Learn to Code for Free: 4 Great Resources to Get You Started with Coding

by Dan Pickett

April 6, 2017

Do you recommend any learn to code for free sites or resources?

When Launch Academy students are prepping for their cohort, they often want to level up their skills and prep for our Ignition curriculum. And while Launch Academy does not have any coding prerequisites, we do recommend you try your hand at programming before completely diving into the task. 

Luckily, there are plenty of sites out there that can teach you the basics of coding for free—but if you’re a novice coder, it can be difficult to gauge quality. So, we did some of the legwork for you! We really like the following free online resources: They’re excellent ways to experience programming before you commit to a coding bootcamp education. 

Check out these four free learn to code resources, but also note: We always encourage new coders to supplement these free sites with some project-based self-education. There’s a very big difference between watching videos or coding in a browser window, and doing it in real life.

1. Chris Pine’s Learn to Program

This is a free e-book covering the coding language of Ruby. Ruby is one of the easier programming languages to learn, and tends to be the one we teach first at any given cohort. Books can be a tremendous resource because they require actually going in to your computer, installing the correct software, and going through the whole process of coding. We highly recommend it.

2. Codecademy

Codecademy is a great online resource that gets you coding in minutes. While it lacks the depth of coding on your machine, its in-browser coding sets up users to learn very quickly. If you want to get a feel for coding right away, Codeacademy is a good place to start. More than 33 percent of Launch Academy students have tried Codeacademy or a similar program before starting their cohort.

3. Sololearn

Sololearn is the most convenient and accessible of introductory learn to code for free options. The app allows you to quickly learn a programming topic, although its quiz-based system is a not quite as in depth as other options in this space. However, Sololearn’s user experience is top-notch: The more fun you have while learning to code, the more your brain will retain.

4. The HTML Show

Originally filmed as a Facebook Live series, Launch Academy's The HTML Show is now on Youtube. These online episodes take you through the process of learning HTML and CSS (with yours truly as host and instructor), and culminates with a capstone project. 

Ready to go beyond free online resources, and eager to learn on campus? Apply to a future Launch Academy cohort!

Co-founder Dan Pickett has been coding professionally since 2002. He is founder and principal at LaunchWare and a co-organizer of Boston Ruby Group.

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