Top 12 Free resources for learning code

Top 12 FREE resources for learning code

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In this day and age, you can learn almost anything with the amount of information that is out there. And code is no exception. There are tons of resources, and actually, that is part of the problem, the other part is cost. Some courses can carry a hefty price tag, I mean, have you ever looked at the cost of a boot camp?! Others may be reasonably priced but will require a monthly subscription. Again, there will be those so strapped for cash that they cannot afford a perceived long term commitment. So, is it possible to learn code for FREE? Well, this was something I certainly explored when I realized how expensive babies are!

I think the whole world knows that kids are expensive. But before they are even here you have already kitted out a nursery with all the essentials. Spent God know’s how much on a pimped out pram. And filled your home with boxes of nappies and wipes in anticipation for the coming dirty bombs.

Then, when they are finally here, they grow out of everything you bought in the first few weeks and proceed to work their way through formula, nappies, and wipes at an alarming rate. And that’s all pennies compared to covering the cost of childcare.

So naturally, any way of saving money was explored, and that includes learning code. But what did I find?

In no particular order, here are my top 12 resources to help you learn code for FREE…

Codecademycodecademy

Codecademy is one of the best free resources to begin your learning journey. I myself started learning Java here. And if Java doesn’t spark your interest don’t worry, they have a great selection of other languages and technologies you can learn. From HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby, Git, Python and even API’s.

Codecademy is free but they also offer a paid pro version which comes with more quizzes, projects, a personalized learning path, and an adviser.

I found Codecademy was a great start. It is easy to follow and highly recommended for beginners. I personally didn’t upgrade to the paid version, but I certainly found the free tracks gave me a brilliant foundation to build on. Defiantly check it out if you want to ease yourself in.

Topics taught:  Python, Java, PHP, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS, ReactJS, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, SQL,  API’s and Sass.

Udemy

Udemy

You may be wondering why Udemy is on this list as the majority of its courses come with a fee. Although that is true, Udemy also offers a selection of free courses uploaded by its instructors, and some are surprisingly good! They will definitely teach you the basics and set you on the right path.

Udemy has an extensive library of course, on near enough all programming subjects and languages. Some topics may be more popular than others. Therefore, those topics will have more free videos. It really depends on what you want to learn. But if you’re looking for a free option its worth having a look.

If you do have a bit of spare cash I would highly recommend purchasing a paid course. Udemy has some brilliant instructors, which I have first-hand experience of. You will learn so much more by comparison. If that doesn’t persuade you, it’s worth noting that Udemy regularly has sales, where you can pick up a course for as little as £10.

Topics taught: Too many to list

Free Code Camp

FreeCodeCamp

This is another very popular platform, especially for aspiring web developers, and as the title says, it’s FREE.

You will learn the basics, starting with HTML and CSS. Then, your will move onto other web technologies and languages such as JavaScript, Bootstrap, Node.js, and React.js to name a few. There are literally hundreds of hours of content available, which even includes an interview preparation section.

It’s a very practical platform where you complete coding challenges and building projects. And to cap it off, you can even receive verified certificates as you progress.

At present Free Code Camp is very web focused but I have seen that they are starting to expand into other areas such as Game Development and Machine Learning. So stay tuned.

Topics taught: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, ReactJS, NodeJS, Bootstrap, JQuery, Algorithms,  JSON, Ajax, API’s, Saas and MongoDB

Khan Academy

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a very general purpose learning platform, unlike Free Code Camp, which focuses on the particular path of a web developer. Rather, you will get a foundation understanding of Computer Science, plus access to other subjects such as Maths and Engineering.

You will also learn about Web Development as it covers HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JQuery as well as SQL (databases). But I think what sets Khan Academy apart from others is the easy access to other subjects such as Maths. Brushing up on Maths can be quite beneficial to your programming skills so it is great to have that option.

The platform is aimed at all ages including children so don’t feel patronized if it looks like the subjects start at a low level.

Topics taught: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JQuery, SQL, Maths, Science and Engineering and other broader topics

General Assembly Dash

GA Dash

The main General Assembly website is a learning platform to learn anything from Business, Design, and Marketing, to Web Development and Programming. However, these courses come with a price tag. But General Assembly Dash is a completely FREE dedicated online course in Web Development.

The course covers all the standard technologies you need to know in order to create stunning websites. I really like the fact that the course is project based. This means you learn by doing, which is always the best way.

If Web Development interests you then I recommend taking a look.

Topics taught: Web Development, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Responsive Design, UI

edXedX

edX has quite prestigious credentials as it’s actually governed by Harvard and MIT.

Currently, as of writing the post, the platform has over 1700 courses on various subjects, and over 400 courses related to computer science. Meaning they are not short on content!

The only negative I would say is that it can be a little hard to find what you want. However, you will find courses delivered by credible institutions such as Microsoft. So I guess you could say it’s worth the search.

There is also an option to receive a verified certificate at the end of your course, however, this will cost you. The price is generally around $100.

Topics taught: Too many to list

CourseraCoursera

What stands out for me with Coursera is that all its courses are taught by University professors. So this alone gives some peace of mind to the quality of its courses.

