So, you want to learn how to code, but you don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. There are tons of resources out there to help you learn all the various languages, but first, here is a crash course in programming to get you going.

Programming is an important skill to have in our modern, tech-literate society, and knowing how to program is like being able to speak the language of the future. The first thing to understand about programming is that they are called languages for a reason. Writing code will require you to think in a whole new way and develop a new alphabet of sorts. It’s a skill that can take lots of time and practice to perfect.

Let’s start with the very basics: programming is the brains behind computers and their applications. These lines of language are what make your everyday devices run. Writing code allows you to take full control of your computer, your website or your application. It’s like having a master key to your technology all from your keyboard. Many people find it easy to learn the basics of programming by tinkering with their own computer code, but you can just as easily work on web based applications or applications.

Before you begin your programming career, you need to figure out which language to learn first. There are dozens of programming languages out there, and more are being created every day. Some of the most in demand languages of the past few years are: SQL, Java, JavaScript, C# and Python. Each has its specific set of usages and limitations, so your best bet is to choose one of the more common and focus on that one as you learn. Once you’ve gotten the hang of your first language, it’ll be a lot easier to learn others.

There are lots of different classifications and groupings in programming, so get out your pen and paper. Here is a crash course on some of the many variations on programming.  The first distinction is in the function of the code: some, like HTML, provide the structure for a website and others, like CSS, control the stylistic features. Think of it like the frame of a house versus the furniture. You need both for a beautiful end result, but you need to master the basics before you can move onto more advanced languages. There are a whole bunch of other, more intricate languages or scripts, but these are the ones you will likely be working with from the start.

Speaking of classifications, it’s also important to know the difference between frontend code and backend code. Frontend is programming what the customers or audience sees while backend communicates the information to databases and servers. These are phrases you are going to hear pretty often as you learn the “speak,” and a basic understanding can really help understand code function.

To learn more and about coding, you are going to have to practice a ton and may even want to participate in an online course. There are countless resources throughout the web to help you learn the programming language of your choosing. From online classes at sites like Codecademy or Code School to tutorial videos on YouTube, you can practice your skills and learn the basics on a ton of platforms.

Do you have a favorite language or know of any cool tips for learning to code? If you’re a programmer with any other recommendations, leave them in the comments below!