Update! This entire blueprint is now available as a six month online course! Make 2020 the year you Learn to Code and Land that Job.
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I had a reader contact me recently with a question about the best path to take in learning to code. The reader is in his 30’s (like I was), has kids (like I did), and has a desire to learn to code and get a job in six months. The question went like this:

“I am writing to ask if you could advise me on the quickest way to get the experience needed to apply for a job?”

So I decided to create a step by step blueprint to provide a practical outline for those wishing to learn to code and get a job in six months. The focus will be on getting the experience needed in order to apply for that job. 

As to age, it doesn’t matter if you are 20, 30, or 60, the same basic principles apply. If you are young, you are off to a great start. If you are a little older, you bring more “life” experience to the table. 

Table of Contents

Introducing the Learn To Code Blueprint
COURSE!

Enrollments have just opened!. Make 2019 the year you Learn to Code and Land that Job! Reserve your spot! More Info 2019

Learn To Code and Get a Job In Six Months: A Step-by-Step Blueprint

**READ FIRST

There are FOUR THINGS that I am requiring you to commit to before pursuing this highly rewarding journey:

  1. Wholeheartedly commit to this. If you are the slightest bit uncertain as to whether you really want to do this, don’t. Come back when you are ready. 
  2. Second, do everything you can to not get sidetracked with ALL of the options and sites and courses out there. They basically all teach you the same things. Don’t stray from the path or get caught up in the distractions….but keep your eyes forward. Prioritize learning the concepts not getting caught up in all the options. 
  3. Third, you will have to purchase a couple months of memberships at the mentioned site(s). It’s about $25 or $30 a month and if you are serious about this it is a highly affordable and worthy investment. I will mention the free trials below. 
  4. Finally, really take the time to nail down the fundamentals. This is something I wish I would have done and would have saved me much time. This blueprint may start slow, but getting these core concepts down will allow you to advance much, much quicker in your coding journey. 

There are three resources that I will be using for this course. When you begin, sign up here:

Free Trial Signups
Lynda.com – 30-day Free Trial —>
Sign up here
Treehouse – 7 day free trial —>
Sign up here
Udemy – Search Google for the latest coupons. You should not pay more than $15 for a course, ever.
Skillshare – Not used in the course below, but here is a link for TWO MONTHS FREE where you can find lots of supplemental courses.

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Lynda.com is not, I just think very highly of the courses there.

Introducing the Learn To Code Blueprint
COURSE!

Enrollments have just opened!. Make 2019 the year you Learn to Code and Land that Job! Reserve your spot!

More Info

2019

So lets look at the blueprint as to how you can learn to code and get a job in six months.

MONTH 1 – The Basics

Week 1 – Programming Basics / HTML

Please do not skip over this course. Learning the basics of programming, the logic, and the terms will help you so, so, so much going forward. Get this nailed down from the outset and it will prepare you greatly to learn to code faster. 

So week one, take this course:

Programming Foundations: Fundamentals by Simon Allardice at Lynda.com

Week 2 – HTML Essential Training

Now everyone has to start with HTML. It’s the bedrock of websites. And it is a great way to get used to writing code. It IS the beginning and you should take it serious. 

Our course for this is going to be the wonderful HTML Essential Training by James Williamson, also on Lynda.com.

It’s a rock solid course that will give you a wonderful understanding of HTML. It will also get you started with a text editor (Brackets), so get started!!

Week 3 – CSS Essential Training 1

Now that you have learned HTML, you need to style it! 

For this you need to take CSS Essential Training 1 by Christina Truong, on Lynda.com.

This will provide you with a solid foundation for CSS.

Week 4 – Learning Git and Github / (Optional VS Code Editor)

You must learn Git (a version control system) and GitHub (an online hub to host your project repositories and can be maintained with Git). 

If you are looking to get a job in Web Development, and your goal is to learn to code and get a job in six month, you must at least be comfortable with this, so don’t skip it. 

The course for this, to introduce you to both, is Learning Git and Github by Ray Villalobos, on Lynda.com. From this point on, you will push all of your projects up to GitHub to begin building a portfolio, and to get used to committing and pushing your work and changes up to GitHub. 

In addition, I would urge you to take this short course on what happens to be my favorite code editor, VS Code. 

The reason I suggest it is that it has, inside of the editor itself, a terminal as well as the Git versioning system. So you can add, commit, etc. AND push up to Github all within the editor. 

I have found that to be absolutely valuable and is a huge productivity tool for me. 

The course I will recommend for this is: 

Visual Studio Code for Web Developers by Joe Marini, on Lynda.com.

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes

MONTH 2 – CSS / Personal Development

Week 1 – Your Website

Now is the time. This is a critical step and thus you need to take the whole week to get it set up and ready. The good news is that you are now able to make style and element changes to it (HTML/CSS). Its a great place to “experiment.”

