in ,


7 Affordable and Easy Ways to Learn How to Code

Software is all around us. It’s hard to find anything in the modern world that doesn’t run on code, from cell phones to sneakers. The invisible world of programs is all around us, and once you learn how to tap into it, you can accomplish a lot.

Even if you don’t want to pursue a computer science career, learning how to code has numerous real-world applications. Much like learning a foreign language, learning programming opens up new neural pathways to encourage creative thinking and can improve general problem-solving skills as well. There’s never been a better time to learn.

So what’s stopping you? The world of programming is more accessible than ever before, with tons of tutorials and platforms available for people at all levels of skill. In this feature, we’ll spotlight nine affordable resources (and one pricier option) to build skills.

1. Codecademy

The absolutely free Codecademy is an excellent place to start for low-level tutorials in eight of the Web’s most popular languages. From basic HTML and CSS to Python, Ruby, and PHP, it’s a robust service with a wide selection of tutorials and lessons. As is common for online learning, the process is very gamified, with badges to earn and high score leaderboards. The platform has a number of really interesting features, including the ability to create groups to learn and collaborate in, as well as the ability for more advanced students to publish their own lessons. 

2.  Free Code Camp

Here’s a pretty amazing way to learn how to code JavaScript while also doing some good in the world. Free Code Camp lives up to its name by hosting a wide selection of tutorials and courses that start out with basic Web page development and progress to the latest modern dynamic frameworks like Node.js. The entire curriculum is an estimated 800 hours of instruction, which is impressive. But when you’re done, Free Code Camp gives you the opportunity to learn on the job by volunteering to loan your skills to nonprofits that need Web help.

3. Crunchzilla

The casual, friendly tutorials at Crunchzilla are divided by age groups, but beginner adults can get a great start through the Code Monster program, which covers a wide array of programming basics. If you dig it, move on to the more advanced concepts in the Code Maven and Game Maven programs, which let you get your hands dirty building working software in Javascript. The friendly step-by-step instructions are easy to follow and give you lots of room to experiment, and it’s easy to export your finished projects out of the platform to fiddle around with at your leisure.

4. Dash

If you’re looking to focus on exclusively Web programming, Dash is a great place to start. The online classes created by General Assembly, the New York firm that has positioned itself as a vital educational platform in the start-up economy, will walk you through the essential stages of a Web developer’s career, from personal site to e-commerce platform. The course is heavily narrative-driven, with each tutorial segment presented as an assignment from an imaginary client who offers feedback upon delivery of code. When you’re done, you can publish your sites to the Web free of charge.

5. CodeHS

Although the lessons on CodeHS are created for high school students, they’re equally applicable to adults who are beginning their path to programming mastery. CodeHS was created in 2012 by a pair of Stanford University computer science graduates who used their experience working with incoming freshmen to develop a platform that would give them the real-world code experience they needed to have under their belts before college. The program’s anthropomorphic mascot, a dog named Karel (named after the 1981 programming language), introduces beginners to the basic concepts and then leads them into Javascript, HTML, and Java exercises.

6. CodeCombat

Some people have a tough time relating to dry academic materials and need things to be a little more casual. For them, Code Combat is a brilliant solution. Framed as a dungeon-crawling fantasy adventure, each player in Code Combat is armed with the tools of JavaScript. Each level is a self-contained puzzle that introduces new programming concepts and lets learners experiment with them to complete it. If you’re looking for a focused, business-like approach to learning code, Code Combat probably isn’t for you. However, if you’re more of a casual learner who wants to get their feet wet and have fun doing it, boot it up and give it a shot.

7. Khan Academy

One of the leaders in the online educations pace, Khan Academy isn’t solely programming-focused, but its offerings are very solid—and free! They focus on Javascript, a powerful language that’s used all over the Web for a wide variety of interactivity. Courses are structured as a series of video walkthroughs that introduce the essential concepts, followed by online challenges to ensure that you’ve got them down. Those are followed by “projects,” where you use your new skills to create programs that are then evaluated by other Khan Academy students and coaches. It’s an intuitive setup that’s easy to drop in and out of. 

What’s Fact and What’s Fiction in Pablo Larraín’s Spencer?

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Official Poster Teases Doc Ock, Green Goblin & More