The 7 Best Ways to Learn How to Code for Free – MUO – MakeUseOf


You can’t learn to code for free. Unless you give these tried and tested resources a go, of course.
You’ve probably come across the term ‘coding’ plenty of times, and if you haven’t, then this is the best place to start. As we progress into the 21st century, the need for code continues to increase. Coding used to be limited to computers and video games, but now it encompasses every part of our lives.
Coding is now an essential part of most major industries such as healthcare, finance, engineering, etc. The increasing impact of coding worldwide, in turn, exponentially increases the demand for proficient coders. Read on as we walk you through the basics of coding and how you, too, can learn to code.
Coding, in essence, is the ability to make a computer do a particular task through instructions written in a programming language. Computer code is all around us, Google, social media apps, the banking websites you use, all of this, and much more are made possible through code.
There could be many reasons you want to learn to code. Maybe you want to learn more about how websites or video games work, or perhaps you’re looking to make a career transition towards the tech industry, or maybe you’re just curious to understand what the commotion is all about. Either way, there’s never a reason not to learn to code; it’s an essential skill in today’s age and can open new career pathways.
There are thousands of freely available resources that you can use to learn to code. Beginners are often confused and unsure how to begin because there are many programming languages to choose from. So you must know what your end goal is and then choose an appropriate programming language to begin with.
If you want to build a website from scratch, you want to look at web development resources for beginners and start with HTML and CSS. Alternatively, if you want to start building mobile apps and games, you should look into Android or iOS app development courses.
You could start coding in Python (the most popular programming language) and create fun projects for beginners. Below we take a closer look into some of the top programming languages.
HTML and CSS are the languages that control the look of websites you see daily. HTML is responsible for marking code so that computers can understand it, whereas CSS is used alongside HTML to format and style content.
Front-end web development is one the best places to begin if you want to learn to code. A large majority of successful programmers today began their coding careers by learning HTML and CSS.
Related: Easiest Programming Languages to Learn for Beginners
There are tons of available HTML and CSS resources, so it’s pertinent that you choose one that helps you learn to code everything from your first “Hello World” to a functional website.
Once you get the hang of basic HTML and CSS, you should look into creating beginner web projects independently and then transition towards learning JavaScript to gain applicable professional skills.
Note: HTML is actually a “markup” language, and CSS is a “style sheet” language. While commonly referred to as programming languages, neither of them have the ability to add logic to your app in a way that, say, Java would.
Java is one of the most fundamental programming languages for desktop apps, operations systems, mobile app development, and much more. The object-oriented programming language is one of the most popular languages around.
However, Java is not ideally suited for beginners, as many programming concepts required in Java are a bit too advanced for first-timers. So it would be better to start with C/C++ and then work in Java.
C and C++ are two of the most popular software development languages. They also happen to be an excellent starting point for those who want to learn to code. You can start small with easy beginner projects and then move on towards object-oriented programming.
C++ is primarily used in software development and video-game development, and although not ideal for mobile or desktop apps, it’ll get the job done.
Quite possibly the most modern programming language nowadays, Python is powerful, fairly easy to pick up, and a great starting point if you want to learn to code. Python is very flexible and is not as strict with programming conventions when compared to Java or C/C++.
Python is a great way to start your coding career with applications in web development, machine learning, game development, and more.
Now that you know the different programming languages, let’s jump into the best resources to learn to code (as a bonus, they’re free!)
freeCodeCamp is a fantastic website that has helped millions of people start their coding careers. The web development courses at freeCodeCamp are phenomenal and cover various technologies such as HTML, CSS, React, and Javascript.
Udemy is a unique online education platform that offers courses to eager students and lets skilled professionals create and sell their courses. You can use Udemy to learn web development, data science, machine learning, or individual programming languages. There are tons of free courses to choose from, regardless of what you want to learn; Udemy has you covered.
MIT OpenCourseWare lets you take complete free courses on a variety of subjects. The computer science course listing contains courses from the foundation ICT courses to in-depth courses such as Data Structures and Algorithms. MIT OCW is a fantastic place to learn code if you want to dive into the depths of programming.
Like Udemy, Coursera offers accredited courses from top varsity universities that users can attend for free. You can learn almost anything through Coursera; C/C++, web development, Java, mobile app development, etc.
The courses usually include video lectures, assignments, and quizzes to reinforce learning and make sure your programming skills develop well. Bear in mind that when you choose to audit courses, you won’t receive a completion certificate.
You’re probably familiar with Khan Academy, and we believe it’s one of the best things to come out of the internet. The non-profit educational platform offers something for everyone.
While it’s not ideal for learning programming, they offer a few introductory courses to help you get started. You can also apply some of the mathematical concepts, such as recursion, offered in Khan Academy tutorials.
YouTube’s prowess as an educational platform is criminally underrated. While YouTube is excellent for learning mathematics, science, and other subjects, it’s better if you stay away from coding tutorials on YouTube. Tutorials are often outdated and incomplete, but you can find helpful coding tutorials if you look hard enough.
edX is a non-profit organization that provides free-of-cost college-level courses online. Like MIT OpenCourseWare, edX offers courses for different subjects and has divided them into categories depending on their difficulty. edX offers plenty of computer programming courses so that you can learn coding from the most reputed varieties like NYU and Harvard.
Coding is an essential part of the world, and if you want to start somewhere, the resources above are the perfect place to begin. Remember that just like any other career, coding takes time and effort. Sometimes its best to start with simple programming concepts such as for, while or do while loops.
Make sure to fully grasp the fundamentals before jumping into different technologies and languages. It’s best to start with Python or C/C++ (or HTML/CSS) and then gradually expand your skills. There is no such thing as an overnight success when it comes to coding; remember to enjoy as you learn at your own pace.
Tired of copy-pasting the same line of code over and over? Take care of that with these Java loop explanations and examples.
Fahad is a writer at MakeUseOf and is currently majoring in Computer Science. As an avid tech-writer he makes sure he stays updated with the latest technology. He finds himself particularly interested in football and technology.
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