Now here is my warning to you: Make your site a self-hosted WordPress site. Don’t try to do it with Ruby, or Jekyll, or something like Django. This will only steer you off course and waste you time. 

When I was at this stage I started a Jekyll site, because I thought it would prove that I was a “real” developer….not those WordPress bloggers.

Bad move. 

I wasted so, so much time learning how to use it.

You see, the purpose of this site is to establish some sort of authority in the field, to share what you are learning with others, to write about your trials, to provide accountability in your pursuit, and to network!

Also, this will be a hub to display your knowledge and market yourself to prospective employers when the time comes. 

So look, do it with WordPress. Not WordPress.com, but WordPress.org. 

Create content…don’t get bogged down in the technical aspects of your own site at this point. Try to write at least one blog post a week and share it on social media.

Don’t waste time with this. 

In fact, to speed things up, I have written step-by-step instructions on how to get your self-hosted WordPress website set up in just 20 minutes, and as low as $3.95 a month plus $15-ish for your domain. 

Be wise in choosing your domain.

Don’t skip this step. Here are the instructions:

How To Start A WordPress Blog On Siteground In 20 Minutes

Week 2 – CSS Essential Training 2

Now that you’ve nailed down HTML, some basic CSS, and started your very own website to build your platform, you need to go a little further with the CSS.

Don’t slack with CSS. You can make a lucrative career on CSS alone, so learn it well. 

For this week, we need to take CSS Essential Training 2 by Christina Truong. on Lynda.com.

This will dive into more advanced but essential concepts of CSS like floats, pseudo-classes, media queries, and even takes you into the browser debugging tools, an essential skill. 

Week 3 – CSS Essential Training 3

Another CSS class?? Are you kidding me??

I’m not. As I mentioned before, you can make a good living on CSS alone. 

Day in and and day out much of what I do for web agencies is custom CSS or CSS adjustments.  

Push through this and you will be unstoppable in this field. 

This final course is short but powerful. It deals with the CSS Grid and Flexbox (both of which must be known), as well as Retina displays and CSS Animations. 

So get started on:

CSS Essential Training 3 by Christina Truong, on Lynda.com.

Week 4 – User Experience For Web Designers

I know, I know, you want to code so badly. 

You will get there. 

But this is your last loophole to jump through and it’s very important. 

Listen to me: Every Web Developer must have a solid understanding of User Experience in regards to the web. 

Push through this course. Don’t skip ahead. It is jam-packed with valuable material that you WILL use in your everyday career as a web developer. 

Here it is:

User Experience For Web Designers by Chris Nodder, on Lynda.com.

MONTH 3 – JavaScript

Month 3 is here and you have a rock solid foundation to build on. 

Great job! You are on track as you learn to code and get a job in six months. 

We are now going to focus in on the king of the web, JavaScript. Even if you are not going to focus on the web, JavaScript is a wonderful, wonderful intro into programming logic, programming concepts, etc. With JavaScript you can learn about strings, loops, functions, methods, arrays, etc., which are all concepts shared by other programming languages. 

If you are at all interested in the future of the web, learn JavaScript and “learn it deeply” as a fairly important man said recently

You are going to learn from one of the BEST, in one of the BEST, most comprehensive and up-to-date courses.

So let’s do it:

Week 1 – JavaScript Basics

This is going to take us a full three weeks. It is a 5 hour course!!…and it covers soooo much. 

Begin this course and treat it seriously. Make JavaScript your sole priority in the next three weeks. 

Take your time and pace yourself. Here’s your class:

JavaScript Essential Training by Morten Rand-Hendriksen

Week 2

JavaScript Essential Training by Morten Rand-Hendriksen

Week 3

JavaScript Essential Training by Morten Rand-Hendriksen

Week 4

Now some may disagree with me here, but I think its absolutely vital to do this. 

Over the past few years JavaScript has changed/advanced a lot and for the better. 

When I learned JavaScript I was not taught any of the new features like object literals, arrow functions, etc. 

You MUST add this info onto your JavaScript arsenal to get ahead of the competition out there. 

Thus, here is your course for the week:

Learning ECMAScript 6 by Eve Porcella, on Lynda.com

[quads id=1]

MONTH 4 – PHP / Your Specialty

This month is important and a turning point in your training. 

But before we get there you need to get your feet wet in a little PHP and WordPress. 

Hopefully you are acquainted with WordPress overall with your new blog. Please tell me you have been blogging! If not, go back to week two and set it up. 

WordPress powers 30% of the web. You are guaranteed to be working in it a lot in the field of Web Development, so you must learn it and you must have a basic grasp of PHP. 

The good news is that PHP, in my opinion, is A LOT like JavaScript in syntax, so aside from it being a server-side language, you can pick it up quick. So you will take a week for that. 

