Give scrolling a break, and get started programming today with these nine free coding resources for beginners! Before we begin, let’s consider the following; has a scenario like the one below ever happened to someone you know?
They crack open their favorite internet browser. They then hop on Google or their search engine of choice and type in, “Best coding resources for software development.” They are instantly bombarded by seemingly endless websites, all vying for their attention. Feeling overwhelmed, they slam the laptop closed and decide to enjoy a Netflix series they’d been putting off earlier that day.
Let’s get back to our opening sentence. We have good news for that ‘someone’ in the scenario above. They no longer have to commit to a Netflix series binge. Instead, I’ve got a curated list of nine free software development-focused coding resources for beginners. They’ll be on their way to resource utopia faster than the time you take to say ‘super fried delicious yams’ five times fast! Fun and jokes aside, are you ready? Let’s begin!
When a person decides to learn the craft of programming, there are many paths they can take. I like to think of learning to code as driving down a highway. There are various exits you can take to arrive at your destination. If you’ve never been to that final destination, you might think the straight path is the quickest and best.
However, as is often the case, the straightest route is not always the quickest or best. Coding is like this. You could take a straight path, such as earning a four-year computer science degree, participating in an internship, and finally landing a tech job.
While there is nothing wrong with this approach, sometimes you arrive at your destination having missed the beautiful views that less linear paths allow. Resources such as free courses, online bootcamps, and valuable experience through pair programming and mentorship offer what I view as a more holistic path to learning to code.
What do you need? I recommend narrowing down your interest to select a specific discipline of tech, like full-stack software development, front-end development, back-end development, data engineering, etc.. Having a target will make it easier to define your path and the resources you use to navigate that path.
The types of jobs available to an individual that knows how to code are substantial. One’s focus can be quite narrow or broad as one initiates a career in tech. Let’s explore this a bit further.
Coding is the understanding and application of a language designed to translate human-readable syntax into instructions that a computer can process and implement.
In the same way that a human being's language can be used in a plethora of job applications covering most professions, so can a person skilled in coding apply that knowledge to many sectors in the job market.
Some common areas where a person may apply their coding skills include health care, finance, e-commerce, real estate, education, technology, and information technology. Throughout the host of professional disciplines where coding knowledge can be applied, job positions can be categorized into distinct areas that are key to developing and maintaining software applications.
As of April 2022, Indeed shares nine types of coding jobs, including Computer Systems Engineer, Video Game Developer, Software Developer, and Full-Stack Developer, among the most lucrative positions. This variety of roles allows flexibility for choosing a career path best suited to your individual interests.
When it comes to choosing the right tool to learn to code, the internet is filled with great options tailored to every need you can think of. Your time is valuable. The resources you use should be relevant, well-written, and easy to navigate to optimize your learning.
Here are a few tips to make free information valuable to your life and future career aspirations.
These tips are far from exhaustive but should give a good structure as you use whichever resource towards attaining your goals.
We now have a framework for learning. So, let’s explore the first value-packed resource on our coding journey.
Our first resource aligns with the first language of coding that most people initially learn and is foundational to any modern browser-displayed website. We’re talking about HyperText Markup Language (HTML). If you are applying for any of the previously mentioned job roles, you must have at least a fundamental skill in reading/manipulating HTML.
Learn HTML for free and take a bite out of your learning curve with this fun seven-day course by Chris Castiglione on the platform One Month. Your instructor, Chris, takes you on a self-paced, engaging introduction to programming using videos, code-along tutorials with templates provided, and a decent dose of upbeat humor to help you become familiar with the first building blocks of the web.
This course will also discuss Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), though if you are just here to learn HTML, the first five days of content will be perfect for you.
With Chris’ guidance, you’ll effortlessly build a portfolio website for the loveable Sesame Street character Cookie Monster. You couldn’t ask for a better client for your first coding gig. What are you waiting for? Go to the course sign-up page and begin your path to HTML mastery today!
Are you feeling more confident with your HTML knowledge and ready to expand your education to build more interestingly designed websites? Our next free resource comes from an author and designer with love for education and an extensive professional portfolio, Shay Howe. Howe, has provided a rich source of information on HTML and CSS with the goal of helping beginners and advanced learners alike build well-designed websites.
To get started, you may enjoy Howe’s HTML and CSS collection of lessons. You will learn everything from the basic elements that make up HTML and CSS to more design-oriented concepts such as “positioning content” and “setting backgrounds and gradients”.
If you want to apply for more front-end-facing roles, then this beginner-friendly lesson series is a great resource to clarify your concept of website design and get you building aesthetically beautiful websites while following best practices.
And it’s no wonder that MarkSheet.io is easy to follow as renowned website designer Thomas is also the author of Bulma - a CSS framework, complete with “ready-to-use front-end components” that make designing beautiful web pages as simple as adding classes to your HTML markup.
