5 Learn-to-Code Sites You Need to Know

A guide to furthering your computer education

Nov 26, 2013

Photo by Flickr user Éole

Learning computer programming opens doors for people from all walks of life – from children raring to understand the intricacies of the technology that surrounds them to adults in third-world countries with limited career prospects. Thanks to a hoard of new sites which offer free online courses - following in the footsteps of e-learning giant Courera - learning to code needn't be expensive or time-consuming anymore. For most of these courses, all you need to take part is a computer, an Internet connection, and the head on your shoulders. Pick the one that suits you best and you'll be writing code in no time. 

1. CODECADEMY

Proud college drop-out Zach Sims co-founded Codecademy with the stated aim of rethinking education from the bottom up. Courses on the site are easy-to-navigate, and include a good balance of explanation and hands-on practice. Launched in 2011, the growing online community has created tens of thousands of courses and taken millions of courses.
COURSES OFFERED: Codecademy offers courses in specific computer languages such as JavaScript and Ruby, along with step-by-step Web and app projects.
GREAT FOR: Pretty much anyone, really. Check out these Codecademy success stories for some inspiration.

Screenshot: Code Academy

2. LADIES LEARNING CODE

The Toronto-based non-profit Ladies Learning Code was founded to break the male dominated tech field, and encourages women to dive into technology head first. Unlike the other organizations on this list, LLC organizes real-life workshops for women to study the building blocks of computer programming, and charges a fee for services. There's also an online course which can be taken anywhere, anytime – an introduction to HTML & CSS – and more in the works.
COURSES OFFERED: LLC offers workshops in JavaScript, HTML and Photoshop, to name just a few – check out the full list of upcoming events, here.
GREAT FOR: Women in Canada – workshops are now being held in Fredericton, Halifax, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.  

3. CODE RACER

The brainchild of team TreehouseCode Racer is a multi-player, live coding game, which teaches HTML and CSS to beginners and tests intermediate and advanced coders on speed and agility. Players race against both each other and the clock, unlocking weapons and rewards along the way to keep things interesting.
COURSES OFFERED: The game arms players with all of the basic skills needed to launch a website.
GREAT FOR: Anyone who enjoys a bit of healthy competition - newbies can learn to build websites, while more experienced coders can test their skills against other users.

Screenshot: Code Racer

4. UDACITY

Stanford University’s Udacity is one of a growing number of sites that make university courses—including Introduction to Computer Science—available to the masses, online, for free. Courses incorporate real-world projects built by tech leaders such as Google, AT&T and Intuit, and students get personalized feedback and guidance from your assigned coach.
COURSES OFFERED: Tech-related courses include Java, Web development, HTML5 and software debugging – among a host of relevant and useful subjects. There are also courses in business, design, mathematics and science for anyone looking to expand their horizons.
GREAT FOR: The academically-minded among us who thrive under pressure.

Screenshot: Udacity

5. GIRLS WHO CODE

Like Ladies Learning Code, Girls Who Code was founded with a mission to close the gender gap in the technology sector, and boost the influence of female techies. The organization provides young adults with education along with mentorship from top-tier female engineers and executives in technology.
COURSES OFFERED: Girls Who Code offers a summer immersion program, along with the Girls Who Code Clubs – a repackaged version of the signature program which can be replicated inside schools and community organizations.
GREAT FOR: Girls Who Code empowered young women from New York in its inaugural program in 2012, and launched programs in Detroit, San Francisco, and San Jose in 2013. The organization has taken on the lofty goal of providing computer science education and exposure to one million young women by 2020.

Screenshot: Girls Who Code

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