7 Places to Learn to Code – for Free!

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7 Places to Learn to Code – for Free! | Search Engine Journal

Over my 10-year internet marketing career, my biggest personal competitive advantage was having an electrical engineering degree and being comfortable doing coding.

Nowadays, you don’t have to go back to college (and take on the huge loan or remortgage your house) to get up to speed.

The ability to code (and to participate in conversations around programming) is indispensable; it’s not a skill reserved for the uber-geeky. It allows business professionals to identify and quickly resolve issues like a string of wonky HTML in a content management system, to more effectively optimize landing pages, or leverage powerful new AdWords Scripts.

It also gives you a unique new perspective in content development, when you understand the inner workings of your systems and can play around in it and get creative.

If you want to learn to code, check out these free places to get started:

1. Try Codecademy for Hands-On Basic Coding Experience

Codecademy is on a lofty mission to fix education, which they say is broken (whether or not you agree, there’s merit in their statement).

Featured in Wired, Bloomberg, The Guardian and dozens of other major publications, it’s one of the more popular free coding options.

7 Places to Learn to Code – for Free! | Search Engine Journal

If you’re looking for theory, this probably isn’t the best place to start. Codecademy’s style is to throw you straight into the deep end of the coding pool with interactive lessons designed to build hands-on experience.

You can choose from a variety of courses including HTML & CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Python, Ruby on Rails and more.

Here, you’ll learn how to code, but you won’t gain a deep understanding into why you’re doing anything you’re doing. There are other resources for that, but if you’re a marketer or you’re using and HTML-based CMS In your work, hands-on experience is just what you need.

2. For Theory, Head to MIT Open Courseware

If you really want to dig into the theory behind coding and better understand the “why,” MIT offers a number of programming courses. Their Open Courseware site features material from 2,150 MIT courses – all open and available to the world.

Beginners should start out with the Introduction to Computer Science and Programming course, which requires a commitment of three hours per week. Students communicate with one another using the OpenStudy platform and forums and the course includes video lectures, text resources and an exam.

3. Coding Lessons Gamified with Khan Academy

One of the first online resources to offer free coding lessons, Khan Academy has a unique teaching approach that often provides education through gaming elements.

Their Computer Programming course is no different. Using drawings, games and animations, Khan Academy teaches JavaScript, HTML and CSS. Students can interact with one another online and even share the work they’ve created.

4. Udemy Offers Video-Based Learning

7 Places to Learn to Code – for Free! | Search Engine Journal

If you learn best through a combination of watching, listening and practicing on your own, Udemy is a great place to get started with coding. Instructors can be anyone from educational institutions to professionals in the field – and they set their own course prices. There are dozens of free programming courses available at Udemy.

Students can leave reviews on each course, so you can see what others thought of it before deciding which one to take. There are also a ton of options if you’re looking to learn a specific language or program, as well.

5. Udacity Offers World-Class Lessons Free of Charge

Udacity is the brainchild of Stanford Research Professor and Google Fellow Sebastien Thrun, inventor of the driverless car. He had a vision to democratize education by making courses available free to students online, all over the world.

Their Intro to Computer Science program takes about 3 months to complete at 6 hours per week. By the time you’re done, you’ll have built your own search engine and social network! You can browse the course materials free of charge, or take a full course with coaching for a fee.

6. Coursera Opens the Door to International University Courses

7 Places to Learn to Code – for Free! | Search Engine Journal

Think of Coursera as a doorway to free courses from universities the world over. Their free introductory coding courses come from reputable institutions like the University of Toronto, the University of Edinburgh, and Stanford. Many courses are also available in different languages.

You can participate in Coursera courses free of charge or, where available, pay a course fee to earn a verified certificate.

7. Just Try an Hour of Code

Code.org is a non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it more available. They just launched in 2013 and already, 59 million students around the world have tried an hour of code in classrooms, at hosted events and at home or work on their own computers.

Their courses are geared more towards younger people, with games and animated lessons, but it’s a great place to try coding free without committing to anything huge. If you aren’t yet sure how learning to code could benefit you, definitely give one of their courses a try. In addition to their introductory course, Code.org offers courses in JavaScript, Python, game coding and more.

Learning to Code Just Might Make You a Better Marketer

Basic coding skills can certainly help you understand the issues facing others on your team and involved in your projects, but you may even learn to make edits and build sites or apps yourself.

Who knows – you might even love it!

Do you have a favorite free coding resource? Share yours for others in the comments.

This post originally appeared on Wordstream, and is re-published with permission.

Larry Kim

Larry Kim

CTO and Founder at WordStream
Larry Kim founded WordStream in 2007. Today he serves as company CTO and is a contributor to both the product team and marketing teams. Larry practices photography in his spare time.
Larry Kim
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  • Juan Delgado

    Great learning resources Larry, will definitely checkout audacity!

    Thank you, Juan

  • http://www.coderdojo.org Alan Clayton

    Coder Dojo is another global FREE programming community for young people – only rule ? Be Cool !!!

  • http://hostingcycle.com Andrew

    I am learning coding from last 2 months from w3schools to be frank I think I am getting better by practicing it daily. Great list Larry. I am going to check the MIT course as I need to know little bit more about the theory.
    Andrew

  • http://www.infotainmentweb.com Kashyap Joshi

    Hello Larry,
    Great resources.
    I’m a computer science student, and just finished my bachelor’s degree, so these resources will help me to learn more. Thanks. 🙂

  • http://www.sitebee.co.uk Sitebee

    For myself, It was the other way around, I learn`t to code first, html, css, php etc. I stumbled upon internet marketing through wanting my websites to rank higher.

  • James Morrisson

    Thanks for putting all this together Larry.

    Web coding for me is learnt as it is practised and through forums/friends…
    but I wish I had access to these when I started.

    James:)

  • Evoluted

    Hi Larry,

    Thanks for this great list of resources! I think Codecademy is a particular good way to continue to learn new coding languages.

  • http://www.obbserv.com/ Prateek

    Thanks for the list of websites.
    Coursera is amazing. Sometimes I also use W3School for HTML, CSS, PHP, JS, SQL, ASP, & XML.

  • http://socialhospitality.com Debbie Miller

    Thanks for the great list, Larry!

  • JohnDavid

    Code is very important and Your site make the code more important and attractive to learn. Easily to understand and help to get all important code site at a GLANCE. Thankssssss Again…

  • David Faltz

    Great stuff Larry!! Thanks for sharing these resources. I have basically learned by working on many of my client’s sites for small changes, but this could help me take it a step further. It is nice to be able to handle some tasks yourself, instead of always relying on your development team, especially when they are bogged down with other projects. Now I just need to find the time 🙂

  • Rob

    You don’t learn code FOR free.
    You learn code free.

    Perhaps you can post 7 places to learn grammar 🙂

  • http://www.bloggersneed.com Amitesh singh

    Hello larry
    Personally i checked all the link and all links are very useful for any programmer who will be beginner or expert but these sites helps lots…

    Thanks,
    Amitesh

  • safa786

    Codecademy’s style is to throw you straight into the deep end of the coding pool with interactive lessons designed to build hands-on experience