7 Easy Ways to Learn Coding and Computer Science for Free

Treehouse CodingThese days it seems like people fall into one of three categories: people who know how to code, people who want to learn how to code and people who are losing opportunities because they either can’t code or don’t understand how code works. Luckily, it’s easier than ever for a person willing to invest a few hours here and there to get proficient. Whether you are looking for a new career direction, want to polish up some rusty skills or simply want to pick up a new hobby, the resources below will get you heading in the right direction–for free.

Times certainly are changing. No longer are students required to go to brick and mortar bastions of higher education (and pay ever-increasing tuition fees) to learn a useful trade, but I digress… below you’ll find some resources that will allow anyone to learn to code in Python, C++, Javascript, HTML5, CSS3, AJAX, and more. If you want, you can even learn how to create an iPhone/iPad app or Android app. Enjoy!

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Treehouse

Treehouse gets an A+ for offering users great content wrapped in an amazing user interface. Just as learning is no fun in a drab environment in a physical classroom, so is it no fun in a drab environment online and Treehouse understands this. Treehouse can teach you web design (including HTML5 and CSS3), web development (including Javascript) and even equip you to create iOS apps (using Objective-C and Xcode). Users unlock badges after watching videos and taking tests.

Codecademy

Codecademy describes itself as the easiest way to learn to code and it’s quite popular. At the time of writing, the homepage has been tweeted nearly 60,000 times. Codecademy will give you the knowledge necessary to build great websites, apps and even games and focuses on Javascript. The social aspect of Codecademy is a nice addition as you can learn along side your friends and even track their progress. Anyone, literally anyone, can do the first basic lesson shown on the homepage. It’s fun and you’ll feel like you’re making quick progress when you earn a new badge in under a minute!

Udacity

Udacity, led by two professors (one from Stanford and another from the University of Virginia),will teach you how to code in just 7 weeks. By the end of the course you’ll actually be able to build your very own search engine like Google or Yahoo. Python is the programming language used in Udacity’s courses. If you’re interested, sign up quick–courses are not offered in an on-demand format. Instead, classes are offered in a more traditional format, meaning there is a class scheduled every few months.

Mozilla’s School of Webcraft (P2PU)

Mozilla’s School of Webcraft is a part of the Peer 2 Peer University which describes itself this way: At P2PU, people work together to learn a particular topic by completing tasks, assessing individual and group work, and providing constructive feedback. Webcraft challenges include Python, HTML5, Javascript and Django to name a few. The Webmaking 101 challenge will help you learn basic HTML and create your first website from scratch.

MIT Computer Science Video Lectures

MIT is among a handful of schools (including Stanford) who are posting introductory computer science lectures online for free. The first video in the series introduces learners to data types, operators and variables and has been viewed over 800,000 times at the time of writing. This particular course is taught by professors Eric Grimson and John Guttag.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy, the fabulously popular learning resource that has attracted praise from big names like Bill Gates, allows people to “learn almost anything for free”. The site makes an appearance on this list for a good reason: it has a robust section on computer science. Python is Khan Academy’s language of choice and you’ll learn about functions, loops and strings among other algorithms.

Google Code University

Google Code University offers a wide variety of written courses from programming languages (including Python, C++, Java and AJAX) to Android Development. There’s no registration required and professors can even submit courses to gain a larger audience. The site lacks the panache displayed by Treehouse and Codecademy listed above, but for people who prefer written content over videos and interactive lessons, Google Code University is definitely worth a look.

Bonus: Code School

Just for good measure, I’m including a premium offering by the name of Code School. While it’s not free, it’s worth a mention in this post because it seems to be a very solid and polished product. Code School’s approach is “learning by doing through interactive video and coding in the browser”. For a very reasonable individual monthly membership fee of $25, learners gain access to all of Code School’s content. Businesses can even enroll entire teams–and they have. Some businesses that have used Code School include AT&T, IBM and NASA to name a few.

Hey, I'm Chris—founder and Editor of DailyTekk.com. You can also catch me contributing on ReadWrite. I enjoy checking out the latest and greatest consumer tech. I write about tech that's more ID than IT.

9 Comments

  • [...] code (if you’re interested in learning how to code, check out a recent article I wrote called 7 Easy Ways to Learn Coding and Computer Science for Free). Among the entrants are Sweb Apps, Cabana, Kanchoo and AppBreeder. While I’m sure these [...]

  • April 4, 2012

    TC

    Treehouse looks good, but it’s not free…

  • July 17, 2012

    dave

    thanks my interest is to understand how to develop apps for android fast. i will check them and see which suite me.

  • September 20, 2012

    Mike Walmsley

    Another great site is http://codeavengers.com! Fun and effective!

  • [...] you’d like a little more info about the different online coding schools then visit this article found [...]

  • [...] you’d like a little more info about the different online coding schools then visit this article found [...]

  • [...] 7 Easy Ways to Learn Coding and Computer Science for Free [...]

  • March 19, 2013

    Michael

    Absolutely awesome links. Come on dudes and dudettes, the author of the post is sharing incredible websites and sources for things that people only wish they’d found/find (even in today’s world). I thank you Mr Post/Author.

  • July 17, 2013

    Roman

    You can find also a lot of MOOC Courses for free and great lectures from iTunes and also MicrosoftVirtualAcademy.

    I recommend you coursera.org (a free MOOC websites) because it gives you also a certification :)

    I’ve just started a blog about my courses there, give a look :)

    csromka.wordpress.com/