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Coding: a Practical Guide


Coding: a Practical Guide

Computer coding is mentioned a lot these days as a key digital skill and it is a great way to make computers do what you need them to do and create new and exciting things on them. In this guide, we look at what coding is, how you get started doing it, and how to learn to code in a variety of coding languages, with resources, exercises, and suggestions for taking your knowledge further.


This guide is designed so you can either read through the pages and learn about everything, or choose specific content to look at. Wherever you find the pencil icon you'll find exercise materials to put your skills in practice.

What actually is 'coding'?

Robots image from Eric Krull on Unsplash.

Computer coding, also known as computer programming, is giving a computer instructions to tell it what to do.

These instructions are written in a coding 'language', which has grammar and syntax just as other kinds of languages do.

Your code, written in a particular language, is then converted into binary (ones and zeroes), which is the only way a computer can understand the instructions.

Choose your own coding adventure

Need a route through this practical guide?

Use this map to decide the best content for you to work through.

Not sure what coding is?

Start with the Introduction to coding page and work through the rest of the guide.

Need to decide which language to learn?

Hop over to the Coding languages page to get some pointers on how to choose.

Know some coding but need help?

Try the Troubleshooting your code page for hints on solving problems.

Stuck with designing your program?

Take a look at the Designing for users page to get tips and resources on how to design with all your users in mind.

Know which language you'd like to learn?

Here's our list of which coding languages we have resources for...

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