Let me be clear: I know free time is precious and you may not have a ton of it. That being said, there’s little you could learn in your free time more valuable than coding. At the risk of being cliche, coding is the language of the future. I highly recommend finding a few hours in your week to learn to code and improve your professional chops.
Here are few fantastic online sites to get you started with coding:
Code School is the gold standard in online coding experiences. Courses start basic and ramp up. And you’ll get the support of a great community and teaching team. But it is not free. For $19/month you get 64 courses, chunked into paths if you so desire, 248 screencasts, 2860 coding challenges, and the full community. You can figure out if it’s right for you by signing up for free and taking their 10 free courses to start.
Started by former Stanford professors, Udacity originally offered individual courses in coding. You can still find many of their basics courses for free, such as Intro to HTML and CSS. What they’re known for these days, though, is their “nanodegrees.” They package multiple critical-path courses together to help you achieve specific professional goals. For example, they have a clear set of courses for those who want to become a front-end web developer. This nanodegree takes approximately 6 months to complete if you work 5-10 hours per week. Nanodegrees are not free, though, and cost about $200/month. Well worth checking out, given the stellar reviews!
If you want to take just one course at a time as you consider coding, think about Udemy. It doesn’t have the formal structure and community that you’ll find from programs like Code School, but it offers coding instruction at a really great price and gives you time to think about if you want to jump to the next level. The problem with Udemy is that it has a variety of instructors and programs; and like school in real life, some instructors are great and others not so much.
Bonus: Coding for Kids
Make learning code a family activity! Check out Tynker which appeals to children by teaching them to code games, apps, drones, etc.