How I Taught Myself Coding

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

Hello
I hope you all are doing well! I am reaching exam week and desperately trying to get a good nights sleep, but since I want to keep my brain juices flowing and a break from studying, I decided to put together this blog post. Since school is still on my mind, I wanted to create a college/education related post. I compiled a list that I thought would be helpful for anyone who is aspiring to become a programmer or just wants to learn for fun. I know there are a lot of people who are unable to take the traditional route of going to college and getting a degree, but whom also are interested in learning how to code, so I have put together a list of my favorite places to learn coding for free. Before I get started, I wanted to give a quick background on my programming experience. I started coding when I was in middle school, and it was mainly small things like decorating text, aligning photos, or just basic HTML which I learned using tutorials I found on Google and Youtube, and that was basically how I built a foundation in programming. Now, I am a computer science major in college, but aside from that, I want to share a few of the resources that I found helpful in my learning process during college. With more tools and resources becoming available, it makes it more easy for anyone to learn how to code which I think is amazing. I have tested a bunch of different websites to learn coding, and have narrowed the list down to my top 5 websites for learning how to code. There are many alternatives to learning to code if you don't have the resources to go to college or maybe you just don't want to take the traditional route and spend 4 years getting a degree. Whatever the circumstances are, I hope this will be a useful resource for anyone who wants to learn to code for fun or professionally. Now that I have said my part, let's get started with this post. :)

1. Codecademy
Codecademy was the first place that I started learning to code online. They teach languages like HTML and CSS, Javascript, Python, and etc. They even offer career paths that provide you with all the languages you need to know in order to pursue that field. For example, if you want to become a web developer, you can take their career path which has a set curriculum for you to prepare you for that web development. I think that feature is great because it allows the user to focus on exactly what they need to know. If you are new to coding, codecademy would be the perfect place to start. Their lessons are interactive and they walk you through the lessons step by step. The downside to codecademy is that you do need to pay a fee if you want to access its full catalog. However, you can still learn the basics to coding with their free service. The career path is also a paid service, but you can get a trial for them and test it out before committing to the price.

2. Freecodecamp
 Freecodecamp is one of my favorite places to learn programming. Their lessons are completely free, and they provide you with a curriculum that you can do in order. You can do them at your own pace, and it allows you the flexibility to choose what you want to learn. My favorite part about freecodecamp is that at the end of each lesson, they give you a set of projects to work on so you could test your knowledge and how much you know. They also allow you the flexibility of creating the projects however you want, so you can use these projects to showcase on your portfolio or to potential employers. If you finish the projects, you are given a certificate. They also have their own Youtube channel where you can learn more about programming, so if you finish their curriculum and still want to delve deeper into programming and learn more advanced topics, you can check out their channel here.

3. Dev Ed
Unlike the rest of the places I have listed, Dev Ed is not a website, but rather a Youtube channel. They are a fairly new channel that talks about web development, web design, Unity, and node.js to list a few. They mainly do tutorials, and I really like their videos because their very straightforward and easy to follow. However, I do recommend that if you are completely new to programming that you skip this one. I think this channel is geared more towards intermediate programmers, but if you are a fast learner or want to challenge yourself, I say go for it! I think this channel is great for anyone who is interested in web development and design. I think this channel provides a lot of helpful tutorials and insight for web developers and web designers.

4. Khan Academy
I'm sure if you guys are in college or have gone to college, you have heard of Khan Academy. If not, this website provides users with a wide range of courses. Among those courses are computer science, and the best part is that it's free. It's basically like being in college, but without the tuition fee. They provide users with readings and videos on coding. The only downside is that it's not as interactive as the other websites, but they do provide short challenges for you. If you are looking for a place to get a more college like education on programming, I think Khan Academy is a good place to start.

5. Bento.io
Bento.io is a site that offers a list of curated tracks for the user to follow. They make coding accessible to their users and put together a list of the best programming topics based on what track you want to follow. If you want to learn HTML for instance, they have a curated list for you to follow so you don't have to go through the hassle of finding the right tutorial. The list they provide are all free, and the interface makes it extremely easy to find what you are looking for. I enjoy the clean and simple look of this website, and they provide so many different tracks and are continuously expanding their list. To list a few tracks they offer, there is front end, back end, and databases. 

That concludes the list of my top 5 favorite websites to learn coding. Don't take this list as the only way to learn programming, but as a starting point. As with all things, coding takes time and patience, and I believe the best way to learn is not let you fear of failing stop you and to get out there and build your own website or application. I find that I learned best by trial and error and building a program from scratch and discovering how certain codes work to make my program run smoothly helped me to understand programming better. Please leave any suggestions or your favorite places to learn programming in the comments. I would love to know them.
I hope you all have a wonderful day and I will see you guys in my next post! :)








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