you are planning to launch your first podcast episode in late April. Can you tell us something about this project?

[LB]: Yes - the Learn to Code With Me Podcast will be tentatively launching on April 26th. (As long as the iTunes approval process doesn’t hit any hiccups - it usually takes 24 to 72 hours to get approved.) The podcast is going to be in seasons - like a TV show. And the first season is going to be called “From Code to Cash”.

I am interviewing different people about the ways they make money through coding. There’s also going to be a handful of episodes that focus more on money-making tactics. Like, how to ace your upcoming technical interview. And how to network your way to better opportunities.

[H9]: So the podcast will be specifically aimed at teaching coders how to market themselves and their skills better, is that right? Do you think that there is a need for improvement here?

[LB]: The podcast doesn’t only cover how to market yourself. That’s one component of it. But it also sheds light on the different kinds of careers out there for people with coding skills. And a few episodes focus specifically on starting your own business, and how to go about that. (From the perspective of people who know how to code.)

As far as marketing skills go, I think it’s something that a lot of beginners struggle with. Especially those transitioning careers, and coming from an industry that’s not tech-related. Many are unsure what they should include on their resume/portfolio, not confident in their abilities, fear the technical interview, and so on.

Plain and simple: the goal of the podcast is to better equip self-taught coders with the confidence and knowledge that can help them land a new career in tech.

[H9]: Any plans for future? Are you planning to expand your blog into something else?

[LB]: While I love thinking about the future, I generally only plan a few months out in advance. Around the time the podcast launches, I am going to be releasing a free portfolio course. It’s like a taster of my more comprehensive program, Portfolio Dojo. (Which will be launching soon after that.) Later this year I plan on putting together another online program. Details are not finalized yet, but it will most likely related to getting a new career in tech.

[H9]: Do you have any thoughts or experiences you would like to share with our audience? Any good advice?

[LB]: I guess the best thing I could say, that applies to anyone and everyone, is to take action. You can read all books, articles, etc. you want. (Or listen to podcasts!) But they won’t really get you anywhere. Taking action will. Even if you “fail” at whatever it is you’re trying to do (build a startup, learn to code, start a podcast, etc.) you’ll learn more from the process of actually doing than from reading another book!

[H9]: Thank you!


LEARN TO CODE WITH ME is a blog dedicated to help other beginners start out strong. You will find there many useful information that will help you improve your programming skills.  Join this amazing community and learn how to code with me! 

Wake up, it's 2016! Having a web presence matters. What's the best way to start building yours? A portfolio website -  Free Portfolio Course

Learn to Code With Me Podcast - Website or visit iTunes 






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Hakin9 is a monthly magazine dedicated to hacking and cybersecurity. In every edition, we try to focus on different approaches to show various techniques - defensive and offensive. This knowledge will help you understand how most popular attacks are performed and how to protect your data from them. Our tutorials, case studies and online courses will prepare you for the upcoming, potential threats in the cyber security world. We collaborate with many individuals and universities and public institutions, but also with companies such as Xento Systems, CATO Networks, EY, CIPHER Intelligence LAB, redBorder, TSG, and others.
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