What are the Best Free Websites to Learn to Program?

The Internet has new websites, tutorials, and videos added everyday. The tough part is finding the quality websites to use.

The important thing is to remember to use these websites to gain basic knowledge and skills, and then use these skills to build sites and basic apps for your portfolio. For most software and development teams, certifications and schools don't matter as much as what you can do and what you've built.

A screenshot of the Codecademy dashboard.
A screenshot of the Codecademy dashboard.

Codecademy

Codecademy is a website that was started in 2011. It focuses on interactive lessons teaching how to actually create and build projects with a variety of programming languages.

In fact, many colleges suggest Codecademy exercises during entry level courses programming and computer science courses. While Codecademy won't give you a strong enough skill set to become a programmer just from it's material, it will give you a strong foundation to start exploring other intermediate and advanced options.

Currently they offer fully interactive courses in:

  • HTML & CSS
  • Javascript
  • jQuery
  • Ruby
  • Python
  • SQL
  • Java
  • PHP

As well as courses on Git, making and deploying websites, and the command line.

Codecademy has won the awards: Skillies Technology Award 2015, and Best Education Startup, Crunchies Awards 2012

Although the site has historically been 100% free, they have introduced a pro plan, which doesn't hide lessons, but instead adds one-on-one tutoring, some additional projects, and quizzes.

A screenshot of one of Free Code Camp's many lessons.
A screenshot of one of Free Code Camp's many lessons.

Free Code Camp - 100% Free

Free Code Camp is an open source community focused helping people learn how to code, and get a job with those skills. There FAQ states that it takes over 2,080 hours to earn all four of their certifications. That's a lot of lessons.

But, you don't have to compete all of the courses to begin to get some real-world programming skills. One of the really cool parts of Free Code Camp, is that doing real-world work for reputable non-profits is part of the curriculum.

There are four main specializations that Free Code Camp Focuses on: Front End Development, Data Visualization, Back End Development, Full Stack Development, and Coding Interview skills.

Each of these sections contains hours and hours worth of interactive content to give you a strong understanding of not only the different languages, but also the basics of development environments and object oriented programming.

A screenshot of LearnCPP.com
A screenshot of LearnCPP.com

Learn CPP

While there are a lot of online web sources for learning scripting, it can be tough to learn the tougher full programming languages. Thankfully, LearnCPP.com is a great place to learn C++.

These tutorials cover the basics, variables, scope, inheritance, libraries, etc. You will need a compiler on your computer, since these tutorials are not completed online.

A screenshot of the W3Schools homepage.
A screenshot of the W3Schools homepage.

W3 Schools

W3 Schools is another great website that teaches the basics of programming and specific help for HTML/CSS. The website includes documentation, tutorials, and interactive activities to learn the skills.

W3 has tutorials for:

  • HTML/CSS
  • HTML Graphics
  • Javascript
  • XML
  • Server Side
  • PHP
  • JQuery
  • SQL

A screenshot of the CS50 course on edX.
A screenshot of the CS50 course on edX.

edX - CS50

CS50 is Harvard's actual Intro to Computer Science course. edX has the entire course online, including lecture videos, reading material, and course work. If you chose, you can get a certificate for the course (but that does cost money), however auditing the class is free.

This course will give you an incredibly strong foundation in programming concepts and basic programming skills.

Screenshot of The Odin Project's homepage.
Screenshot of The Odin Project's homepage.

The Odin Project

The building blocks of The Odin Project are: Having a Path, Building a Portfolio, and Learning Together. This means that they focus not only on learning, but also building projects that can be a part of your portfolio and Git lab.

The curriculum covers: Web Dev, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, HTML5 and CSS3, Javascript and Jquery, and how to get hired as a web developer

Youtube

Just like most skills, YouTube has tutorials for most programming basics and common questions. There are also programming and computer science lectures from colleges online.

Below are a few tutorials to start with.

Affordable Books

While websites are great resources, books tend to go more in depth and teach the more complicated sections and programming concepts. There are a ton of programming books that you can pick up for an affordable price on websites like Amazon, or through your local library.

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