A woman using a laptop How to Learn to Code for Free

How to Learn to Code for Free

Are you looking to hone your coding skills or kickstart your career in coding? The applicability of coding in careers across tech and business has made coding a sought-after skill. With its increasing relevance, multiple platforms have started offering programs and other materials to learn how to code. Even better, you can learn to code for free. 

There are over 130,000 user-created courses on the Internet, both paid and free. This article focuses on courses, workshops, apps, and games that will help you learn Python, JavaScript, CSS, and other programming languages without spending a dime.

What Is a Coding Language?

Coding languages are the bridge between humans and computers. They allow us to communicate our thoughts into instructions that a computer can understand and execute. Coders and programmers use coding languages to develop software, applications, and scripts.

Computers communicate in binary, which is composed of 1s and 0s. Coding language translates our instructions into binary language with the aid of a compiler. Languages that need a compiler to communicate with the computer are called high-level languages.

However, there are programming languages with syntax close to binary, so they do not need to pass the instructions through the compiler. These languages are called low-level languages. 

How to Choose the Right Programming Language

Before you start learning how to code, you must first choose what languages you need to learn and what learning platform to use. This could be challenging when you consider the many options available.

Most programmers would recommend that you identify a problem first and see which coding language you should learn to tackle the problem. For instance, if you want to know how you can design a website better, you’ll need to learn CSS and HTML. 

However, if you’re only looking to learn to code just for the fun of it or so that you can add it to your resume, then it might be best to pick one of the popular programming languages today like Python, JavaScript, and Java. 

Best Ways to Learn How to Code for Free

Everyone can learn to code for free, whether by taking a coding class, a coding workshop, or a coding bootcamp. Coding bootcamps offer a short, intensive learning path to help you develop job-ready tech skills. Most offer programs online or in person. 

Below are some of the best ways to learn how to code for free.

Free Coding Classes and Courses

Online coding classes are one of the free, easy-to-access avenues to learn to code. You can easily sign up for one of the many coding classes on the Internet and take courses on the language you want to learn. Here are a few classes to consider.

freeCodeCamp

freeCodeCamp is a non-profit teaching platform with the primary aim of teaching people how to code. It offers a highly interactive website that contains coding lessons, videos, and articles as well as learning communities of students all around the world. 

freeCodeCamp employs a direct teaching style that simplifies essential programming concepts, making it easier for learners to grasp the fundamentals of coding. You can learn JavaScript, React.js, Databases, CSS, and HTML, to mention a few.

freeCodeCamp has a reputation for producing graduates that have gone to work in major companies like Spotify, Google, and Apple. 

It is an awesome resource for students who like self-learning. What’s more, you get a certificate at the end of the course. With zero cost, freeCodeCamp is one of the best free ways to learn how to code. 

edX

edX is one of the biggest providers of massive open online courses (MOOCs), covering a wide variety of university-level courses. Some of the courses it offers were developed by prestigious universities like Harvard, MIT, Berkeley, and Microsoft. 

If you are looking to learn programming skills, edX is an option worth considering. edX is one of the most recommended active learning platforms to take a programming class, with a wide variety of features guaranteed to make learning easier.

Udemy

Udemy offers a wide range of free programming courses, as well as paid courses, that are taught through video lessons. At the time of writing, you can find over 2,000 programming courses at Udemy.

However, it is best to read through the reviews before you choose a course. This is because Udemy is an open learning platform, so anyone can create a course. It is crucial to do your research before you commit to a course.

Hackr.io

Hackr.io is an online learning platform created for people who want to learn to code. It is an excellent source of information and training on a wide range of coding languages. All you have to do is go to the website, search for the language you want to learn, and start taking classes.  

Hackr.io offers a library of video tutorials, assignments, and tasks for students who want to improve their programming skills. You get to enjoy exclusive features that make the entire process easy. One of the best things about this platform is the fact that it allows students to submit their tutorials so that they can share their knowledge with others.

Codecademy

Codecademy offers a wide variety of courses to choose from, such as courses that focus on JavaScript, Ruby, PHP, and AngularJS. Codecademy is a preferred choice by many coders because of its right mix of fun lessons, practical exercises, and rewards for your progress as you learn. 

Free Coding Training Programs and Websites

Another way to develop and improve your coding skills is to sign up for coding training programs. Below are a few examples. 

