Get Started On Coding…For Free

A laptop with an open journal and coffee mug on a desk.

So you want to learn how to code and where to start, well, with the internet, it’s a lot easier than you think.

I first dipped my feet in the realm of coding by utilizing a few online resources and hammering away at those. I feel like it’s an essential first step, whether you intend to go to a Bootcamp or to a University, you should always start with these free learning programs to set yourself with some basic coding skills, making a Bootcamp program a lot easier and less stressful.

So, with this blog, I’m going to list the best free resources for helping you start your coding journey and the benefits those resources provide.

Before that though, I want to make a note. There are a lot of languages out there and it can be pretty intimidating to know what/where to start learning in order to make the best out of your time and ensure you a coding job.

So I’ll make it easy. Start by learning these three languages: HTML (the language of the web), CSS (a styling language that works in conjuction with HTML to alter cosmetic things) and Javascript (a programming language which can do a lot, but you’ll mainly be using it for web interactivity in the beginning).

After you’ve got a pretty good handle on those, you should either learn a Javascript framework (React is a common one) and a backend language: Ruby, Python, C++, C#, and Java are your best bets here. Don’t worry so much about the backend languages, just do your research and pick one that sounds interesting.

Now! We wanna learn, so onto those websites/resources we go.

Free Code Camp

This is the one I started with. Their HTML and CSS basics are absolutely fantastic and a great introduction the languages. The courses are quite in-depth and they even have slightly guided projects that you can complete after each major section.

They have Javascript and React course as well. I only did a bit of the Javascript course, but from what I saw it’s just as good as their HTML and CSS courses.

Also, everything is still free on the site as far as I can tell.

Definite two thumbs up.

Codecademy

While I did start with Free Code Camp, this is the one I’ve probably spent the most time on. At this point I have done their free courses on: HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, C++, and Ruby.

After all those courses I can definitely say that Codecademy has been a huge benefit to me.

Each course has multiple sections for different aspects of the language and everything is explained in a descriptive yet simple to grasp manner.

Their presentation is also fantastic and the whole professional feel of it just makes you feel like you’ve made the right choice by learning from them.

All of their basic courses are totally free, but they do have a Pro membership plan that gives you access to a lot of their advanced courses and projects.

I haven’t done the Pro membership thing so I can’t speak for it, but I can say that I didn’t need it in order to give Codecademy a big recommendation.

Watch and Code: Programming Foundations (used to be called Practical Javascript)

Another course that I did which is pure Javascript is Gordon Zhu’s Programming Foundations (which went under the name Practical Javascript when I did it). Mr. Zhu was once a Google programmer, so you know what he’s talking about. But the best thing about his course isn’t his expertise, it’s his approach.

This isn’t a course that starts you off by explaining the basics and not really showing you the real life application of what you’re doing. That’s Gordon Zhu’s issue with other courses and one he means to correct.

His course throws you into the “deep” end, by building a To-Do App from beginning to end, asking you to follow along, and giving all the resources and information you need to understand what he’s doing, while he’s doing it.

By the end of the (free) course, you’ll have built a working App and be able to explain what you’ve done.

It truly is a fantastic course and is why I dropped Free Code Camp’s Javascript in the middle of it (even though that seems, by all accounts, to be a great course too). The focus on application in your learning felt refreshing and motivating.

There’s also a premium membership that gives you access to his more advanced courses, which I have not done, but if it’s anything like his free course, it’s likely well worth the money

Javascript30

Javascript30 is for more when you’ve had quite a bit of time learning Javascript and want to use and improve your newfound skills on some projects.

Basically, the “course” offers 30 somewhat guided projects each of which you can feasibly complete in a single day (though I never did).

It’s a fantastic, fun, and practical way to put what you’ve learned into a usable application.

Highly recommended.

Udemy and Khan Academy

Both Udemy and Khan Academy are more of a general education repository that provides courses for a multitude of disciplines, not just coding. But, in my search for good courses I came across many recommendations for courses from both sites, some free and some not. Unfortunately, I’ve never actually done any of the courses offered here, but it seems there’s a lot of amazing stuff on there and if you’ve cruised through all this other stuff I’ve mentioned and are hungry for more, it would definitely be a good idea to give a look at the coding courses on offered on these sites. Just google “best free coding courses Udemy/Khan Academy” and you’ll be inundated with a wealth of options.

Honorable Mention: Flexbox Froggy

Whenever I talk about learning CSS, I always have to mention Flexbox Froggy. This is less of a general CSS learning tool and more specifically to do with CSS’s Flexbox, which is a CSS module for moving around elements on a webpage. Flexbox is an essential thing to learn with CSS and Flexbox Froggy is a super simple and, honestly, fun way to learn it. Seriously, give it a go, it’s basically a game.

And that’s all I have for you. Now get going and give some (or all of these a try) and good luck. Learning to code is a long journey, but it doesn’t have to be stressful…or expensive (but it can be). Until next time!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store