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I What To Learn To Code, Where Do I Start?

Updated on July 28, 2015

English Programming Languages


Learn Code & Where to Start

It won't surprise anybody to learn that Steve Jobs, the late Apple’s co-founder once said, “I think everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.” I have an idea that I think would be fantastic as an interactive app, so I begun to investigate which programming language I need to learn in order to execute my idea. I was recommended to start with a 'scripting' language. But I didn't know what that meant. It turns out that it refers to programming languages that have been designed for integrating and communicating with other programming languages.

There are a number of widely used scripting languages including Perl, Ruby, Python, PowerShell JavaScript, VBScript, PHP, ASP and TCL. As these scripting languages are normally used in conjunction with other programming languages, they are often found alongside HTML, Java, C, C++, C#, or Objective C.

The real variable that will decide which language show start with depends on what you wish to do with the code. If you want to build websites or create apps, for example, then the best coding language choice for you would be to learn HTML and/or CSS, with JavaScript and PHP added for interactivity. If you want languages for programming mobile apps, then objective-C, objective-C for iOS apps and Java for androids.

It has become a lot easier to learn the basics of most programming languages from home, using reputable free instructional websites who will teach you all necessary the basic instructions of a variety of languages for you to feel sufficiently confident to go further, if you like.

I have a particular project in mind that I need to learn coding for, so looked at a number of sites (see below) to see what their course structures were like, and whether they specified an entry criteria for enrolment and more importantly whether the courses offered sufficient coding knowledge that would allow me to be able get my project off the drawing board. My idea is based on a well know theory which I want to turn into a self-development app. I may end up having to hire someone to do it, but even if that turns out to be the case, with some coding languages knowledge, I will be in a better place to understand what the person is doing.

As 56 years old I feel rejuvenated by the very many free opportunities available online for people who either cannot afford to get this kind of education or are like me, a bit long in the tooth but are not at the knackers yard yet (translation: a bit old but not yet ready for the grave).

The truth of the matter is that since the early 1990s software has taken over the world. Had I my green and salad days to live all over again I definitely would have jumped on the learn code band wagon because salaries for programmers start at $40k (£25.9k) and once you become an experienced coders you can easily expect to earn a hefty 6-figure salary.

Learn how edX Works

Top 4 Free Coding Courses Providers

Code Academy

As this is a post on computer coding lets start with a platform dedicated solely to coding. Code Academy claims to have over 24 million learns worldwide. Students studying anyone of the several different courses on offer including:

MIT Open Courseware

Whilst Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers free courses on their site, they do request a donation from those who can afford it. Their other site also offer free courses but they don't ask for a contribution.

At the point of writing this post the edx site has 52 coding related course available, 35 self paced courses so you don't have to feel pushed for time, 20 starting soon, 28 upcoming and 72 archived. What the difference between starting soon and upcoming I haven't pursued.

On the MIT platform, as opposed to edx, the programming courses you can choose from include:

Khan Academy

Khan Academy has come a long way since its inception days. At Khan academy you can learn programing for drawing and animations using JavaScript & Processing JS. What really good is that you can also share whatever you've created and you can learn from each other. The courses are easy-to-follow using step-by-step video tutorials.


Coursera is one of the big boys of good quality online free education. They over 121 universities partners, and provide over 1000+ courses. They have a healthy number of programming courses including 3 specialisation classes.


You'll be amazed at the number of free coding tutorials available on YouTube. I've done the spadework for you and filter the 'computer programming for beginner' for you. You can further filter the results for either the latest video post or the shortest/longest.

Udemy & Udacity

Udemy has a ton of paid and free courses offered via video format. There is a wide range of courses from personal improvement to computer programming. The only problem with Udemy courses is that for more in-depth information in your chosen subject that comes at a cost. The site has discount coupons, often at 50 percent to help manage costs.

The Udacity and its nano degrees programmes is another great platform to go to learn coding. They have paid guided courses, for your money you'll get a personal coach to help you develop your coding skills.

Google HTML5 Rocks

The king of the Internet Google also has an educational platform. So, if you want to learn code, why not look to go to go directly to a company that had managed to monopolise the whole world-wide-web? Google has a platform called HTML5 Rocks.

The HTML5 Rocks project is based on Google professional contributors sharing the latest updates and resource guides for all things to do with HTML5.

It follows then that the code and language they use is at a higher level, and therefore not suited for beginners but will be interesting to those with some previous experience.

More F.ree Online Coding Resources

You'll notice that I have written free with a full stop on the 'F', that's because you may have to register on these site in order to use their resources. Indeed I think this applies to nearly all the sites listed except the last two.

  • The Code Player is a site where you can learn HML5, CSS3, Javascript and more coding courses. Classes are taught via video. The step-by-step tutorials give you a walk through over the shoulder views that show you projects being created from scratch. A lot of the stuff on this site is not really for beginners, but very interesting for intermediate and advanced coders.
  • Exploring CS is another site you can get a free year on a college-preparatory course that will teach you approaches to problem solving, web design, programming and animation
  • Girl Develop It Learn HTML, CSS, Javascript, Python, Ruby etc from a platform that is dedicated to the empowerment of women world wide.
  • Hackety Hack These guys will teach you the absolute all the basics of Ruby programming. The language can apparently be used for kinds of programs, desktop applications and websites. The good think about it is that no previous programming experience is necessary to learn Ruby.
  • Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) You'll know these guys if you use Firefox as your web browser. They're a community from whom you'll learn a lot to learn about web design and development whether you're just picking up a bit of code for the first time or you want to become a fully-fledged professional web developer.
  • W 3 Schools On this site you will learn how to create a website. They offer free tutorials and more importantly certification for all web development technologies they teach including HTML5, CSS, Javascript and many others.
  • Web Monkey This is another great online resource for coding and web development. It's owned by Wired magazine. It a great place for all sorts of computing related tutorials, tips and advice. The articles levels are for beginners, professionals, students, grandparents, bloggers and programmers of all skill levels.


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