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Sarah Dye
Sarah Dye

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My 5 Favorite Coding Resources

Developers are constantly learning so blogs and platforms such as DEV or CodeNewbie are great resources to help them solve problems, learn new skills, and build their online presence. Many experts suggest developers keep a blog as they learn how to code. This way they can see how they progress with every skill they learn.

I started learning how to code in August 2015. My coding journey begins with the book What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles. This book transformed my life since the flower exercise gave me some much-needed clarity about myself. Once I finished with my flower, I started using the information from my flower to research careers that would be the best fit for me.

This is when I discovered Skillcrush. Skillcrush is a company focused on teaching women digital skills. After reading about the company and the program features, I enrolled in Skillcrush's free ten-day boot camp to see what coding is like.

At the time, I had no experience coding.

When I was in school, computer class concentrated on teaching kids how to type and use Microsoft Office. The only time I heard anything about programming was through action movies such as James Bond and other spy thrillers which had characters acting as programmers. These characters were on the computer hacking through software so James Bond could save the world.

I was not sure if I would even like coding, but I fell in love with it the minute I wrote my first line of code. My first line of code wasn't very glamorous. For most developers, the first line of code they ever write is "Hello World" or a variation of that line. While this might be a universal first line of code for many developers, every developer can remember exactly what they were thinking and even feeling the minute that line appears on the computer.

When I was able to make "Hello World" appear on my browser, I realized I finally found everything I was looking for. At the end of the boot camp, I enrolled in the web designer career blueprint and started my coding journey. After finishing the blueprint, I began exploring other coding resources to build on the skills I was learning as well as I was building my portfolio site.

Today I can use digital skills such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery to build colorful interactive websites.

Most importantly, I found a career path that is right for me, and love what I do. Although I don't have a tech job yet, I am looking for tech jobs and am starting to look for freelancing jobs as I continue to grow as a developer.

I am sharing a list of resources I use to understand programming languages, get career advice, and learn about all the latest news in tech. You can find out more information on each item by clicking the name.

1. Skillcrush

Out of all the items on the list, Skillcrush is my favorite. Skillcrush is the very first resource I used to learn how to code. Skillcrush is an online coding and design school. They believe tech is for everyone and support all their students in learning tech skills as well as landing the jobs they want.

In 2015, Skillcrush offered career blueprints that teach different skills over three months. Skillcrush enrollment used to open at the end of every month. Some of the skills covered in the career blueprints are:

  • HTML & CSS
  • UX Web Design
  • JavaScript & jQuery
  • Git and GitHub
  • Responsive Web Design
  • Adobe Photoshop

Skillcrush blueprints were $399 or 3 monthly payments of $149 a month. However, Skillcrush offered promo codes for those making a career change or are unemployed. You could sign up for a career blueprint or just one course.

Skillcrush has evolved over the years. Today they offer the Break into Tech program. This job training program is designed to help students land a job in 12 months or less. Students learn the skills they need to be job-ready.

The Break into Tech program costs $2999 for 12 months or 12 monthly payments of $259 a month. Skillcrush offers different ways students can pay for tuition including installment payments. Skillcrush offers different discounts and promo codes throughout the year that can help with the cost.

Skillcrush offered a free ten-day boot camp course when you subscribed to their newsletter. This course taught students some basic HTML and get a sense of the format of a Skillcrush lesson. Today Skillcrush has he free coding camp that gives students essential information on HTML & CSS, JavaScript, and design.

Skillcrush students had access to a career section. This section guided them through the process of finding a freelance job. Skillcrush has a great blog that has job advice, design tips, and even job listings.

==> Click here to learn more about Skillcrush!

2. Learn to Code With Me

The Learn to Code With Me blog and podcast are some of the newest resources I have been using. If you are a newbie, you will want to check the Learn to Code With Me Blog first. Laurence Bradford (the founder of the Learn to Code With Me blog) has tons of information from job advice, free guides, and even reviews of coding resources.

I downloaded Laurence's freelancing guide and it is full of great tips on how to get started freelancing from finding your first client to how to set your rate. I am thinking about signing up for more coding courses, and her list of resources has been very helpful in figuring out which courses are the best. Besides the Learn to Code With Me blog, Laurence also started the Facebook group Learn to Code with Me Community. The group allows other developers to talk about coding, answer questions, and get feedback.

