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29 bite-sized goals for learning to code in 2021

It’s that time of year again — the time for making New Year’s resolutions! It can be tempting to set big, life-changing goals. But the loftiest resolutions are usually the first to be abandoned. This year, let’s resolve to make resolutions we can keep.

Every major accomplishment requires a smaller first step. You can’t run a marathon before you can run the first mile and the same goes for learning how to code. Before you can code a website you need to learn to write your first "Hello, World!" Before you can become a data scientist you need to learn how to acquire data. Resolving to take the first step is the easiest way to ensure you get started down the road to success this year.

Here’s an inspiring example from our community. In 2020, Ioannis set a small goal for himself. “My goal was to start learning a new language and get at least one certification.” By the end of the year, Ioannis earned not one, not two, but twenty certifications!

Starting small: Inspiration for your 2021 resolutions

To help you follow in Ioannis’s footsteps, Codecademy curriculum developers Alex K., Nick, Kenny, Cole, Mariel, and Sonny shared some ideas for bite-sized goals you can set for yourself this year. We’ve broken them out into a few categories — goals for getting started, building your portfolio, becoming an active community member, tracking your progress, and more.

Resolve to get started with coding

Brand new to coding? The best way to get started is to just dive in. So make a resolution to take the first step in the beginning of 2021. Here are a few ideas for resolutions you can choose to get started with coding this year:

  • I’m going to write my first program that prints "Hello, World!" This is one of the first things you'll learn in our Code Foundations Path.
  • I’m going to learn how to install a language on my computer.
  • I’m going to learn how to use a text editor on my computer. We recommend Visual Studio Code (VSCode) if you're not sure where to get started.
  • I’m going to create a GitHub account and create a repository to share my code. Learn more about getting set up with Git and GitHub.
  • I’m going to download a coding app on my phone. An app like Codecademy Go lets you get in a little bit of coding practice wherever you may be.
  • I’m going to start collecting a data set about myself. This can be a fun one if you’re interested in data science. It could be anything from how many steps you take each day to what time you wake up.

Resolve to tie your learning to something you enjoy

Curriculum developer Alex K. says, “A good goal is to get to the point where you are working on a project that you're excited about.” When you’re just getting started, you’ll be spending time learning the fundamentals and building simple projects. Learning new things is always rewarding, but when you find that first project that really inspires you, you’ll really start having fun! Here are a few resolutions to get you working on something you enjoy:

  • I’m going to work on a project that inspires me.
  • I’m going to find a data set I’m interested in. Check out some of our favorite data sets for inspiration.
  • I’m going to build a small applet that’s useful for myself, my friends, or my family.

Resolve to become an active community member

Being a part of a community is a great way to keep yourself accountable to your goals and to make your learning journey more enjoyable. You’ll be able to find help when you need it, share your experiences, learn from the experiences of others, and make new friends. Here are a few ideas for becoming a more active community member in 2021:

  • I’m going to attend a local hackathon and try to help out on a project. Looking for local hackathons? Check out Major League Hacking or Eventbrite.
  • I’m going to participate in a local coding club in my school or town. Codecademy Chapters are a great place to start.
  • I’m going to answer someone’s question in the Codecademy Forums.
  • I’m going to attend a programming-related meetup or conference.
  • I’m going to follow 10 developers on Twitter.
  • I’m going to submit my first post on Stackoverflow.

Resolve to make progress on your portfolio

If your end goal is a career in web development or data science then you’ll ultimately need to build a portfolio. Resolve to make progress on your portfolio in 2021 with one of the following ideas:

  • I’m going to build a simple portfolio website and host it.
  • I’m going to make a website version of my resume.
  • I’m going to build one project for my portfolio. In October of 2020, we revamped our Career Paths to now include portfolio-ready projects that you can use when you begin your job search.

Resolve to make progress on career goals

Whether you’ve been toying with the idea of changing careers, are already in the process, or are interested in learning technical skills to advance in your current job, the New Year is a good time to set some goals to help you make progress. Check out the following goals for inspiration:

  • I’m going to search for jobs and look over their requirements.
  • I’m going to complete the first module of a Career Path. We currently offer Career Paths in Data Science, Front-End, Back-End, and Full-Stack Web Development.
  • I’m going to speak with someone that works in a field I’m interested in.
  • I’m going to put my technical resume together.

Resolve to hone your coding skills

Here are a few ideas for goals that’ll help you become a better and more efficient programmer in 2021:

  • I’m going to Google my error and read documentation instead of clicking "Get a solution" right away.
  • I’m going to complete a series of code challenges.
  • I’m going to contribute to my first open-sourced project on GitHub.

Resolve to track your progress

This last batch of ideas is all about tracking your progress. Sometimes tracking and sharing your progress is just the boost you need to keep on going — plus you can look back and see how far you’ve come!

  • I’m going to create my own coding journey notebook.
  • I’m going to write a blog post about something I’ve learned.
  • I’m going to set a weekly target and stick to it. Check out our article on tips for staying accountable to your goals to learn more about weekly targets, streaks, and more.

We hope this list has helped you come up with a few bite-sized goals to start the year out on the right foot. Share your resolutions with us in the comments below!

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29 bite-sized goals for learning to code in 2021
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