How To Learn Code: Online Resources for Beginners
There is an unlimited supply of coding resources on the web. 110,000,000 according to Google Search. Learning a programming language online is an excellent way to stay up-to-date with newly added features.
Here at Headforwards, our team use a wide variety of online resources to help them stay ahead of the curve. We’ve picked out the ones we believe will point you in the right direction.
Before you Begin
Make sure you have an objective in mind. Here are some simple questions to ask yourself:
- What interests you? There are ecosystems focusing on specific areas of software development.
- What program language do you want to learn?
- What are you going to do with it?
- Do you want to learn multiple languages?
- Are you planning to code professionally? Find out what people are looking for. Some languages and ecosystems are more desirable than others.
Coding Resources for Beginners
In no particular order, here are some excellent resources to get stuck into.
Codeacadmy is a big name amongst the programming community. A lot of the courses feel like mini-games rather than the standard tasks others provide. This makes learning a little easier and less tedious. It lacks any video instruction but does have lots of useful hints and guides for anybody getting stuck along the way so it’s no big deal.
If you are serious about code, there is a paid option separate from the main resource pool. You can attend a 12-week course and work parallel to real-world projects with seasoned professionals in the US. It’s not free but it’s most definitely worth a look.
Cost: Pay-per-course (some are free)
Not technically a pure coding resource as there are courses on many other topics. Udemy’s pricing structure is based on a “pay per course” model. Most are well priced and provide ample knowledge. Currently, Udemy offers over 300 programming courses for beginners. Some have practical tasks and tests which give variety to learning.
The team at Code Avengers have achieved something really enjoyable. Learn, Practice, Test… and then play a mini-game to remove stress. It’s the perfect combination. Right now, they only offer a few courses on front-end languages – what they lack in quantity, they make up for in quality.
Hundreds of hours of lessons on lots of useful programming languages. Many apply code in real-world scenarios making things easier to understand. This is totally worth getting stuck into considering it’s a free resource that has a wealth of professional developers backing the project.
Cost: $25 – $37
Owned by LinkedIn, Lynda carries the same professional feel. The course quality is first rate. Although Lynda has courses for almost anything, its software development section ranks highly. Courses are broken down into small chunks with professionally filmed videos and useful offline content (top-tier plan). The monthly price can be off-putting for some, but it’s well worth it if you’re serious about code.
Cost: Free for Basic Courses, $15 a month for Premium Courses
TutsPlus has a huge library of short and sweet tutorials. If you’re the kind of person who likes to find their own way around and pick the bits you want to learn, this is for you. The length of the tutorials makes them easy to digest and require very little time.
Furthering your Knowledge
Take a look at the following resources for extending your knowledge of programming.
Price: $29 a month
Price: Varies depending on course
Udacity is next level. If you’re ready to reinforce your newly found knowledge. This is the place to do it. They offer a huge range of courses for the tech sector at varying levels of difficulty. The scale is huge. Udacity also offers “nano degrees” for anybody looking to add accreditation to their skillset.
Do Your Research
There are thousands of first-class resources out there. So make sure to trial a few before getting stuck in. Some may lack features you are looking for. Others might require a paid subscription after a few lessons.
Define Your Objective
Make sure you know you’re going to achieve your goals with whatever system you go with. If you are planning to make a career out of software development, consider the costs of the premium services as a viable option – some offer official accreditation which can add extra points to your CV – if that’s your goal.
What About Books?
Books are still a go-to resource. You can buy a handbook dedicated to the language of your choice and learn a lot. They are also really useful for referencing. Lots of developers here at Headforwards have programming books on their desks and shelves. But what happens when parts of a language are deprecated? What about updates and new features? Be aware that coding books can become outdated as versions progress. So keep on the lookout for new features online.
That said, there are a few essential reads for any programmer. Most of which do not focus on any particular language but instead talk about methodology, semantics, structure and testing.
Here are a few that have achieved godlike status among the coding community:
- The Mythical Man-month: Essays on Software Engineering
- The Pragmatic Programmer
- Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship
- Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code
Git / Github
At some point along your programming journey, you will encounter version control; better known as Git. Working with version control makes life simple. If you need to rollback code or allow somebody to work parallel to your project, this is the answer.
Brush Up On Your Numbers
Programming is problem-solving. In many cases, it will involve algorithms of some sort, so knowing your numbers is crucial. Have a look at Project Euler.
Stuck On A Problem?
They say that developers visit this site on average 3-4 times a day. We are of course talking about Stack Overflow. Arguably the best resource for any coding problem you are unable to overcome. It’s difficult to find a question that hasn’t been asked. So do your research before reaching for help.