Ron Reiter’s learn-js.org is a no-thrills, no-nonsense, and to-the-point tutorial-based learning website. Actually, learn-js.org is just one of 14 programming-language tutorial sites that allow you to read the theory and immediately apply it to solving challenges.
Beginners and advanced learners will enjoy this resource as a quick reference for key concepts from variables and arrays to more advanced topics such as “promises” and “async and await”.
One nice feature of this resource is that you do not need to open up an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) or even your browser’s development console. You can work on challenges in a provided text editor. If you get stuck on tricky concepts, you can view the expected output or the complete solution for each challenge. As you build your next interactive website, this programming-language resource will be your best friend.
Let’s face it. No one enjoys getting stuck on a bug. Thankfully, a community of web developers believes that the answers to common development bugs should be shared publicly to help others get unstuck as quickly as possible.
Stack Overflow is a developer’s go-to resource for asking questions, learning answers, and sharing information with others in the community. With great features like uprating and downrating answers, you can be sure that your responses have been vetted by others who may have faced similar challenges.
If you do not see your answer available on Stack Overflow’s database of answered questions, you can post your question. Share the specifics of your problem. Include necessary details so that people reading your post can produce the problem on their own machines. Keeping this practice increases the likelihood of receiving an applicable answer.
As a beginner, you may encounter many errors in your code editors after inputting lines of code. Just know that you are not alone. The chances are that others have faced your problem, and your answer is just a quick search away on Stackoverflow.
You may choose a path for a complete beginner and be guided through a series of articles that will give you a 'practical introduction to web development'. Most explanations are accompanied by vivid code block examples and/or interactive editors that allow you to manipulate pre-populated code and experiment with answers to solidify your learning.
MDN can be a powerful resource in conjunction with developer tools to debug code when an answer requires knowing the default functionality of a code element. For instance, you can inspect an element to see its CSS properties. Perhaps you’ll find a particular property and want to know how you can manipulate it to produce an effect on your website. You can then search for that property’s functionality on MDN and apply your knowledge directly in the debug console to view the result on your website.
At some point in your development journey, you will need to use algorithms to implement amazing functionality on your applications. Practice analytical problem-solving skills via algorithmic problem-solving on HackerRank.
HackerRank brings innovative technology to the algorithmic learning process. Not only can you practice solving algorithms from a large library of questions as a junior in tech, the platform is also designed to host remote interviews for when you are ready to begin job hunting.
Complete algorithm challenges to see how your country, rank, and score are positioned amongst others as your skills are ranked against the global HackerRank community. Take part in a skills test and become certified as you prove your technical ability on technologies you’ve learned using other resources.
HackerRank even allows you to prepare with specific topic areas, including algorithms, data structures, and even mathematics on its platform. Check out their dashboard to make your problem-solving skills stand out from the developer crowd.
The notion that coding is comparable to martial arts and the general theme of Codewars originates from a principle by The Pragmatic Programmer co-author, Dave Thomas. Keeping with the martial arts theme, each coding challenge is referred to as the Japanese word ‘kata’, which Thomas defines as a coding exercise that improves one's coding skills through practice and repetition.
The Codewars platform fully embraces learning through practice and repetition, allowing coding challenges to be solved in 58 different coding languages. You can then refactor your code, add test cases, and retake the challenge as often as possible.
Complete beginners gain confidence quickly in their problem-solving ability and can grow on the platform from novice (8kyu) to advanced (1kyu) skill levels. Gamification features such as individual rank, badges, authoring and supporting of new challenges, and an honor system ensure users remain engaged while mastering various programming problems.
After a question is solved, a user automatically unlocks a Discourse page to view other users' solutions for the same question. This allows rapid learning through observing varying methods of solving that question. If you still need more help to solve these coding challenges, try these recommended 10 coding challenges, tips and websites to practice. Codewars is great fun! Sign up and become a code warrior today.
Learning resources alone do not provide the human support vital when mastering a technically challenging discipline. Traditional ways of learning disciplines, such as web development and computer science principles, usually require high upfront costs and/or significant time investment (up to four years for a BS in computer science).
For some, accessibility to traditional brick-and-mortar institutions may not be possible, making receiving quality education in tech rather difficult.
At Microverse, students have a network of accountability through learning partners, standup teams, and experienced, professional staff who are motivated by your success. Even after completing the program and landing your first job, Microverse’s career services team continue to provide support to you throughout your tech career.
Speed is crucial in software development. The right resource oftentimes facilitate that speed by helping a developer solve a problem efficiently. Beginning your web development journey requires tools, learning material, and structure to support comprehension and mastery of technical subject matter.
Once you have mastered the basics of front-end web development, practice your new knowledge with the resource that speaks directly to your preferred learning style. Remember to sharpen your analytical problem-solving skills using algorithm and data structure practice resources like HackerRank and Codewars.
Also, be brave, ask questions and share your knowledge. Communities like Stack Overflow welcome meaningful contributions and are vital as you immerse and grow in the tech industry.
Learn more about Microverse and becoming an international software engineer!