Learn to Code Online for Free
By David Hagy
Learning to program or write code can be extremely difficult. It is especially hard for people who have no experience with programming language or who’ve worked very little with computers. Becoming proficient in a programming language takes a lot of time and diligence. Until recently, acquiring these skills also required lots of money to purchase books or pay for classes. But because you can find almost anything you want on the Internet these days, I decided to look online and found several helpful, free resources that anyone can use to help them learn to code.
You may not be able to learn everything you need from these websites, but they will give you at least a beginner level knowledge of programming language. What makes these sites great is the way they teach you the language. They use text, examples, and practice opportunities to ensure you understand and remember the topics they are covering.
Here they are:
Codeacademy has become very popular because of their code year marketing campaign to get people to learn a new programming language each year. Codeacademy currently has courses on 6 different programming frameworks. The courses they offer are:
- HTML/CSS – Learn the building blocks of the web and how to create your own website
- Python - Learn a programming language that is widely used in creating apps
- Ruby – Learn a language used to power many different websites
- PHP – Learn a language used in web development and used on most websites
- APIs – Learn how to use APIs to create apps that connect with online services
Codeacademy suggests you start with HTML/CSS and work your way through all the courses, but you can choose to take any you’re interested in, in any order. Codeacademy adds a gamification to the learning experience by giving you badges for learning different topics. You can compete with friends and other Codeacademy students to see who has more badges. The courses are made up of lessons and exercises, which cover a certain aspect of the language and then require you to finish the code to pass the exercise. There is also a glossary of terms and a Q & A forum on the site, which helps users tackle any problems they might have completing assignments. Codeacademy is a good website to check out if you want to start learning a programming language.
Code Avengers is a newer site, started around the time the movie The Avengers came out, hence the name. Code Avengers has free, interactive online courses that teach the basics of web development and computer programming in a fun and effective way. Code Avengers makes the learning experience dynamic by offering many different tools to help you understand the programming language. These include flash cards with syntax and terms you need to know, as well as references to show you the proper way to enter code and a notepad that allows you to take notes while learning.
The course format is very similar to the other websites, but what’s different about LearnStreet are its Projects. Projects are separate from the courses, and there are about 90 different projects you can choose from. These allow you to create games and tools using the programming language you learned in the courses, so you can practice and improve your coding skills without having to come up with your own app ideas. This is a great tool to continue to improve your programming skills after you’ve completed the course, and it really shows you what the programming language can do.
Becoming a programmer is hard, but hopefully these resources will help you get started. These sites make learning a programming language a little easier. Each site has its own advantages. If you are not sure which one to use, just try them all and see which one helps you the most!