The Odin Project

The Odin Project is a self-paced project that teaches students web development from scratch. The curriculum uses learning resources like online tutorials, blogs, videos, and coding games. There are no instructors on the Odin Project. Instead, you’ll find a community of beginner and experienced software engineers to whom you can reach out.

You will learn databases, Git, and popular programming languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Ruby. The Odin Project takes about 1,000 hours to complete.

Coursera

Coursera is a renowned learning platform with both free and paid online courses. This platform has hundreds of coding-based courses, resources, and tutorials from professors at leading universities. 

Some of these courses can be accessed for free within a certain timeframe. If you choose to get a certificate of completion, you’ll need to pay somewhere between $39 and $99. You will find courses on programming languages like Python, Java, HTML, and CSS, as well as IoT programming and Google Data Analytics.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a massive online learning platform perfect for developing knowledge in programming. You will find interactive tutorials, a programming environment to practice, and online coding courses that teach the basics of computer programming and advanced applications. 

Throughout the course, students are encouraged to share their learning experiences. You will learn to program with languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Udacity

Udacity has robust nanodegree programs that cover in-demand skills. Udacity has clearly defined courses that are usually free. However, the nanodegrees, which offer a more rigorous curriculum, cost $399 per month. 

Notable examples of courses you can take on this platform focus on C++ programming, iOS development, Python programming, Cloud DevOps, Google Data Analytics, and blockchain.

W3Schools

This platform has several online coding lessons, interactive tutorials, online resources, exercises, and examples to teach you coding and kickstart your career. W3Schools is ideal for beginners in programming, as it features great online teaching resources in coding languages like HTML, CSS, SQL, PHP, C++, C#, and JavaScript.

Free Coding Apps and Games

Coding apps and games provide a more interactive and engaging way to learn how to code. What’s even better is that you can access most of these apps and games on both Android and iOS devices. 

These apps take you through lessons that introduce you to essential programming concepts, improving your skills until you can begin actual programming. Coding requires practice, so these coding games and apps can be beneficial tools for beginners in programming. Below is a list of notable coding apps.

Codecademy Go

Codecademy Go is the mobile app version of the popular Codecademy, a learning platform that teaches programming. This app provides opportunities to learn programming concepts even when you are away from your computer. It is available on both iOS and Android.

Grasshopper

Grasshopper was created by Google to teach fundamental concepts of JavaScript through mini-games. It offers both simple courses and advanced courses, so it is perfect for beginners.

You will get a set of slides that explain what you are about to learn and then a quiz to evaluate what you have learned. As you pass each quiz, you will proceed to the next puzzle. These coding games explain simple terms like operators, functions, strings, loops, and arrays. The app is available for free on iOS and Android platforms.

Encode

Encode is an Android app that teaches essential programming concepts in bite-sized courses. The app presents these courses in programming challenges and coding games that you have to solve to progress further. 

You will get practical coding lessons on HTML, CSS, Python, and JavaScript. Encode also features a programming environment that allows users to practice what they learned. The application also has an offline mode that allows you to learn even without an Internet connection. The interface is easy to use and has in-depth tutorials and tips on programming languages.

Apple Swift Playgrounds

Apple Swift Playgrounds is an app that teaches people to code in Swift, a programming language for building apps on iOS devices. It requires no prior coding experience, so it is ideal for beginners. It also features different elementary school curriculums for learners.

Its colorful and intuitive interface makes it an interactive and fun platform to use. It also features flexible and diverse challenges that make it easy to experiment with iOS code.

Improve Your Skills with Coding Projects

A person using a Macbook Pro laid on a wooden table How to Learn to Code for Free
Work on coding projects to improve your skills and build your portfolio.

As you advance in your programming journey, you will begin to look for good project ideas to build to improve your skills. You need the kind of project that will require you to go into the complexities of programming like databases, authentication, users, and servers.

Some project examples are as follows.

  1. Build a web scraper and pull out data from the top ten companies that began without human intervention. Make it into a compilation or a blog post. As simple as this sounds, it will definitely show your expertise in database, web scraping, automation, general programming, and web development.
  2. Build an event-alert system using Meetup or Eventbrite API. This one will show your expertise in APIs, general programming, automation, and web development.
  3. You can build a gift recommendation application or a site for trade and barter. This will show your expertise in app development, machine learning, and general programming.
  4. Create a task management system.
  5. Work on an invoice and contract management system.

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