Tech

11 Great Online Programming Resources

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Whether you’re looking to build a website for your new business, design an app as a side project, or quit your job and become a full-time software developer, programming is becoming an increasingly useful skill — and one that employers find particularly attractive. Luckily, the days are gone when you had to spend years in school studying textbooks and attending lectures to master a given programming language. Today, there are hundreds of websites you can visit to find information about programming, many of which even give step-by-step tutorials and videos on how to code using the language of your choice. Here are 11 great online programming resources to help kickstart your coding career.

11. Scratch

Designed specifically with children in mind, Scratch doesn’t teach any actual programming languages, but what it does provide is an online platform where people can create, upload, and proudly share their projects. Instead of typing in lines of code, projects are built using visual blocks that contain commands explaining how certain object behave. For instance, one block might say “move the dog 10 steps” or “Bark when the dog touches its owner”. This method of visual learning helps break logic problems into smaller chunks so they can be solved one by one — perfect for young aspiring programmers.

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10. Treehouse

Treehouse is the perfect resource for a budding programmer. It offers free materials for you to get a feel for what coding is all about, and the paid premium offerings can help prepare you for a real world job as a developer. A lot of the videos and tutorials featured on the site are project-oriented so they focus on things like developing a website or designing an app. This approach is useful because it lets learners get a feel for what languages they should concentrate on mastering in order to achieve their goals.

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9. Khan Academy

Salman Khan first created Khan Academy as a website for sharing math tutorial videos. Since then, it has branched out to include other topics like economics, science, and computing. The programming lessons come in the form of short videos accompanied by practice material and, while the site doesn’t focus on any one specific programming language, the coding patterns it uses are shared with many popular programming languages. Khan Academy is a great resource for programmers interested in learning code associated with drawing, animation, and user interaction.

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8. Udacity

Udacity is a free site that offers a number of insightful video lectures presented by world-renowned university instructors and industry professionals. To help reinforce understanding and build new skills, lectures are always accompanied by either a programming or logic-based quiz. Although Udacity does boast one of the largest online video resources for coding, because many of the courses aren’t directly related, it serves better as an online university rather than a starting point for programmers.

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7. Stack Overflow

Once you’ve had the chance to try out a little programming on your own, Stack Overflow is a great place to go to find answers to any questions you might have. The site functions more as an online information database rather than a place to get lessons or tutorials on how to code. It features questions and answers on a wide range of topics and, if you can’t find the information you’re looking for, you can submit queries of your own. The website’s community is well-known for being extremely responsive and helpful.

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6. Apple Developer

If you’re interested in developing software and making apps for apple products, Apple’s developer site is a great place learn about coding for the Mac OS X and iOS platforms.

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5. Android Developer

Google’s Android developer site is constantly updating. It has now expanded to include videos from Google i/o and a section that reviews the best practices for designing Android apps.

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4. Codeacademy

Codeacademy is probably the most well known website where you can learn to code. Its interactive interface and well-structured courses make learning complex languages like HTML, CSS, and Javascript a lot easier. Each lesson contains one panel with instructions and a second panel where you can try your hand at writing acceptable code of your own. If you happen to make any mistakes, both the instruction and code panels will notify you and give helpful hints to help you figure out where you went wrong. The site even adds some gamification by allowing you to join up with friends and take lessons together to see who’s the better learner.

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3. Code School

Code School is another interactive learning site that offers courses on a range of programming languages and web tools. However, the courses offered at Code School are of a slightly more in-depth nature and often use code that teach the industry’s best practices. Information is presented in screencasts and after the screencast learners are presented with challenging programming problems. Not to worry, there’s always helpful hints and an answer key you can refer to. And, while most of the courses offered on Code School are free of charge, certain resources do require a monthly payment to gain full access.

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2. Open Courseware Consortium

In 2002, MIT decided it was going to start putting its course materials online. Since then hundreds of schools have followed suit to create the Open Courseware Consortium — a site that allows you to easily search through over 2100 courses on a huge variety of topics from computer science to electrical engineering. The online textbooks, multimedia content, assignments, and projects are all taken directly from real-world courses and they’re all completely free for anyone to use.

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1. Coursera

Coursera began as a startup from Stanford University and, like Open Courseware, it features a multitude of courses from different universities taught by professors and industry professionals. All the resources on Coursera are free to use, however, the site also offers paid courses that can give you a verified certification in the field of your choosing.

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