As for the number of courses, you are truly spoilt! There are over 2000 in a broad selection of topics including Science and Engineering, Business, Maths, Languages, Arts and of course the important topic, Computer Science.

You will find courses in various programming languages, concepts, and fields. Really, whatever your programming needs, there is likely to be a course on it.

Finally, again like edX, you have an option to obtain a verified certificate at a similar rate of up to $100.

Topics taught: Too many to list

CodewarsCodewars

This is an amazing platform that turns the experience of learning to program into a game, which is really refreshing.

The whole environment is designed to make you feel like a coding ninja. You will engage in ninja training to earn points, increase your honor and level up in rank. Training comes in a series of challenges known as “Kata’s”, which vary in difficulty.

Select your weapon’s of choice, i.e. your programming languages, to complete the challenges.

Codewars has a strong community, which will also help you learn and grow. You can even create your own “clan” to help you really get in the spirit of Codewars.

You don’t have to be an expert programmer to join, but I would recommend having a little experience. Only because a complete beginner might be left scratching their heads when they are faced with even the self-proclaimed “easy” challenges. But if you have some basics knowledge it can be a really handy platform.

Codewars is not a course designed to take your from zero to expert programmer. But rather to improve your existing programming skills in a fun and addictive environment. It is definitely a great resource to help you grow.

Topics taught: Clojure, C, C++, C#, Crystal, Dart, Elixir, F#, Go, Haskell, Java, JavaScript, PHP, Python, Ruby, Rust, Shell, SQL, Swift, TypeScript

YouTube

YouTube

You may have already considered YouTube, and rightly so, it’s full of great content, which is FREE. However, it can be hard to find what you want because there is SO MUCH content. A classics case of information overload. So to help you out I have whipped up a quick mini list of great YouTuber’s who can help with your coding quest.

I have personally subscribed to all these channels and have found something useful on each one. And I would highly recommend checking them out yourself because the chances are you will find what you are looking for.

Most of them provide playlists and tutorials designed to teach you certain programming languages, frameworks, and topics. Many of the playlists can actually feel course like in nature. So again, take a look.

Topics taught: Too many to list

The Odin ProjectThe Odin Project

This is another resource for the aspiring Web Developer. It’s not really a learning platform where you work through a series of video tutorials. Instead, it acts as more of a personal guide and mentor.

It will give you an intro to answer some of your questions, provide reference material and direct you to other learning resources to help you build projects and explore Web Development.

I guess you can think of it as a catalog of some of the best content on the web for learning Web Development.

You will also benefit from a community as it has a Glitter chat room where you can receive support from fellow developers. Learning code on your own is hard but the burden is much lighter when you have a supportive community.

The Odin Project aims to give you a path, build a portfolio and connect you with others in the pursuit of a Web Development career.

Topics taught: Web Development, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby, Ruby on Rails and JQuery

Upskill

Upskill

I was actually quite amazed when I discovered Upskill, I initially thought it was a scam because the quality looks so great and it’s FREE.

Again if you are looking to get into Web Development this is a brilliant start. It’s all delivered as video tutorials, which you follow along to. If you prefer video content this is a great contender.

You simply sign up with an email and boom, you’re enrolled on their “Free Essential Web Developer Course”, where you will learn Full Stack Web Development. The course currently covers HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Ruby on Rails.

However, as of writing this blog post, course material is still being added so keep an eye out. They do also offer a couple of paid courses but these are optional.

Topics taught: Web Development, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby on Rails plus others to come

Sololearn

Sololearn

Sololearn comes as a mobile app and is a brilliant resource. However, I wouldn’t recommend using this as your only learning platform. While it is a great aid, in my personal experience it will only provide you with the basics of various languages.

In addition, it will only teach concepts (i.e. loops, variables, data structures etc) and not best coding practices or actually how to program. There is a difference between knowing syntax and programming.

That said, the reason I included it on the list is that being a mobile learning platform has some real benefits. Namely, learning on the go. Whenever you need to brush up or remind yourself of a particular concept the app is right there.

You will find yourself learning through a series of challenges and quizzes as you progress through the tutorials. But the big selling point is its community and the gamified learning process. You can connect with other coders, see their codes, experiment, and even challenge other for XP to increase your rank.

I found Sololearn very useful at the start. Having to work full time, while learning code meant I couldn’t always fully immerse myself. But having Sololearn on hand to play around with on my breaks was handy.

Topics taught: C++, C#, Java, Python, JavaScript, PHP, Swift, Ruby, JQuery, HTML, CSS, SQL

Summary

I hope this list has been helpful, but before I sign off I just want to leave you with one little bit of advice.

Don’t feel you have to pick and stick to one platform. Different resources and platforms will offer different things so opening yourself up to a wider bank of knowledge will give you a bigger picture. Also, you need to find what works for you so that means experimenting.

Again, I hope you find this post useful and I will catch you next time.

Feature image created by Macrovector – Freepik.com

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About the Author Owen

Creator of Code Dad, father and self-taught programmer. My mission is to balance life, work, family, all while learning to code, and hopefully help others who want to do the same.

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