With 2020 keeping us home for extended periods of time, more and more people are growing their skillsets online. Learning online is affordable, flexible, and easily personalized.
The benefits are clear but the outcomes are profound - students, remote workers, academics, and builders are all benefiting from online learning. I even taught myself new technical skills from the resources that follow.
This learning led me to build a website from scratch for people and students to work from home. Pretty cool, right?
With the right resources and tools, you too can achieve learning outcomes that translate into immediate results and help you build products.
But finding all of the right tools to enhance your education in one place is hard. This article addresses that: by making it easy to find all of the resources you need to learn how to code in one article, I hope that you can start learning sooner.
How does online learning work?
Some people are skeptical about learning online. The old-school thought is that you need 1:1 lessons, real time feedback, and collaboration among peers.
But guess what? All of those core benefits are now online. One of my best friends is not in technology, but practices law. He told me about his time in law school practicing and deploying the Socratic method.
This form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking, helped him retain material, deeply understand core concepts, and practice.
These websites deploy a similar set of experiences for users: you are forced to learn, practice, engage, actually code, see your mistakes, understand what you have done well, and track your progress.
Much like the Socratic method, these websites hone your critical thinking skills. And they are relentless in their focus on improving your general aptitude to see problems, recognize patterns, and ultimately improve.
Without further ado, here are the best free, most reliable, educational websites for learning how to code.
freeCodeCamp is a non-profit organization in the United States, dedicated to helping people learn to code for free.
Through their content, which includes interactive coding tutorials supported by videos and articles, they have assisted 40,000 learners in landing their dream jobs in companies like Google, Spotify, Microsoft, and more.
You can get certifications by completing courses in various categories. freeCodeCamp offers content on Web Design, Quality Assurance, Data Visualization, Machine Learning, and other additional topics. They also cover coding adjacent frameworks such as Agile/Scrum methodologies.
This website is one of the best references for students, employees, or managers to grow their skills and keep up with the newest in their fields.
It offers free courses, tutorials, and a ton of resources on almost anything you would like to learn. These options are compiled and taught by professors from the top universities from all over the world.
You can explore so much coding-centric content on Coursera. It’s worth noting that if you want certifications through Coursera, you will hit their paywall.
However, you can learn an introduction to programming, HTML, CSS, loT programming, C language, Python, Java, and more for free from a beginner’s level or higher.
Coursera also has non technical content, which can help you understand a broader array of topics including product design, digital marketing, and even tax planning. All interesting and relevant content.
Codecademy is a platform dedicated specifically to coding. According to their website, 45 million learners have developed their coding skills through their website in only seven years.
You can start your Codecademy learning journey by evaluating your coding skills in order to find out which level suits you the best. Or, if you are a beginner, get ready to begin coding within minutes.
Their learning software allows you to learn by doing, aka ‘practice makes perfect’. With instant testing of your coding skills, you are assured that you are correctly applying what you are learning.
They offer great tool tips and real time feedback to unblock you as the learning modules increase in difficulty.
You have a variety of options with the subjects you could learn including Web Development, Data Science, Computer Science, Machine Learning, Web Design, Game Development, and Mobile Development.
edX offers free online courses by esteemed and reputable universities like Harvard, MIT, Georgetown, the University of British Columbia, and more. They have several categories to choose from but if you are after learning coding, you will definitely find the ones for you.
To get a verified certificate, you will have to pay. There are also some courses that require paying but for the most part, you could learn a great amount just by attending the free courses.
Udemy is quite a unique learning platform since it is the home to the world’s largest collection of courses. Well, that’s because all of their content is user-generated so your instructor can be an expert, a professor, or a fellow coder.
There are plenty of free and paid courses regarding the web development world. While choosing the course for you, make sure to check the ratings that others have given - that’s generally a decent barometer on how you should prioritize courses.
Then, start learning Design, IT, Software Development, and level up from beginner to professional.
This platform provides a wide range of free and paid courses that help learners perfect their desired skills by practicing in real life projects. That aids in landing a job right after improving your professional and technical skills.
You have free range with the time you need to master your next tech skill as well as the liberty to choose from their diverse options. Their categories include Programming, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, and more.
W3Schools is one of the oldest and largest online schools. It’s really great if you want to brush up on current schools. I highly recommend their SQL tutorial. It works to not only assist you in learning coding but also in consistently re-learning certain syntaxes and commands.
I used to reference their SQL documentation on a regular basis when I was starting out.
So even if you are a coding professional, W3Schools is filled with references and examples to help you stay on top of your game at all times. They also have a pretty decent video library of tutorials.
A former colleague used this site to learn how to build an SMB server as he was brushing up on his devops skills. The content that you can learn and practice is, in other words, immediately applicable.
This amazing platform has transformed learning to code into something very social and interactive. SoloLearn works to create a community of developers where learners can interact, collect points, and appear in their ‘Top Learners’ section.
It is available both on the web and on a mobile application so you can learn anywhere, anytime. In addition, you can become part of the conversation. You can ask questions, answer other people's questions, and have fun with other learners on the ‘Code Playground’ and ‘Discuss’ sections.
Microsoft is now offering a new platform that presents an interactive experience to learn technical skills that compliment Microsoft products and services including Azure, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics, and more.
Microsoft Learn helps learners get hands-on with coding whether they are at beginner or advanced levels.
Learners can choose to stay online and learn at their own pace or join instructor led lessons. Of course, you always have the option to get certified by the platform.
This platform is one of a kind in its function and application. If you would like to find multiple courses from different sources at the same place, look no further than Hackr.io.
The website’s algorithm allows anyone to post their course, but with votes from users, the best ones get upvoted to the top. You can use filters to drown out the irrelevant courses and tutorials and only pick from the ones that match your needs.
Conclusion: Learning to Code via free websites
When you learn online, you are empowered to move at your own pace, explore topics more deeply that you care about, and harness the power of virtual communities to accelerate your understanding of foundational topics.
Building a list of the top resources takes some digging and some guess work. You need to ask questions, poke around, and try the sites out. Use this list as your guide, but do your own digging as well.
These websites are not only educational resources - they are products unto themselves. That means that they have strengths and areas for improvement. I love building products and by using an array of these websites I have improved my abilities and aptitude.
I hope these sites help with whatever you are building, be it technology to stream videos, building a web app for yourself, or using technology to cultivate communities around shared interests.
You now have your stepping stones for learning coding, so start your journey and make a shift for 2021.