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.
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
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.
7. Khan Academy