Are you a computer nerd who enjoys the technical aspect of web development? Are you ready to turn your wildest dreams into reality? Or are you in a marketing, finance or human resources position and would like an upwardly mobile edge over your competition? If the answer is yes to any of the above, then you probably need to learn how to code.
Regardless of language or platform preference, every developer must learn one thing really well: how to code.
Some companies prefer or require their coders to have a college degree, usually a bachelor's or better. But that's not always the case, especially in small, busy companies that are actively building a client list and trying to differentiate themselves from their competitors. These companies are much more amenable to entrepreneurial spirit and self-taught developers than their larger counterparts.
Many CEOs want to hire employees who are versatile, with an immense variety of skills, including programming. And let's be real, it can cause a significant upswing in your take-home salary. So, are you ready to get started? There are a variety of resources available; from free and paid courses to intensive 6-week boot camps! See our picks for the top resources for those wanting to learn to code.
The name says it all. Codeacademy has one of the longest course lists of all free course providers. The site boasts more than 25 million learners who are delving into all sorts of coding options for free. You can also sign up for a Pro account for $19.99 per month or $199.99 per year, which gets you some extra features. At Codecademy, you can choose from a far-reaching range of courses such as these:
- SQL and Git
- Website development
- HTML, PHP, Python and CSS Website development
- The command line
Sign up at www.codeacademy.com.
This open-source higher education platform offers a computer science category with around 320 different courses. Furthermore, the has offers both free and paid courses that range from $50 to $300. You only have to pay for the free courses if you need a certificate to prove completion. Course titles include a wide range of topics, including the following:
- Professional Android App Development
- How to Code: Simple Data
- Developing Intelligent Apps and Bots
- Programming With R for Data Science
Sign up at www.edx.org.
This is one of the most world-renowned e-learning platforms. It offers thousands of video-based tutorials. While some of them are free, you do have to pay for many of the courses with price tags that range from $10 to around $200. Note: Udemy often runs limited-time-offer discounts on courses. All you have to do is sign up to receive notification emails. There are gobs of sections covering all sorts of topics, including the following:
- Programming languages (C, C++, Python, Ruby and more)
- Mobile applications
- Game development
- Web development
Sign up at www.udemy.com.
MIT Open Courseware
If you've always wanted to say you attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, now is your chance. The web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content is open and available to the world. However, those who want a verified certificate upon completion must pay a fee. The school covers tons of coding options such as these:
- Introduction to Java
- Introduction to Python
- Practical Programming in C
- Introduction to Computer Science
- Effective Programming in C and C++
Sign up at https://ocw.mit.edu.
Lynda.com is owned by LinkedIn. Through this online learning portal, you have access to hundreds of courses and thousands of video tutorials on an extensive range of coding topics. With more than 400 software development courses, and more than 100 web development offerings, you'll probably find the exact type of training you need. Lynda.com offers a free trial, and from there you can choose the Basic plan for $19.99 per month, which gives you access to every course in the library (5,000-plus), or the Premium plan for $29.99 per month. Premium includes everything in Basic, plus project files and code practice, quizzes and offline viewing of courses. These are some of the languages that you can learn about here:
- MySQL and Git
- PHP, Python, C
- Java and Mobile Web
- Android, iOS, Ruby and Swift
- Programming foundations
Sign up at www.lynda.com.
With computer science lessons, you'll find coverage at Khan Academy on topics such as information theory and data encryption. Then, there are the Hour of Code tutorials that turn lessons into compact, one-hour sessions for those who want to learn on a busy schedule. Khan Academy offers a section specifically for programming classes for free, which teach these languages and more:
Sign up at www.khanacademy.org.
Treehouse is the perfect choice for novices, because it is both fun and convenient. The videos offer a bit of humor and some engaging production to keep learners interested. It has a monthly subscription fee of $25 and $50 for the Pro plan. Treehouse has a free two-week trial offer for new users. An added benefit is the site's tutorials on freelancing and business strategies to help you put your new coding skills to work. Here you can learn the following:
- Java web development
- Android development
- iOS development
- Python web development
- Front-end web development
Sign up at https://teamtreehouse.com.
The Code Player
What makes this site unique is its videos and presentations that showcase code created by others. You also get a detailed description of the topic at hand. This makes sense, since most of us want to see code built from scratch before we take aim at replication. Since you are learning from real case studies, you get a better idea of how to use a specific programming language. These are some of the languages taught:
Sign up at thecodeplayer.com.
The Odin Project
This site lets you learn coding online for free. Plus, you can take part in small projects to help create your body of work. Moreover, you get to work with other learners on varying projects, which improves understanding through collaboration. At The Odin Project, you can learn many of the basic programming languages, such as these:
- Ruby on Rails
Sign up at www.theodinproject.com.
Sign up at htmldog.com.
Browse the offerings that interest you most, but carve out time to test-drive at least one free course. The only investment is your time, and you'll know pretty quickly if the topic interests you enough to stick with it.
Although mastering technique is critical to a developer, you also need to know how to analyze complex problems and break them down into parts or steps, before applying coding. (Knowing how to do this can also make your code more efficient.) Project Euler presents "challenging mathematical/computer programming problems" that help you learn how to tackle technical problems.
For free hands-on practice, Reddit’s DailyProgrammer posts weekly programming challenges. Participants can post code for peer review, and Reddit encourages them to review other participants' code with professionalism and positivity.
Be sure to check out Git Hub, too. This site is a terrific resource for coding DIYers, and, once you pass the learning phase and begin coding some useful stuff, your personal GitHub page can act as a portfolio of your work.
Regardless of your learning style, building great coding skills takes effort, long hours and practice. A course is simply a first step, or supplement, to your commitment to a bright and productive future.