Learn to Code Online

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learn to code online

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 Academy

I’d argue that Code Academy is the pioneer in the online coding space. Their mission is to “… rethinking education from the bottom up.” You can start with the very basics here, you first learn the building blocks of HTML and CSS. Then, you can move on to creating your own website, learning specific coding niches like Javascript or Ruby on Rails, or learn how to manage versions of your code. Code Academy is completely free. However, you can boost your learning with their Pro subscription which includes a bonuses like a learning plan and advisors. I love browsing the Code Academy stories for inspiration.

Code School

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.

Udacity

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!

Khan Academy

Not just for kids anymore, the Khan Academy offers a full range of free computer programming courses. You start with the basics: HTML, CSS, and Javascript and then advance into more specific skill sets. While free and awesome, Khan Academy doesn’t have the learning community or support that a paid program will offer. Nor does it have the career advice you might be seeking.

Udemy

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.

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About the Author
Kylie Larson is a content wrangler, helping both small businesses and large organizations get their message up and out. When she's not writing and organizing online, you'll find her walking the dog, with a camera in hand, riding the Chicago blue line, and in the midst of a home renovation project that never ends. Connect with her on Twitter @kylieslarson.

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