Learn Programming: 10 Amazing Free Resources

Posted   posted by Seth Baker 5 Comments

Want to learn programming? It’s not easy, but the rewards are significant: programmers with a proven track record are in high demand, and the BLS reports that this career boasts a median wage of over $70,000.  For those with the time, aptitude, and willingness to learn,  it’s never been easier to become a programmer. The following are ten free resources that can help you learn programming. 
1. Udacity
Taught by Dr. David Evans of the University of Virginia, Udacity’s popular Intro to Computer Science course teaches learners to build a web crawler using Python. This course tops the list because it introduces the fundamentals of CS, rather than just the syntax of a particular language. If you’d rather learn programming language, Java, you can do so by signing up for Intro to Computer Programming.

2. MIT Open Courseware
Ever wondered what a lecture at the one of the country’s leading CS and Engineering school looks like? Now you can find out with OpenCourseware, which includes lecture videos, syllabus, problem sets, exams, and online study groups. Their self-paced Intro to Computer Science and Programming is one of the most popular free CS courses on the net, to learn programming.

3. CodeAcademy
Unlike Udacity and the very comprehensive MIT intro course, CodeAcademy starts its courses with syntax exercises (rather than theory) for Phyton, JavaScript, PHP, and Ruby. One cool feature of CodeAcademy is its Projects section, where you can apply what you’ve learned to build basic and advanced web applications.

4. Learn Code the Hard Way
As of this writing, LCodeTHW offers courses in Python, Ruby, C, and SQL.  These are walk-through courses that cover everything from installing interpreters to strings and Boolean logic to creating a virtual machine (in C). This site offers both paid versions (including video and .pdf / .ePub) and free HTML versions to learn programming.

5. Coursera
Coursera offers courses in a wide range of subjects from over 60 universities. Unlike MIT’s Open Courseware, EDX, and Udacity, these courses follow a real-time schedule. Coursera uses student peer assessment and crowd-sourcing to ensure learners get the most from each lesson.

6. App Academy
If you can pass their application process and commit to a 3-month in-person training program, App Academy offers an excellent crash course to learn programming in application development. For enrollees, there is no cost until you land a job as a coder; then App Academy takes a small percentage of your pay during your first year.

7. /r/learnprogramming
This helpful community on Reddit has a great FAQ that will help you learn programming. The search feature can answer many common questions, but if you can’t find an answer, community members are usually happy to help (be sure to read the posting guidelines first). This is a good place to get feedback on a self-study curriculum.

8. The Code Player
Want to see development in action (without breathing over someone’s shoulder while they type)? Then check out the videos on this site. Using a 2-column display, one column shows the code as it’s being written, and the other shows the resulting output. (Purists will note this isn’t so much coding as markup, since most of the videos here use CSS, HTML5, though there’s some jQuery as well.

9. Khan Academy
If you’re completely new to coding and want to learn programming, check out the Programming Basics tutorial. It covers Boolean operators, variables, if statements, and some other fundamental concepts. After that, hop over to their Intro to Computer Science course. (This course assumes you have already installed the Python modules).

10. Other language-specific tutorials.
Here are other language-specific tutorials to learn programming. You can learn the basic syntax and functions of C++ here.  Here’s a great series of video tutorials on Java, and here are guides for Ruby, C, ASP.NET, Google products, Objective-C, PHP, and PERL.
Do you have any great resources to learn programming you’d like to share? Please let us know in the comments.



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Written by Seth Baker

Seth M. Baker is a speculative fiction author and online writer who covers a wide range of topics, including personal finance, travel, entertainment, technology, and self-education. He lives in West Virginia with his wife, son, and cat.

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