Have you ever visited a site or used a program only to wish you had the skills to create something just as useful? Computer programming often seems like learning the world’s most difficult foreign language, especially if you’re a complete beginner. It doesn’t have to be nearly that hard. In fact, it’s actually fun if you take the right courses.
Most of these sites are designed to help you go from wondering what on earth an array is to crafting your own basic apps and web pages. Once you have the basics down, learning the more advanced techniques becomes much easier.
If you’re more of a hands-on style learner, Codecademy is a great place to start. It’s completely free and uses an interactive approach to help you learn programming basics. Currently, you can choose between seven different languages with more on the way. I personally love that you don’t have to download any software. All courses are completed online and at your own pace. It’s fun and there’s no pressure.
W3Schools has been around for years and it’s a site I personally use to refresh myself when I haven’t used a language in a while. It’s free and designed for all skill levels. Think of it as a selection of courses designed to grow your expertise over time. If there’s any major web development language you want to try your hand at, this is the place to go.
While Code Avengers isn’t free, it offers the perfect blend of entertaining and interactive to keep you focused without ever being bored. There’s only a handful of courses at the moment, but more are planned. At only $29 per course (with the intro levels offered for free), it’s cheaper than taking a traditional class. Great online demos and games help you see just how fun programming can really be.
First of all, I highly recommend trying out one of the above sites before using Udacity. If you want a more guided approach like you’d find in a classroom, this site is perfect. However, it isn’t free. Most courses are over $100, but you’ll have “personalized coaching” throughout each course. From software to web development, the site has it all. Plus, each course lets you complete projects to add to your portfolio which you can show off to potential employers.
Other Sites To Consider
While the above are focused solely on computer programming, many other sites offer a wide variety of courses such as math, science, history and of course, computer science. This article provides details on over 16 different sites for free online courses.
This list of free programming courses provide a unique approach to learning to program. In fact, many actually use games to teach new skills. They’re fun sites for both beginners and experts. Many are designed to encourage kids to try programming as well.
Where To Start
If you’re new to programming, it may be hard to figure out which language to start with. Udemy has put together an excellent guide to help you discover which languages to begin with depending on what type of programming you want to do.
My advice is to just start somewhere. Once you learn one language, you’ll find the others are easier. While I started with C++ and C# years ago, I’ve been able to learn many others along the way as a result.