Before we get into how to teach yourself coding, let's talk about why you should learn to code. According to a 2016 study by Burning Glass Technologies, employees working in coding jobs make around $22,000 more per year on average than those in non-coding occupations.
Although many employers look for a college degree when hiring coders, a shortage of computer science degree-holders has pushed some companies to hire bootcamp grads and self-taught coders to fill coding jobs.
How to Teach Yourself Coding
Individuals who want to learn to code can take advantage of many resources, both online and offline. For those who like something a little more interactive, internet-based resources may be preferable. These include everything from introductory YouTube videos to interactive online bootcamps.
If you don't have time for a bootcamp and want to learn how you can teach yourself to write code, check out the resources below. These self-guided courses can help you develop the coding skills you need to advance your career.
MOOC stands for massive open online course. MOOC providers offer open enrollment to anyone who wants to take their courses. Although some MOOCs are free, many platforms charge a fee for each MOOC. Platforms such as Coursera, edX, Udacity, and Udemy offer MOOCs that help students learn to code.
- Coursera: Coursera partners with over 200 leading companies and universities to offer courses, certificates, and degree programs online. You can take individual coding courses in Java, Python, C++, web development, and more, or you can earn your computer science degree through a partner university.
- edX: Over 160 member universities offer courses on edX, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Boston University. You can take courses in Python, full-stack web development, front-end web development, blockchain, and more.
- Udacity: Udacity offers over 90 nanodegrees in multiple focus areas, such as artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, cloud computing, cybersecurity, data science, product management, and programming.
The Odin Project
The Odin Project has a Discord community where students can interact with one another and ask questions. Over the course of the program, learners complete multiple coding projects they can add to their portfolios.
As an open source project, The Odin Project has 1,500 contributors who work to continually improve the curriculum. Anyone can sign up as a contributor to add new lessons, improve existing lessons, and fix bugs.
Codecademy has helped millions of people learn how to code. Codecademy's course catalog includes both free and pro (paid) courses.
To access the pro-level courses, learners must purchase a pro membership, which costs $19.99 per month, billed annually. Pro members gain unlimited access to pro-level courses, skill paths, and career paths. Skill paths and career paths contain more lessons than the basic courses.
As you may have guessed from its name, freeCodeCamp does not charge for its courses. Learners can earn all ten certifications without incurring any cost whatsoever. FreeCodeCamp operates as a nonprofit organization and accepts tax-deductible donations to help fulfill its mission of teaching people to code for free.
Over the past seven years, over 40,000 freeCodeCamp graduates have landed employment at tech companies, including Microsoft and Google.
Khan Academy offers each student a personalized learning dashboard that helps keep learners on track as they study at their own pace. The platform covers math, computing, science, economics, history, and more. This nonprofit organization strives to help learners develop strong academic foundations and encourage them to become lifelong learners.
Edabit's curriculum consists of more than 10,000 short, interactive challenges that help students cut through the confusion of learning to code. Students learn to code through hands-on activities, and the whole process is gamified. Learners complete achievements and advance to higher levels as they learn.
Codewars uses challenges called "kata" to test students' progress and rank them accordingly. Each kata has been ranked by difficulty level, and learners rank higher as they complete more difficult kata. Community members create new kata that test different skills.
Codewars has challenges in 29 programming languages, including common languages such as Java, Python, C++, and PHP, as well as lesser known languages such as Crystal, Elixir, Groovy, and Rust.
Codewars works with companies and educators to power their evaluation processes. Partner companies include Apple, Domino's, Facebook, Thinkful, and Zoom.
Bento wants to make technology education accessible to everyone. The company started out by curating online tutorials and now offers a complete full-stack web development curriculum with 20 different learning tracks, including HTML, CSS, jQuery, and Python. Bento targets learners who want to become self-taught developers.
Bento's curated topics page contains links to online tutorials in over 100 different technologies. You can find resources to help you learn JSON, SQL, Bootstrap, Node, and much more. Bento also offers a page of trending links for those who want to see which resources are most popular.
- ProgrammingKnowledge has more than 2,000 videos on YouTube. Recent videos cover facial recognition technology, Ruby on Rails, and Flutter. You can also find videos on Node.js, Adobe After Effects, and GitHub.
- Treehouse has more than 600 videos and offers a "100 days of code" challenge. Treehouse videos cover a wide array of topics, including syntax errors, interaction design, Vue.js, React, and CSS.
- Derek Banas teaches programming in languages such as C++, Python, Java, and PHP.
Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching Yourself to Code
- How do I teach myself to code?
This page provides many great resources to help you learn to code. Pick one that resonates with you and give it a shot. If it doesn't work out, try something else. Everyone has their own learning style, and what works for one person may not work for another. However, with so many options to choose from, you're sure to find one that will work for you.
- Where can I learn to code for free?
Most of the sites listed in this page offer free courses or bootcamps. The Odin Project and freeCodeCamp are both free, and Codecademy has many free courses. Many MOOC platforms offer free courses, as well.
- Can you get a job after teaching yourself to code?
Learning to code gives you more skills to put on your resume, but that's just the first step. If you want to land a coding job, you should complete several coding projects and set up an online portfolio to showcase your work. Having a body of work to show prospective employers will increase your chances of landing a job.