In a previous post, we looked at 5 bankable online skills you can learn in the next 60 days. One of those skills is web development, basically coding. In this post, I will show you 5 free websites where you can learn coding.
Anybody can learn to code these days. Gone are the days when coding was left for mysterious looking, geek programmers. Coding is fun, rewarding and fulfilling if you learn and practice.
Programming used to be an expensive affair, especially with top institutions like NIIT and AfriHub where you could pay anything north of N120,000 to learn Java programming (current price may have changed, though).
Now the internet revolution is changing everything, making things so much easier and so you can learn programming from the comfort of your home, totally free of charge, all at your own pace and ready to start your tech career.
Before I go ahead and show you 5 places you can start your programming lessons right now, I hear someone asking: why do I need to learn programming?
Well, if you are going to be a tech entrepreneur (investors favor tech ideas) you need an innovative tech idea and some programming skills. Of course, you can get by with no coding skills since you can partner with experienced programmers to bring your idea to life. But, knowing how programming works allows you to refine (fine-tune) your idea. It also brings you to the point where you understand, at a basic level, what your programmer is talking about so that you can make inputs without feeling like Simbi in StrangerLand.
Even if you don’t have an innovative tech idea, you can still make decent income as a programmer working for a company and/or as a freelancer. According to this report by PayScale, programmers make about $60k/year or $21/hour as at March, 2017. So while you may not be a CEO (yet), having good programming skills can fetch you a full-time income even if you work part-time (freelance).
Lastly, programming is a fun skill to have. Technology is changing how we live life and relate with one another. It’s amazing what wonders several lines of code can work. As a programmer, you get to experience first-hand the power of code-creation (creating stuff using codes).
So if I have convinced you enough, let us look at some of the places you can learn coding for free.
Where to learn programming
I started learning programming on Free Code Camp. They teach you to design and build responsive web applications using real-life examples.
One good thing about Free Code Camp is they have a buzzing community of campers who are more than willing to help out when you get stuck. More often than not, you will get stuck. You can also connect with campers in your city, a perfect way to meet more people and build a network of professionals around you.
One drawback with FCC is the lack of details in their lessons. This is usually a challenge with beginners who know nothing about tags and attributes, but it is generally a good thing because it forces you to dig up more resources (just like I did) and learn better.
Another thing is the lack of option to choose what to learn. If you want to start learning Ruby, for example, FCC does not have that option for you to choose. Everybody starts from HTML5 and CSS.
SoloLearn is a lot like FCC. They start you off with building web applications using HTML5 and CSS. They also have an amazingly buzzing community of learners and they often hold coding contests which is good for motivation.
I stumbled on SoloLearn because I was looking for more resources to expand the knowledge I got from FCC. If you can learn fast, you can earn your first certificate on SoloLearn within a few hours. My learning buddy did (I didn’t 🙁 )
Code Academy is most suited to teach beginners. I thoroughly enjoyed learning on their website. Their lessons are elaborate and they take time to explain confusing terms like Serif and Sans-Serif. You get to choose what you want to learn so it’s a better option if your mind is made up on where to start learning from. Their strongest point is the depth of their lessons – they are much deeper than most other websites.
On Edx, you can learn anything you want. Think of learning on Edx like learning in a real school. Most of their courses are free but you pay a little fee to get certificates for courses you successfully edit. Their certificates are issued by top schools like Harvard so they are worth more than you would be required to pay. If the knowledge is all you need, you can edit their courses free of charge. Sites like Edx take online learning to a whole new level and they do it for free.
Coursera is a lot like Edx. They offer university-like courses which you can edit for free and pay for the certificate if you want to. I took a few courses on Coursera and they are awesome. Unlike FCC, you choose what you want to learn and they use graded assignments to enforce learning. Like Edx, they have video lessons which is good for learning.
Coding is hard. I should have said this earlier but I’m telling you now; it’s not a stroll in the park. But these websites make learning to code very easy and fun. You can set a marker for yourself and get some programming skills for yourself. I can assure you it’s a rewarding experience.
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