Learning To Code Is Important
After three of my Start Ups failed, I realized what I had to do to make it. I needed to learn how to code.
It's too hard to get a technical co-founder to see your vision and join you, because they're working for a Company making good money.
Or they're working on their own start up.
So you're either left to spend a lot of money on a prototype or code it yourself.
I've done the whole spend lots of money on building your prototype thing and it sucked.
Because you can't pivot fast enough, and your money goes down the drain.
When you learn to code, you can pump out features fast, launch quickly, save almost all of your money and if you're successful, convince awesome developers to work with you.
Passion and Dilligence is the Key
When I decided to learn how to code, I was hell bent on figuring things out. I wanted to learn everything.
I spent hours, all day and sometimes all night. I knew it wasn't for some class or for fun – this was for my dreams and goals. Nothing was going to hold me back. That was the secret to why I learned so quickly.
If you recognize this kind of passion in yourself, then you can learn to code too. I don't have an Ivy League degree, I don't have much money, but what I do have is an extreme work ethic and the vision to change things for the better.
I started with PHP
I decided to learn PHP, because of the following reasons:
- PHP is the easiest one to learn.
- It's not restrictive to being Object Oriented, so it doesn't take much learning to get started.
- Two of my friends knew PHP so I knew I could go to them for questions. I ended up getting good advice from them on architecture and how to approach certain programming problems.
- I had a book on PHP.
- WordPress uses PHP.
What I did to Learn
I first started with the video tutorials on Lynda.com, and reading a PHP book simultaneously, however I felt they both didn't explain complicated things well and were slow, so I started using PHPacademy.org, which helped me tremendously.
I also coupled that with doing all the exercises at PHPexercises.com.
I was also constantly going to php.net to look up functions and read the comments on each page. I still do that to this day.
One of the most frustrating things about PHP is the error notification. The line that PHP tells you, is usually not where the error is at.
Don't worry though, somehow you'll get used to this and figure all your errors out quickly. I never thought I'd be able to debug things quickly, but I managed to, and if I can, then you can too.
If you don't have a PHP book on hand, these are great places to go to: http://devzone.zend.com/6/php-101-php-for-the-absolute-beginner/ and http://net.tutsplus.com/tutorials/php/20-ways-to-save-kittens-and-learn-php/.
Make Magic Happen With MySQL
PHP is pretty useless unless you know how to work with a database. I learned MySQL, because it came with WAMP, the package I used to install PHP on my computer, and I was accustomed to using phpMyAdmin which works with MySQL.
Working with databases seemed a bit daunting at first, but after I realized it's pretty much Excel for the internet, it became easier.
This is a great site to learn the nuisances of SQL: http://www.1keydata.com/sql/sqlin.html.
I got help from Stackoverflow.com and phpfreaks.com, but sometimes no one could help me. Not my friends, no one on a forum and I was stuck to figure things out by myself, which was good, because it made me a better coder in the end.
The most important part that led me to become a coder is the goal I had. That goal was to build INRtracker.com. It drove me to push myself.
InrTracker is my newest start up and it cost me less than 60 bucks to launch the alpha product. Not bad considering that it was about 150 times less expensive to launch than my past startups. I spent some money on the domain name and some pre made PHP scripts from codecanyon.net.
Use Pre Made Code
If you can use pre made code – then go for it as long as the documentation is good and the author of the code is communicating with all of his customers' questions. I say this, because I guarantee things will break and you'll have a hard time fixing them without the help of the code's author.
Never let anyone or anything stop you. Go code and make your minimum viability product for your start up. It's the only way to truly influence your startup's path.