Nzangi Muimi

How I Started Learning Coding as a Complete Beginner

Learning to code is one of the most challenging yet fulfilling things I have ever done in my life. As a beginner, I started at an advanced age because I did not have access to computers when I was young. I lived in a remote village that did not have access to electricity, not to mention computers.

Writing is a skill I developed in school. It became a way for me to express my ideas, think, and gain clarity with my thoughts. When I was looking for a way to share my ideas online, I discovered blogs and websites. First, I signed up for a account and started my first blog. I used to share musings from my life and a lot of poems, which I plan to publish in this blog too.

However, I was limited in how many customisations I could make on that blog. While looking for a solution online, I discovered that I could make my website, which would give me total control over the look and feel of the blog. So, the next step was to learn the languages of the web to create my website.

There were so many resources online. I read other people’s blogs, watched their YouTube video tutorials, picked up a programming book, and got a bunch of other beginner help.

I need web hosting and a domain name to have my website online. So, I bought those from a local company then. However, later, as my website traffic scaled up, I had to move to a faster and more efficient web server, which led me to migrate to Hostinger (which I use even now).

How has my learning journey been? I break down the experience with every platform that I have tried as follows:

1. YouTube

YouTube is a great platform for learning almost anything. There are over 114 million active YouTube channels in the world as of the time of writing this post. Over 2.5 billion active monthly users are served content by these channels.

I am also a creator on the platform, with a small channel that I am currently growing. So, this was an easy place for me to look for solutions.

I landed on many great tutorials and awesome teachers on the platform. Soon, I started hopping from one tutorial to another. I watched HTML, CSS and JavaScript for beginners, then went on to Python for beginners, then Ruby and Ruby on Rails.

I couldn’t seem to organise myself and decide on what to watch next. Although I didn’t make so much progress forward, it served as my background research to see what’s all about coding and programming and the possibilities that lay there.

Also, it helped me get an introduction to many aspects of programming, such as the languages that are there, what they are meant for and other important basic knowledge that I didn’t have (given that I come from a construction background, not information technology or computer science-related).

However, along the way, I came across YouTubers who promised to teach me how to build a full website in less than one week from scratch, step-by-step, without touching a single line of code. I was hooked. I wanted to have a nice-looking, functional website as fast as I could. This introduced me to and drag-and-drop website builders.

I dived all in. So, I learned to build WordPress websites and my blog was up. I went back to writing.

But along the way, I needed to make more customizations to my blog and I was limited by the capabilities of the page builders, plugins and themes I was using. So, for complete freedom, everything pointed me back to coding. I wanted and valued freedom so that was the right path to follow.

This time I wanted a structured way of learning that kept me focused on one path, so I picked up this book from a friend.

2. Book: Build Your Own Website the Right Way Using HTML & CSS

This book was written by the legendary author Ian Lloyd who had been building websites since the 1990s and was an active web standards evangelist during the time of the first browser wars.

Build Your Website The Right Way Using HTML and CSS” is currently in its 3rd edition. In this book, Ian uses a project-based learning and teaching approach to teach beginners how to start their front-end development journey by understanding the basics of markup and stylesheet languages.

He starts by showing you where to get the tools and resources you need for the job. Then it teaches you the basics of HTML (hypertext markup language), CSS (cascading stylesheet), and a bit of jQuery (JavaScript). In his lessons, he embeds best practices, teaches image manipulation and editing, and a bit of web accessibility essentials.

I read every instruction in the book and practised the exercise. In the end, I built my first web project in HTML and CSS.

But this was just an introduction. I wanted to go all in and learn intermediate and advanced skills. I wanted to understand the backend and databases. So, as I looked for a better resource, I discovered “The Odin Project.”

3. The Odin Project: Coding for Beginners

This was a game-changer!

The Odin Project is a high-quality coding curriculum maintained by an open-source community. Developers have come together and curated an awesome collection of the best resources that they wish they had when they were learning programming. So, you are getting the best education from real-life developers who understand what it takes to become a software engineer.

It is funded by the community of users. You get access to the content for free, but you should consider donating to support its development and maintenance.

To begin with, here you get to learn both the frontend and backend technologies for web and software development. I started with the foundations course, which teaches what tools and installations you need to get started. I also learned more HTML, CSS and JavaScript and got to build projects from scratch.

The Odin Project Landing Page
A screenshot of the Odin Project Home Page. Source:

Currently, I am building the last project in the foundations course before I move on to the next learning path. It has been an awesome, challenging learning step, and I love The Odin Project.

As I progress, I am planning to enrol in the Full-stack Ruby on Rails path. This will give me exposure to intermediate and advanced HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, as well as coverage of the popular React framework.

Also, backend technologies will be covered. I think Ruby is a great match for me as it is an object-oriented programming language. Its similarities with Python kind of interest me, as I would like to learn Python and PHP (hypertext preprocessor) after completing The Odin Project.

Also, The Odin Project has a very active Discord community with members willing to review your code and help when you get stuck.

It gives me the confidence to have a supportive community at every step of my learning.


This is how I am learning coding as a beginner without a computer science background. I hope this story inspires all of you who might be on the same path of learning and making technology part of your everyday life.

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