If you are a fan of podcasts, you should check out the Learn to Code With Me podcast. Laurence recently started the podcast and the first season of the show features lots of great interviews with people in tech. Each guest shares their stories of how they got started and offers lots of great advice newbies can use to get a tech job. You can listen to the podcast on the Learn to Code With Me site or subscribe via your favorite place to listen to podcasts.

==> Click here to learn more about Learn to Code with Me!

3. Codecademy

A perfect free option for coding newbies is Codecademy. Codecademy is where some developers start their coding journey. There is a decent selection of courses from HTML & CSS to PHP. Each course teaches the concepts by having users type code to see the result as they learn different skills.

After a certain number of lessons, Codecademy walks users through a project that uses everything that they learn. As you finish courses and projects, you earn badges for certain milestones. While the focus is on the main course offerings, Codecademy does offer tutorials to build other projects such as your galaxy or an animated version of your name. I have used Codecademy to supplement what I have been learning in freeCodeCamp and Skillcrush.

Codecademy is free on the basic plan. However, you can upgrade to the plus or pro plans. The plus plan is $17.49 a month which builds on the basic plan with students having access to all courses, quizzes, and real-world projects to build. The pro plan goes even further by having more features for landing a tech job including career services, code challenges, and assessments.

==> Click here to learn more about Codecademy!

4. freeCodeCamp

Another popular free alternative is freeCodeCamp. This resource often pops up among many developers and is always on recommendation lists. freeCodeCamp is similar to Codecademy, but its curriculum goes much deeper both in the front-end and back-end areas.

freeCodeCamp doesn't just cover HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Some of the areas covered in the freeCodeCamp curriculum are:

  • Responsive design with Bootstrap
  • JSON APIs and Ajax
  • Node.js and Express.js
  • Algorithm Scripting

The big difference between Codecademy and freeCodeCamp is with the projects. While Codecademy walks users through a project, freeCodeCamp takes off the training wheels and has you figure out how to build each project. Throughout certain points of the curriculum, you will have to build a set of projects using the concepts covered in previous lessons. This approach encourages users to think like a developer and teaches them how to approach projects the way a developer would. Once you are finished with each section, you earn a certificate.

While the curriculum gets the most attention, freeCodeCamp has one of the best online communities available. freeCodeCamp has different ways for students to come together and help each other find answers to their programming questions as well as advice on how to find a tech job. Students can also join Facebook groups within their area to get feedback on projects or schedule meetups to work with other users on their projects. freeCodeCamp also offers forums where users can interact with each other and articles about what is happening in tech.

freeCodeCamp continues to provide amazing resources to help developers learn how to code. They have over 9,000 tutorials and articles students that supplement the concepts covered in the core curriculum. They also have a podcast now and two different YouTube channels with even more coding content.

==> Click here to learn more about freeCodeCamp!

5. Sololearn

Although there are great coding websites online, people can't sit at a computer 99% learning how to code. Even though you are not close to your computer, you can still learn how to code. When I want to fit in a quick coding lesson, I use the Sololearn app.

Sololearn teaches different programming languages. These apps are free on Google Play Store and iTunes. I had this app on my iPad, and I have this on my phone. I use this when I want to take a break from my computer or when I am waiting in line at the grocery store.

Every lesson has diagrams, text, and even videos to help students learn different concepts. If you want to try a loop in JavaScript, Sololearn includes a link to a text editor so users can write and run code. After each lesson, there is a quiz that helps users see how well they are doing and what areas they need to review again.

The quizzes are extremely helpful in figuring out what areas I don't understand. When I don't know an answer to a quiz, I can revisit the lesson and re-watch videos demonstrating how each concept works in code. Once you are finished with the course, you earn a certificate.

Sololearn is free to use, but students can upgrade to a pro subscription. The pro subscription is $12.99 a month. Pro gives students unlimited practice, interactive coding demos, and ways to set coding goals.

Sololearn has a discussion forum students can use to ask questions and get help with any of their lessons. They have a blog that dives even deeper into different tech topics. If you don't have time to sit at a computer learning how to code, this app is a great way to start learning the coding basics.

==> Click here to learn more about Sololearn!

This post was originally published on July 6, 2016 on the blog The Original BritishPandaChick as 5 Favorite Coding Resources. I made minor changes to the original post to work here on DEV.

  • Update March 4, 2024: Laurence announced today that she is going to archive the Learn to Code with Me Community from Facebook.

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