Second, and for the bulk of this month you will begin to narrow down on what will be your specialty

Now listen to me….this is how you choose your specialty….

  • What language/framework/businesses are most prominent in your area or the area you plan to look for jobs in?
  • What language/framework/businesses are most prominent in your area or the area you plan to look for jobs in?
  • What language/framework/businesses are most prominent in your area or the area you plan to look for jobs in?
  • And finally, which of these do you most like?

 For instance, when I started learning Ruby on Rails I instantly noted that there were NO businesses in my area using it that I knew of. No job listings were talking about Ruby or Rails. And..I didn’t like it (can I say that?).  So I stopped.  There were lots of JavaScript, Java, SQL, etc….but no Ruby.  So I ditched it. You can read more about that journey in another post if it interests you. 

Week 1 – PHP For WordPress

PHP for WordPress by Zac Gordon, by Treehouse 

WordPress Template Heirarchy by Zac Gordon, by Treehouse <—You must understand this.

Week 2, 3, 4 – Choose Your Specialty

Since this blueprint is focused on Web Development, let me give you the top options in my opinion to make your specialty: 

  • More JavaScript
  • Python 
  • React.js
  • PHP
  • WordPress

That’s all I’d recommend. 

So pick one of the following for the next three weeks:

More JavaScript – Go deeper in JavaScript as there is MUCH more depth to go. And, JavaScript is in high demand these days. If you have enjoyed it thus far, there is “much more where that came from.”

Suggestions include:

Python – Python is also in high demand now and its fairly easy to pick after after knowing JavaScript. And, it is soooo powerful and can do so much if you really get to know it and learn to use the libraries. It also can get very complex.

Suggestions include:

React.js – Not Node.js, not Vue.js, but React.js. Why? Cause Eric Elliot said so. Ha! Well, partly so. But, I think it has a healthy future. Also, if you learn this, you can move to React Native and build mobile apps. 

Suggestions include:

  • Learning React.js by Eve Porcello, on Lynda.com. This will be a challenge so I will leave it at this recommendation. 

PHP – You can learn PHP and will find plenty of solid work and plenty of jobs out there. And it is also a very fun and powerful language. 

Suggestions include:

WordPress – Finally, you can hone your skills in on WordPress and will not be dissapointed

There is one master course for this and I highly recommend just this one:

WordPress Development: Build Customized Themes and Plugins by Zac Gordon, on Udemy.com.

In this course Zac opens the hood of WordPress and tells all. I can say personally that I learned so much from this course and can only feel as confident as I do in WordPress because of this.

WARNING: BE SURE TO ONLY PICK ONE SPECIALTY AND STICK WITH IT!!!

WARNING: BE SURE TO ONLY PICK ONE SPECIALTY AND STICK WITH IT!!!

WARNING: BE SURE TO ONLY PICK ONE SPECIALTY AND STICK WITH IT!!!

MONTH 5 – Projects

Month 5 is dedicated to building things, whether it be projects from tutorials or unique things you come up with to challenge yourself. 

You probably have a few simple projects already done from past tutorials. If you do, you should be sure to push them up to GitHub. 

You can also revisit those past tutorials to spend more time on those projects. 

Whatever you do, this month you should focus on more intermediate projects that you would be proud to show a potential employer. 

Things like shopping apps, calculators, games, etc. are good. In addition, be sure to put your own styles and apply your own flavor to them. Make them look good as well as function appropriately. 

You will complete at least one project a week. Choose this at the very beginning of the week and stick to it. Don’t get sidetracked with others. Just get one done a week. 

In addition, you will begin to complete coding challenges on Codewars.com. This will prepare you for the coding challenges you will probably face when you start having job interviews. Sign up for a free account here and pick your first challenge. 

In regards to projects here are some suggestions though I would recommend you do your own research to find some that really suit you and more importantly, don’t bog you down and get you of track. So read the below options with discretion:

JavaScript

  • Modern JavaScript from the Beginning by Brand Traversy, on Udemy. This is an excellent, excellent course that I myself just recently went through. It has 10 projects in it and as Udemy almost always has $10 courses, I would pick this up and choose a few projects from it. 
  • JavaScript 30 by Wes Bos. Build 30 very neat projects in 30 days. You could choose a few off of here also. 

PYTHON

PHP

REACT.JS

  • I don’t know React.js, please give me some examples of projects you could build down in the comments and I will add them. 

Week 1

Project #1 – Push to GitHub
Coding challenge

Week 2

Project #2 – Push to GitHub
Coding challenge

Week 3

Project #3 – Push to GitHub
Coding challenge

Week 4

Project #4 – Push to GitHub
Coding challenge

[quads id=2]

MONTH 6 – Professionalism / Applications

This is it, month 6 in your pursuit to learn to code and get a job in six months. 

