Coding for Beginners: Where Do I Start?

In a world where technology is rapidly evolving, coding has quickly become a crucial component in how we continue to innovate our way of life.

At the same time, the demand for coders in industries worldwide has grown immensely, making it a valuable skill to learn regardless of your career path.

While coding can seem incredibly difficult to pick up for those without prior experience, the web is bursting with amazing resources that can help anyone become an experienced coder.

With that, here are some of the best online resources available for new coders to get started. All of the resources below are free to use, and there’s really no need to pay for any of the optional content that they offer‒what they already provide for free is insane.


Online Courses and Tutorials

CodeAcademy

A personal favorite of mine, CodeAcademy is one of the largest and most popular online tools for new coders and programmers. Designed for people without any previous programming experience, CodeAcademy can teach anyone the basics of many coding languages and get them into development. I used this site extensively when I was learning C++, and I’m using it now to help myself learn Python. I recommend anyone interested in learning coding to start here.

Khan Academy

Featuring a massive library of free online courses on almost any subject, Khan Academy doesn’t lie when they say “anyone can learn anything”. This motto applies to coding as well, as they feature many courses for people wanting to learn basically any programming language, from Java to C#. Plus, users can go at their own pace as they pick up new courses, making Khan Academy a versatile resource for all different kinds of learners.

FreeCodeCamp

FreeCodeCamp teaches millions of people worldwide how to code with their incredibly strong curriculum (~800 hours in total), and you can even get online certifications for free. Though, my favorite part about this website is how they help you gain experience by coding for non-profits and community-driven websites. If you want to learn coding and give back to your community with your code, then FreeCodeCamp is for you.

CodeEasy.net

C# is one of the modern, easier-to-use programming languages that new programmers should start with as they develop their skills. Amassing an immense following over the years, CodeEasy.net has become one of the most popular places for people to learn C#. Using a unique blend of coding and story-telling, they stand out from the crowd by teaching programming in the form of a post-apocalyptic story. This website was certainly a breath of fresh air for me, and I’m hoping I get to see more like it in the future.

Coursera

Coursera offers an incredibly large online course library, where classes are taught by university professors and industry experts in an extensive variety of fields. They also help foster an interactive and collaborative community through their online forums. These courses‒including a large selection of coding classes‒are all free, though you have the option of paying to certify your course completion.

LearnPython.org

This resource features clear, well-structured tutorials on a wide variety of coding languages, despite what its name implies. If you ever get lost, you can always head to the Table of Contents to pick things back up and keep track of your progress. There is also an online community for LearnPython.org on Facebook, so you’ll always have a place to ask questions and get support from other programmers.


Online Communities

StackOverflow

With a user-base of over 4.7 million developers across all kinds of industries and backgrounds, StackOverflow is one of the best communities for anyone serious about learning coding/programming and web development. Programmers at any skill level can come here to share their expertise, learn from experts, further grow themselves, and develop their careers. My only advice is to take your time when navigating this website, as there is so much out there that it can be intimidating for new coders. Nonetheless, it is a powerful resource to have on hand.

Github

One of the most essential tools for developers and coders today, GitHub is well-known as one of the world’s largest open-source online coding communities. Unlike other communities, GitHub isn’t designed for back-and-forth communication between developers‒it is made for users to share and contribute to each other’s code. Because of this, GitHub is the perfect place to collaborate in-depth with developers on their code and find inspiration for your own projects. 

Coderwall

Coderwall offers a diverse and rich community of web developers and experienced designers across a broad range of fields in web development. Plus, there are many sections on the website that provide helpful advice for tackling problems and understanding new concepts. Coderwall also boasts a vast collection of resources that are helpful to both beginners and professional coders. Overall, this is a very productive and active community that could immensely boost your learning.

Reddit

Reddit is one of the best places on the internet to discover communities for virtually any topic‒this includes coding. In particular, I recommend two different Reddit threads: r/web_design and r/webdev. 

r/web_design is all about learning and understanding web design, and they encourage beginners and experienced coders to contribute to posts and discussions. I recommend their “Total Beginner” section on the FAQs page‒it is full of resources that teach you virtually everything you need to know to become an experienced programmer. 

r/webdev covers most areas of web development, and it is probably Reddit’s most useful community when it comes to this topic. With open discussions and contributions from experienced programmers worldwide, there is a lot for coders to learn at any skill level.


These are only a handful of the hundreds upon hundreds of resources available for new coders‒it’s up to you to explore them and figure out what works best. 

Regardless of your skill level or experience with coding, this article should help you get started on what could be an incredible journey ahead. One, in fact, that can be very beneficial to your future career.

On another note, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many of us might feel lost, isolated, or hopeless during these hard times. With that in mind, I want to encourage everyone to explore new skills and discover themselves, regardless of whether or not coding is a part of that. 

Always learning and finding new opportunities‒even in times of crisis‒are powerful ways to help make your life better. You might discover a passion you never knew you had.

You might even build the foundation for the career of your dreams.

Published by Gerardo Lucena

Gerardo Lucena is a Junior at the University of Michigan pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Engineering (BSE) degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science. He has programming experience in C++, and he has worked with Michigan Hyperloop and MRover during his first two years at the University.

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