4 Free Online Resources for Learning to Code

kathryn by Kathryn Hawkins on August 12, 2013
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Want to learn some basic HTML to keep your company’s website updated? Need to acquire some advanced skills, such as writing APIs, so you can develop web and mobile apps? In either case, knowing how to code can be a valuable skill for any entrepreneur.

Fortunately, you don’t need to pay hefty college tuition fees to learn to code. Many free resources exist that enable you to learn web development and programming skills online on your own time. Here are a few of the most popular options.

Codecademy

Codecademy offers free courses in website development and programming for students of all levels, from the absolute novice to the trained professional. Whether you want to learn the basics of HTML and CSS to help you build your first website or you’re eager to unravel the mysteries of Ruby on Rails, this site has something for you.

This site offers individual “tracks,” such as Web Fundamentals, jQuery, and Javascript, based on the technical skills you’re interested in learning. Each track comprises a series of courses that get progressively more advanced. By the time you complete an entire track, you’ll have hands-on experience in many aspects of coding that are relevant to real-world applications.

Code Racer

This web-based interactive game makes learning to code in HTML fun. In order to successfully complete the game, you must complete a series of progressively difficult coding challenges. You’re also competing against opponents in real-time, so you’ll need to be fast (and accurate) to beat them.

Although the game approach may not be the best strategy for getting a comprehensive overview of each concept, it can help you gain a quick grasp of coding and feel more comfortable with the process. The game is free, and you’ll have to log in with a Facebook account to use it.

Mozilla Developer Network

Mozilla, the developer of the free Firefox web browser, hosts a ton of free resources on the Mozilla Developer Network. The network offers lessons in the basics of website development, covering topics such as HTML and CSS coding, as well as more advanced subjects like JavaScript programming. All of the resources are provided by a team of volunteer developers.

TheCodePlayer

If you’re a visual learner, this site can help you get a better grip on the concepts involved in coding. TheCodePlayer offers a series of video tutorials that demonstrate how to build websites and apps using specific coding languages, such as building a vertical accordion menu using jQuery and CSS3 or using CSS3 to create a stopwatch.

After viewing the videos, you can examine the code itself to get a firsthand look at how everything came together. All of the video tutorials on the site are user-submitted; once you’ve successfully completed a coding project, you can share the results in your own case study.

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