Category Archives: Code

Learn Coding From Scratch

I often hear people complain: Computer science grads can’t code anything from scratch. As in, here’s a blank screen. Can you build something?

Is this a common complaint? I don’t know. But today I found this golden nugget in my inbox:

Myself, I’m very familiar with technology, but not programming specifically. I can understand what’s happening on a site by viewing the page source, but I can’t write code from scratch.

I won’t call out that person, but I assume there are more people like him.

In the Myspace days, I taught millions of people how to write basic HTML codes. Thanks to Facebook, that part of my business is gone, but many of these people are developers today because they had so much fun customizing Myspace. More recently, I’ve noticed everybody and their uncle is starting a coding bootcamp or coding school. Have you noticed that too?

Will these bootcamps teach you to code something from scratch? Probably not.

It’s a conflict of interests. Big companies financing these bootcamps, they need developers to hit the ground running. They want you to code within their existing architecture, that’s how they stay in business. You’re not there to think outside the box. You’re there to fall in line. You must indent your code a certain way, name your variables a certain way, whatever they tell you. They’re running a business.

When you code something from scratch, you have the freedom to make all those decisions yourself, your way.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-corporation and we need people to maintain all this existing software. Building something unique “from scratch” isn’t a skill you need to find a job. But it is a skill you need to do a startup, on your own or as a technical cofounder. If you want to code the next big thing, you’re starting from scratch, from a blank screen. I’d say it’s a lost art.

Here’s a great quote from Noah Glass, the creator of Twitter:

Originally, it was all running on my laptop on my desk. An IBM Thinkpad. Using a Verizon wireless card. It was right there on my desk. I could just pick it up and take it anywhere in the world. That was a really fun time.

How would you like to learn to code something from scratch, like Twitter! I’ll give you the absolute basics, at the level a child could understand. No frameworks, no version control, just the basic concepts.

Understanding a few key concepts, you will have the confidence to build anything in any language. When you hold that 1000-page software developer guide at the bookstore, let me tell you: 99.9% of that book is information you will never need. The publisher just wanted more pages from the author to sell the book for a higher price!

Continue on to Part 2 of Learn Coding From Scratch!

Learn to code software out of thin air, from scratch!