A code editor is a program designed to make writing code smooth and error-free. If you’ve always wanted to learn code editors but can’t figure out how to get started, this guide is for you. Here, you’ll learn more about the various ways to learn code editors, free resources to take advantage of, and the types of careers that commonly use code editors.
A code editor is a type of developer tool, widely used by programmers to facilitate their writing process. It’s a standalone program that developers will write their code in before entering it where it will ultimately be executed. Code editors provide features that make coding more efficient and give the programmer more clarity about how their code functions. Code editors have been in use since 1985, when IBM developed the first one.
Prior to the invention of code editors, coders generally wrote in a word processing program before transferring their code to be executed. The importance of code editors is that they are specifically designed for writing programs efficiently. Unlike a word processing program, the creators of a code editor build all of its features with this purpose in mind. Standard features of a code editor include live parsing, syntax highlighting, automatic indentation, auto-completion, and expandable code snippets.
One of a code editor’s most important features is color-coded syntax highlighting. The code editor parses the code in real-time to identify its key elements—such as variables, commands, and functions—and highlights them in different colors to help the programmer see the code’s structure more clearly. Another aspect of code editors that clarifies structure is the automatic indentation of code that runs inside functions or loops, so the coder can see that this code is subordinate to the larger structure of the program.
Code editors typically include built-in error-checking, which allows coders to avoid tedious debugging by hand. Like search engines, code editors also have an auto-complete feature, which saves time by anticipating and suggesting what you might want to write next. Another time-saving element of most code editors is the ability to use built-in code snippets to execute the same code repeatedly. Some editors let you create custom code snippets for your specific projects. Many of them can also work with plug-ins that increase their functionality.
On a higher level, code editors make it easier for a Developer to navigate code files and resources as they work. Today, almost every Developer uses a code editor. For beginners, the most popular code editor is Visual Studio Code. Other beginner-friendly code editors include Atom, Notepad++, and Sublime.
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Code editors allow a Developer to write error-free code more efficiently. They come equipped with features that facilitate the coding process. These features include syntax highlighting, automatic indentation, error-checking, autocomplete, and code snippets. That’s why their use is practically universal among developers today.
Color-coded syntax highlighting allows the coder to see the structure of their code. The code editor identifies in real-time what type of coding element the programmer is using, and uses color highlighting to mark variables, commands, and functions in the code. The live parsing that makes syntax highlighting possible also allows code editors to provide automatic indentation. Sections of code that are subordinate to the overall program, like those within functions or loops, are indented to show the relationship they bear to the rest of the code.
Another aspect of code editors that increases developer efficiency is the error-checking function, which allows the coder to avoid hours of tedious debugging. Many code editors have an autocomplete function, just as search engines do. This saves you time by anticipating and suggesting what you may want to write next. Code snippets also speed up your process by allowing you to avoid typing the same lengthy bit of code over and over again.
The use of code editors is almost universal among professional coders. Therefore, almost any Software Engineer or Developer will be expected to use a code editor in the course of their work. Unlike with many coding-related skills, this expectation does not differ across the varied types of programming and development one might specialize in. However, some experts argue that different code editors are best for different types of coding.
For web development, programmers favor Visual Studio Code, Atom, Brackets, Sublime, or Vim. Which one they choose will depend on their level of experience and whether they find it worth paying for a code editor. Among Data Scientists, Visual Studio Code is also popular, alongside some more Python-specific editors like PyCharm or DataSpell. Regardless of your specialty, however, knowing how to use a code editor will serve you well in any coding-based career.
It’s important to learn code editors because they are an industry-standard skill. They have become nearly universal among developers because they make the coding process more efficient. The error-checking feature allows you to avoid a long and tedious process of debugging your code by hand. As with a search engine, auto-complete anticipates the code you will want to write next so that you don’t have to type the whole thing out. Code snippets also save you time by providing a shorthand that you can employ when using the same module of code over and over again, which is particularly relevant if you’re working in an object-oriented programming language.
Using a code editor can also help you understand your own code more clearly. The syntax highlighting function of a code editor identifies elements of your code in real-time and marks variables, commands, and functions in different colors. This feature, along with the automatic indentation that clarifies relationships between sections of code, allows a developer a clearer perspective on the structure of their programs.
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If you want real-time access to an expert instructor, you’ll want to opt for live instruction, whether you choose to learn in-person or online. Your study of coding and code editors will benefit from working with a skilled coder and experienced teacher. They’ll be able to clarify concepts when you are confused, give feedback on the work you do, and provide guidance as you pursue your study of coding. Students who prefer to learn on-site can check out available in-person coding classes. Those who’d rather study from home may want to look at this list of live online courses in coding.
