People keep asking me what they should do to learn to code. Usually I say, “Well, there’s Codecademy, MIT OpenCourseWare, Free Code Camp…” It doesn’t take long for my listener’s eyes to glaze over as I inundate them with choices in an attempt to make sure that I help them find the best possible option for them.
No More Choices
I’m not going to overwhelm you with options because it really doesn’t matter much. They’re all great options, so why put one more decision between you and your education? The important thing is that you start learning - today! Once you have a solid understanding of coding and a basic fluency with one language and toolset, it will be ten times easier to learn new tools and languages.
Free Code Camp
From now on, when someone asks how to learn to code, I’m going to tell them to use Free Code Camp; I’m not going to give them any other confusing options. Why pick them?
• It’s free. There are plenty of times when it makes perfect sense to pay someone to teach you to code (i.e. attending a Hack Reactor bootcamp), but not everyone can afford the time or money required to learn at a bootcamp, and I don’t think there should be any barriers between a person and the skills she needs to improve her life.
• They help charities. You must build real-world applications to really learn to code, which means you need real-world problems to solve. So why not solve problems for charities that are making the world better? At risk of sounding cliche, that’s a win-win.
• They only have one learning path. Presenting a single learning path prevents learners from being confused by too many irrelevant choices.
• They have an active, free support community. Only having one learning path has the added benefit of establishing a much larger community of learners (and potential mentors) who have learned exactly the same material and have already solved the problems you will face.
I’m going to teach myself to code (again) using Free Code Camp. If you would like to join me, I’ll be learning in the Sharptop.io classroom in downtown Lynchburg from 10am till noon on Saturdays. If you’re not local, you can find me streaming video questions and answers live on my periscope channel during that time.