Coding is an important skill these days, and not just for web developers. Whether you’re building a website, putting together a professional portfolio, or contributing to an online publication, knowing even the basics of coding can be very helpful. Of course, if you’ve ever tried to learn how to code—and we’ve taken many courses over the years—you know that it can be a frustrating and exhausting process. Online learning programs can make the educational process less intimidating, allowing you to move at your own pace, seek help when you need it, and repeat lessons as needed until you fully understand how and why your code works the way it does. .
We looked at various online schools aimed at different age and skill groups to find the best coding classes. If you want to learn coding online, this service will put you on the right track. Here’s what to look for when making your choice.
Online Coding Fee
Price is always a concern no matter what you buy. There are subscription-based programs such as Code Avengers, Treehouse, CodeHS, and SitePoint (formerly Learnable), which offer access to all classes in the course catalog for a monthly or yearly fee. Check to see if the program lets you pause your membership, which is useful if you want to save your progress without charging a fee while you’re on the move or too busy to access classes.
Khan Academy and LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) feature classes on every topic under the sun, as do similar general education services not featured here, such as Coursera, edX, and Udemy, and there are more than enough coding options to create a subscription. or individual purchases are beneficial. If you only care about coding, you may be better served by a program specifically tailored to your needs, especially if you’re willing to pay. Safari Books Online and Code School, which we previously discussed here, have now been fully absorbed into their parent companies, O’Reilly and Pluralsight, respectively. This robust, broad and business-oriented educational platform caters to business teams looking to learn more about the benefits of technology in the world of work.
Codecademy, on the other hand, offers many of its courses and materials for free, although they charge a monthly fee if you want to access quizzes and other learning tools. Paid classes generally offer more in terms of depth, breadth, and presentation, but if you are determined and resourceful, you may find that the free classes are sufficient for your needs.
After price, the most important thing to consider in a coding service is the number (and variety) of courses offered. Some feature HTML, CSS, and other web technologies, while others contain advanced languages (such as Python and C++,) mobile application and video game development, and work with APIs. In terms of the number of courses, paid classes usually have an advantage over free ones. A large library can also overwhelm you, so starting with a smaller, more focused program is a good choice.
The format of the course also needs to be considered. All you need to code is a functional text editor, and most of these programs have one of these. Depending on your learning style, you might appreciate the polished video tutorials from Khan Academy and LinkedIn Learning.
Many of these online coding schools, including SitePoint, Code Avengers, Codecademy, and Treehouse now offer curricula, so you can choose a broad topic—like choosing a college major—and then access all the necessary courses you need to master a theme. It organizes your studies, and lets you jump ahead if you’ve mastered certain skills. Treehouse even offers a structured certification program.
If you are a beginner, you will need a program that is easy to learn as the material becomes more complex. It is ideal for students at all levels. You will also need encouragement to keep you going. Most of these services offer badges or other rewards when you reach a milestone and show your progress on your dashboard. The best service offers quizzes and challenges so you can test your skills. Testing isn’t just for beginners—even experienced programmers want feedback on what they’re doing. Newer programs also like to treat progress like a game, rewarding students with shiny badges as they improve their skills. You will not find this feature in all programs.
However, if you are serious about pursuing coding as a career, you will eventually have to leave the easy stuff and take up some more challenging material. Consider switching to a paid program, such as Code Avengers or Treehouse, to further your coding education. Code Camp Free will help you take the knowledge you’ve learned and use it to help kickstart your career in real-life organizations. Google directly offers coding education resources. In addition to their online programs, Coding Dojo and General Assembly host physical campus locations where you can (safely) study with your fellow students.
Child Friendly Lessons
If you’re a parent or teacher, getting the kids to code makes sense. Programming teaches children to think logically, develop problem-solving skills, and improve the way they interact with technology. Plus, it can prepare them for tomorrow’s workforce. CodeHS has special features that educators can use in the classroom, and an awesome sandbox mode that students can use to express their coding creativity.
CodeCombat and similar programs treat coding more like a video game to help keep kids interested. Coding is just another way to make cool things they can show off, which means kids of all ages can learn to code. CodeCombat and Treehouse offer special pricing and curriculum for teachers and students. Hopscotch, Scratch, Move the Turtle, Daisy the Dinosaur, and similar apps treat coding like a video game, keeping even very young children interested. With coding, as with any language, the earlier you can start learning, the better.
Moving beyond the scope of this particular roundup, GameMaker Studio 2 and other dedicated video game design software go a step further with games, teaching coding (and animation) as an important part of their game design curriculum. Licenses are expensive, but the lessons are powerful. Plus, the app teaches kids how to make everything from 3D platformers to 2D side-scrollers to products they can offer to sell on the PC gaming market.
If you’re an educator interested in other ways technology can help your school, check out our list of the best learning management systems.
Coding Help and Support
You’ll need help when you’re stuck on a practice or a quiz. We love Codecademy, Treehouse, and other services that offer active student forums to help you solve problems, and pay attention to long code blocks. Code Avengers has live chat and an exclusive Slack channel. Support for website bugs and issues, which most of these services offer in some way, is also key. Some communities encourage you to create a GitHub account, so you can easily collaborate on code with your fellow students. While LinkedIn Learning and Khan Academy are excellent general services, they cannot offer this level of coding-specific help and support.
All of these considerations depend on your skill level. You may not need much grip, in which case you can download the eBook and learn on your own by registering at SitePoint, or you can simply learn a new language with Codecademy.
Not sure where to start? Most of the paid services here offer free or low-cost trials or even money-back guarantees. You can try several online coding classes before you find one that works. For more, see Best Online Learning Courses and Quarantine and Learn: 9 Free Online Courses You Can Take Now.