Students with a busy, demanding schedule might find a self-paced class to better suit their needs. Noble’s Classes Near Me too can help them research on-demand coding courses. These classes range from brief introductory courses of an hour or two through programs estimated to take 6-9 months and prepare you for a career in the field. If you’re a beginner but still looking for an intensive course, you can find these on subscription platforms including Udacity, Skillsoft, and Treehouse.
You can also get access to free materials that can help you learn coding and code editors. If you’re still deciding which code editor you want to use, Noble has a blog post about how to choose a code editor. Those looking to learn code editors as part of studying front end web development will likely find this free seminar introduction to front end web development useful. Noble has also created a playlist of videos on web design and development, as well as a hub of tutorials, articles, and resources to help you learn code editors. You’ll want to make sure you check out Noble’s comprehensive list of available coding classes as well.
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Perhaps, as you read about code editors, you’re thinking that this sounds like an interesting skill, but you’re not quite ready to start a full coding course. If so, you may simply want an overview of code editors, which you can generally acquire for free online. Noble has a free tutorial on the Visual Studio Code editor to get you started with that program. If you want to learn more about code editors in general, there are some courses available at Udemy that will take you through how code editors work and what you can do with them. Udemy, Coursera, and Skillshare all have courses on the use of specific code editors.
Read about more free videos and online tutorials on how to use code editors.
The difficulty of learning code editors can vary. Your particular experience will depend in part on the code editor you choose. When you’re getting started, especially if you are also new to coding, you’ll want to make sure you choose a beginner-friendly program like Visual Studio Code. If you choose the right code editor, the challenges you encounter while learning it will be more the challenges of learning to code than challenges specific to the code editor. For example, the color-coded syntax highlighting in a code editor won’t tell you anything until you are familiar with coding concepts like variables, commands, and functions.
Before you learn how to use code editors, you will need basic computer skills, an understanding of basic coding concepts, and at least some knowledge of a programming language. The computer skills you will need include the ability to save a file in multiple versions. In addition to the basic coding concepts mentioned above, you’ll want to learn about loops, so that you can make sense (and use) of the automatic indentation feature in a code editor.
Most code editors are free to download. The cost of coding-focused training can range from $0 for introductory video tutorials through $3500-17,000 for a bootcamp. Opting for more traditional study through a four-year college degree can cost up to an average of $54,501 yearly for tuition at a private university.
Read about how difficult it is to learn code editors.
A code editor is one of several tools that developers find useful in creating code. Other developer tools you might learn include Git for version control, Emmet for high-speed coding using expandable snippets, or coding libraries and frameworks like React, Node.js, or Django. Fortunately, all of the tools listed here are free and open-source.
Knowing how to useGit is an industry-standard expectation for developers. This open-source version control tool allows a coder or team of coders to save their work in multiple versions. Using this tool, developers can track the changes to their code over time and revert to older versions if need be. Using Git is fairly intuitive unless you choose to dig into its more complex documentation tools. However, only advanced developers typically use these.
Emmet can also help your coding process become more efficient. Its function is to expand brief snippets of code into longer modules in order to save time while coding. In addition to the built-in ones, you can also create custom snippets if you need to repeat a particular module of code several times. Emmet’s designers intentionally crafted it to be easy to use, so you likely won’t have trouble picking it up.
You may find it difficult to choose how you want to go about studying coding and code editors. How can you know what will suit your particular situation best? Perhaps the most important element when you decide on a learning method is what you are planning to do with the skill you’re seeking to learn. You will also want to consider the level of experience with coding you already have. Another thing you’ll want to think about is how much energy, money, and time that you are willing and able to spend on your studies. Your knowledge of your own learning tendencies will help you make another key choice, which is whether to learn in an in-person, live online, or on-demand format.
If, as a beginner, you’re not yet ready to invest in your training financially, you can use free introductory courses to learn the basics of code editors. Codecademy and FreeCodeCamp have courses that can teach you how to set up a code editor and get started coding with the program. There are also free video tutorials on how to use specific features of code editors like Visual Studio Code. However, the drawback of using free on-demand materials, or even paid ones, is that you won’t have access to an expert instructor who can provide clarification, feedback, and guidance as you learn. These aspects of live instruction can be especially important early in the learning process.
When you study coding at Noble Desktop, the expert instructors and small class sizes will expedite and enhance your learning process. Noble’s varied training formats allow you to choose the type of training that will work best for you, whether that’s in-person or live online. Once you’ve finished a Noble course, you can retake that class for free, which can be helpful if you’d like to learn even more about coding. Coding courses at Noble include the use of code editors and other vital developer tools.
If you’d prefer to start with an individual class before leaping into a certificate program, you can study coding in-person or take live online coding classes.