Trying to get into coding

Hi everyone,
I read through several posts and finally got the courage to create an account and make a post. I’m hoping I can get some feedback/advice on what I’m trying to accomplish but I’ll provide some background first.

I have been trying to get into coding for a few years now but it’s been super difficult. I used to be a computer information systems student in collage but I chickened my way out of it. I did not stray far as I’m currently a director of analytics and a heavy SQL user with some R projects on the sides. I learned HTML/CSS back in high school but it was so basic that I have to brush up on all new html standards. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of java experience. I know enough to edit procs, view projects, and make solution recommendation but not good enough to be a developer.

I’ve been wanting to a create a few simple apps but I get stressed out and never know how to continue. For example, I would like to get a super simple light weight application, either standalone or web app (I don’t need to connect it to the internet, just need to run it on a local host/machine). The purpose of this app is to track transactions per customers. Customers can add cash/points to their account and use them later. There are only 2 product types. At the end of the day, I want to be able to track how many points they have left based on their usage (basically running total). I currently have an excel file that does this but would like to move away from excel.

I don’t know how to proceed with this. First, I don’t know if it’s better to have a standalone app or do a web version (personally I prefer the web because I like bootstrap and think it’s easier to modify). Next, I don’t know what language to start in. Thought about Python as it looks fairly similar to R and I think I can make some headway there. Lastly, I understand database design and already drew up an ERD but I don’t know what to use to have a local database (should be a simple as 3-4 very small tables)

Again, that’s just one example that I would like to accomplish to prove to myself that I can do it and actually get into it rather than looking in from the outside and never giving it a shot. Would love to hear if you guys have any advice or feedback. Much appreciated!

You are overthinking things.
Whatever you will do will be bad, because you are a newbie.
Don’t try to think of a perfect solution - you will waste your precious time.
If you know SQL - think about some junior devs. Can they make a very good queries right from the start?

Do crappy website, crappy app and crappy everything, just make it work.
You will learn a lot.
Then try to do something better/improve what you have done.

I would advice to use web. Works on every platform. You can also use some R experience with some shiny.


HI @WannabeDev !

Welcome to the forum!

I agree with @MyTrueName that you need to just dive in and get started.

You might consider building a smaller app first and just focus on getting it to work.
Starting small and finishing it will give you the motivation to keep going and achieve your goals.

Then you can move onto this other app that you were talking about.
I feel like you can probably achieve this with python.

FCC does have a python curriculum that they are currently building out. Since this is in the middle of the curriculum they will assume that you have done the other courses before it. So it might move a little fast for beginners.

You could also start with this course which covers more of the basics.

Hope that helps!


Sounds like you have a great idea. You already have a good overview of what you want to accomplish. You’re well on your way. Now pick a technology and start building! Take it one step at a time. Even if your project fails, you will learn something along the way. Shoot for the stars land on the moon kinda thing, ya know. You got this. You can always reboot it later if you decide you want it as a standalone or vice versa. If it’s just a persoanl project, what do you have to stress about?

Here are the development steps and tools I recommend.

Step 1. Implement the database

Any SQL database system will do, but mySQL is my first choice. There are tons of references and learning materials on mySQL. It comes with a nice visual tool called mySql Workbench to create, load, view, etc tables. You can also choose one of the 3rd-party tools.

Database is going to be the soul of your app so you should start with the database. You can pick any programming languages / tools later. The database you design and implement will remain the same.

You can import excel data directly into mySql. You can also export your excel data to csv files and then import csv files into mySql.

Step 2. Create the Requirements / Specifications

Since this app is for yourself, you can keep the apps requirements / specifications in your head and adjust accordingly during the development. But something written down will help you keep focus and motivated. You keep it simple. Just write what sort of capabilities and features you want the app to have.

Step 3. Desing the User Interface

Again keep it simple. Sketch out the interface. What’s there on the opening screen. Will there be a menu? How the user interface will from one screen to another.

Step 4. Develop the App
This step is divided in to multiple sub-steps. I think Step 4.1 will be a single feature of an app that connects to the database and display information on a single transaction or customer. You can start by retrieving a specific transaction or a customer. Once successful, you can add an interface to let the user enter transaction id or customer id and retrieve the requested info. After successfully implementing this feature, add another feature (spec) one at a time, testing each feature fully before proceeding to the next feature.

Now the big question regarding this Development step. Which programming language / technology should you use? Based on what you want and your background, I recommend you go with Javascript / HTML / CSS for both front end (client web browser) and back end (server side). Since you only want your app to run on a local machine, you can go with Python, but then developing UI with Python is not that straightforward. You can use JavaScript technology to run app locally, so it will be give you more flexibility. You can use just HTML/CSS (with Bootstrap) to implement a nice interface in Step 3 (this is not going to the final UI but you can create a nice UI mockup with HTML/CSS).

You don’t have to decide now. Steps 1 to 3 are independent of which language / tools you use. Start Step 1 now and learn prog lang as you go along the steps.

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