You may be worn out by now but keep grinding and dont forget the goal!!!

You have a working website displaying your journey, your capabilities, your projects. 

You have a GitHub page showing your projects. 

You have put in the hard work to attain a solid skill in coding and have the makings of a Junior Developer. Think how far you have come!!!

You have completed at least four projects which are on display and you have been racking your brain with coding challenges. 

Now let’s talk jobs.

This month you will network. You will prepare your resume. You will research jobs and you will apply. 

Imposter syndrome will kick in. You will feel completely inadequate. And this is all good!

Whenever you willingly enter an uncomfortable endeavor  for the sake of bettering your situation, you are truly growing. You cannot grow remaining comfortable all the time. 

You have to not think, “We’ll they know more than me and I will look like such a fool.” Of course you will!! But you have value to bring as well and you should feel good about your accomplishments, your willingless to learn, and you should let everyone know that and actively dismiss all the negativity that will actually, mainly come from yourself. 

Getting the job is largely relational. It’s all about what confidence you have about yourself whether you bomb a coding interview or you do well. 

So this month let’s get things together, and get our name out there and land a job. 

Week 1

Create your resume. This includes your paper and your digital resume. Make sure your GitHub is looking good. And create a rock solid paper resume (thought it will be a Word document or other digital medium that you can upload to online applications as well). Here is a great article to help you in creating that resume with a rock solid template to start with. 

Second, and you will space this out throughout the month, you are going to take this course:

Mastering Web Developer Interview Code by Ray Villalobos, on Lynda.com.

This will keep you sharp and will cause you to think through tough questions that you may be asked in your interview. 

So complete your digital and paper resume, and start this course for Week 1. 

Week 2

This week you will be researching jobs. 

Take a scrap piece of paper, get on the internet, and find 20 jobs in your area (or remote?) that sound like jobs you are looking for. Disregard the preferred qualifications, just look at the minimum qualifications. You can win over the former in your interview as you demonstrate your eagerness and passion to learn. 

This week you will strive to apply for at least 10 positions. Give it your best. The key this week is to get a flood of applications out. 

In addition, you will continue the course mentioned in the previous week. 

Week 3

Week three you will continue to research and apply for jobs. Remember to look for minimum qualifications ONLY. If its 2+ years of experience, apply anyways. Of course, if its like 10+, a senior position, or in some language or framework you have no clue about, then move on please.

Second, you will continue the Ray Villalobos course to stay sharp and ready for the interviews to come. 

Third, you will take two more very short courses:

First, at 21 minutes total, is a course called Building Self-Confidence by Todd Dewett, on Lynda.com. You will need this to be confident in your pursuit of a job in a field of which you are still fairly new in. 

Second, and this is optional at an hour and a half, Communicating with Confidence by Jeff Ansell, on Lynda.com. Again this one is optional, but highly recommended. 

Week 4

And finally here we are, the final week. 

You have come so, so far in your desire to learn to code and get a job in six months. Think back to when you didn’t know how to code at all or were very weak at it. 

Be confident in where you now are. 

Things do not end this final week. You must continue to apply for jobs and attend interviews until you get it. 

The good news is that you are well equipped to land that job. You are. Stop with the doubt.

So this final week, keep pushing on toward the goal of getting that job as a Junior Web Developer. 

Continue to network. Continue to research jobs and applying to them. 

I would love it if you leave a comment on your progress or any success stories that you have. Questions are also welcomed also.  

Other Things To Pursue Along The Way

  • Create a LinkedIn profile. Then listen to Dennis Brown on how to set this up for networking success.
  • You should be networking the entire journey. Let people know you are learning to code and building websites. You never know who you might run into that can get you in the door. Check Meetup.com for local coders that get together in your area.
  • Listen to good podcasts like the CodeNewbie podcast, which features the stories of many people doing the same thing you are!
  • Consider picking up coding jobs on Upwork. It will give you good practice with coding in real life scenarios. Also, it would look good on your resume that you are eager to code, that you can handle yourself professionally, and of course, there is money involved!! Just be sure to avoid these six types of job listings
  • Read good books along the way about coding, business, self-improvement, etc. Readers are leaders. Leaders are readers. Start listening to audiobooks in your car or when you workout or shop. You can get two free Audiobooks today with a FREE audible trial here. Do it.
  • If you think you are too old to learn to code you are not. In fact, the older you are, the more soft skills and life skills you bring when it comes time to apply for jobs. I learned to code at the age of 35 with four children under 10. Don’t let age deter you at all.
  • Finally, stay healthy. If you lose your health, then you lose the physical and mental ability to achieve these goals. Don’t sit too long at the computer and be sure to perform some sort of regular exercise

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