Interested in Learning How to Code? Here's Where to Start

Sacha Strebe

We live in a fascinating era where technology continues to blur the lines between our digital lives and reality. With the speed at which new artificial intelligence and smart tech are being created, now being a computer geek is chic and incredibly lucrative.

Suddenly, coding is the next big career option you should be considering. It has a pretty high profile these days, too, thanks to some major celebrity endorsements, such as Karlie Kloss’s #KodeWithKarlie scholarship; Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In Circles (which connect and support women in computer science and engineering); and computer science education nonprofit Code.org, which wrangled President Obama to write his first line of computer code in its Hour of Code project. “Everybody’s got to learn how to code early,” President Obama told Re/code.

But despite the media attention, vacant positions still outnumber applicants. According to Code.org, computer-programming jobs are growing at two times the national average. By 2020, there will be 1 million more jobs than students, with 592,067 computing jobs open and no one to fill them.

Despite the great need within this industry, it’s still not being incorporated into our schools, with just 27 states allowing students to count computer science courses toward high school education requirements. Last year, only 38,175 computer science students graduated into the workforce.

Inspired by your recent comments asking about where to learn how to code, we compiled a list of online courses and schools. Considering a new career, or want to update your skillset? Scroll down to read our picks.

Coursera

This online school offers a great beginners course for those interested in programming. An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python (Part 1) is applicable to anyone with knowledge of high school mathematics. The instructors have made learning Python easy with their “browser-based programming environment” that makes developing interactive applications in Python simple. By the end of the course you will know how to build simple, interactive and enjoyable games like Pong, Blackjack, and Asteroids. While they don’t promise you’ll be a professional programmer by the end of it, you will definitely have fun doing it and learn a lot about programming. Coursera’s HTML, CSS and Javascript course is also great for those who want to learn the essential elements of web development; no previous experience necessary. 

COST: Free

Codecademy

You can learn the skills you need to succeed in today’s digital world at Codecademy. If you’re unsure about how coding will help you, perhaps Tommy’s story will convince you. With no prior knowledge of code before learning at Codecademy, Tommy went on to build one of Time’s “50 Best Websites.” Coffitivity is a site that “recreates the ambient sound of a café to boost your creativity and help you work better.” Try Codecademy’s three-hour "Make a Website" course or 10-hour course on Javascript fundamentals for beginners. They’re pretty simple to do, and they don’t cost you a dime.

Cost: Free

edX

HTML is the standard language of the web, so if you want to work in the online space, you should probably learn it. Thankfully, edX is here to help. In its "HTML5 Part 1" course, you'll learn to use the simplified new HTML5 tags, animate fun web graphics, and practice coding techniques with interactive exercises.

Cost: Free

O'Reilly

These highly accessible and relatively cheap online video training courses help you learn how to build impressive websites like a pro. After completing "Learn to Build a Website," you’ll have all the skills you need to build the sites of your dreams. Instructors Cassidy and Camryn Williams will teach you how to build web pages with HTML and how to define the look and format with CSS. The sisters have an entire section of video training and learning paths dedicated to programming; they're definitely worth checking out.

Cost: $30/course and up

Ada Developers Academy

Based in Seattle, this coding bootcamp is a nonprofit organization designed in collaboration with Seattle’s Technology Alliance Incubator. The yearlong course is free for accepted students, and it takes you through HTML, Ruby, Rails, CSS, and JavaScript, followed by a five-month internship phase where students are placed at sponsoring companies. 

COST: Free

Flatiron School

This online web-developer program will teach you how to code remotely. The intensive training program for web developers caters to the growing market of coders with quality education and features test material sourced from professional programmers. The cost is a $1000 a month, which sounds pricey, but students are promised job placement within six months of completing the program or they get a full refund. 

COST: $15,000/course 

Anyone Can Learn to Code

With schools in Chicago and San Francisco, Anyone Can Learn to Code courses are flexible, just like the career the organization teaches. The program understands most people have daytime work schedules and commitments, so courses are offered on weekends and weeknights. You’ll learn Ruby on Rails, HTML/CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS, and Git with a hands-on approach and an open discussion forum.

Cost: $11,500/course

General Assembly

This Los Angeles-based school has various formats, including 90-minute classes as well as part-time and full-time courses. From front-end web-development information sessions to getting started with CSS and even "Code in One Day" crash courses, there’s something for everyone. Creative entrepreneurs who want to speak tech with their web team should take the "Crack the Code: Programming for Non-Programmers Workshop" this Saturday, October 24.

Cost: $45 and up

Apprentice

If you already have have intermediate-level coding skills, Apprentice is for you. The organization's courses require students to have some previous coding experience. Candidates who are selected will experience a very hands-on approach and have the chance to work with professional developers and designers on real projects at thoughtbot. Apprentice's schools are based in Austin, Boston, New York, San Francisco, Stockholm, and London, and successful apprentices can anticipate a full-time role at the end.

Cost: Three-month paid apprenticeship

Are you interested in coding? Do you know someone who has taken an online coding course and made a career out of it? Share with us in the comments.

Opening photo: The Chriselle Factor

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