As will.i.am, member of the hip hop group The Black Eyed Peas and coding beginner, puts it, “Great coders are today’s rock stars…”
A video by the name of “What Most Schools Don’t Teach”, which was created just over a year ago, made waves online and became the number one video on YouTube within only one day. The video featured many tech giants like Bill Gates (creator of Microsoft), Jack Dorsey (creator of Twitter), Mark Zuckerberg (creator of Facebook) and Drew Houston (creator of Dropbox).
The premise of the video was to explain to people why learning code needs to become a vital part of every child’s education and what the long-term benefits of learning code are. One of the many good points made was that no matter what industry you plan to specialise in, learning to code can be beneficial to you because of the overwhelming influence of technology.
Not everyone has the advantage of being taught to code in school or going to university to take classes in coding. This is why the numerous free coding resources that can be found online are such a huge contribution to creating success for all.
Here are some great coding resources you can look up to teach yourself this vital skill:
Code/Racer (coderace.me) and Treehouse (teamtreehouse.com)
Code/Racer is one of the more fun sites where you can learn how to code. Code/Racer is a multiplayer live coding game that helps people learn to code basic websites using HTML5 and CSS. Even if you have no coding experience, you will still be able to master the techniques easily. Advanced coders are tested more on their coding speed and agility. There are many challenges, weapons to unlock and rewards for good coding practices.
The only negative about this site is that you need to log in with your Facebook account to play the games. The parent company that created Code/Racer is Treehouse, another site that helps you to learn code but in a more traditional way. They boast over 1,000 tutorials by coding, web design and business experts. Whereas Code/Racer is free to use, Treehouse’s basic plan starts at $25 and moves up to $49.
CoderDojo is a site that aims to help young people learn code by providing them with mentors close to where they live. It is a volunteer-led, non-profit program. There are over 371 dojos (places where young people can meet up to learn code from mentors) in 41 countries. The program teaches young people between the ages of 5 and 17 how to code; develop websites, apps, programs, games and more.
This initiative is a great opportunity to provide children with the best tools with which to build their futures, even when traditional education does not provide this option. It costs nothing so parents don’t have to sacrifice education for any reason. The parents score in other ways as well. Children below the age of 10 have to be accompanied but parents get free cappuccinos and Wi-Fi for their trouble!
You get points to show your progress and there is an interactive worldwide community you can talk to about your coding questions. They also provide an after-school kit so that educators (or anyone else) can create coding classes for a school of their choice.
The site also provides you with links to other sites where you can learn specific skills like building web pages. It also gives educators games that they can provide to children and a lot of them don’t even require the person to have a computer in front of them. Best of all, it is for all ages and education levels, and you don’t need an exceptionally sophisticated computer. Also, it’s free and there are forums where you can ask questions about the courses or code in general.
W3 Schools (w3schools.com)
Additional features on the site include examples of the different languages and how they are used, which is good for recognising what you are working with in future. A great feature is the “Try it yourself” box within each separate section of the tutorials. As soon as you feel confident enough that you know how, for example, to create an HTML table, they give you an opportunity to try it out on the site itself.
The site also provides certification which, unfortunately, comes at a price. Learning the basics of, for example, HTML and going through each tutorial doesn’t cost you anything. However, you need to pay to take the exams and receive your certificate. Basically all of the certifications cost around $95 (about R1, 022.00). But getting a certificate is not a necessity so the fact that you can learn as much as you want on the site for free is a big positive.
There are many more sites that you can visit to learn coding so go explore the following links:
- Udacity (udacity.com)
- Code School (codeschool.com)
- Coursera (coursera.org)
- Khan Academy (khanacademy.org)
- MIT OpenCourseWare (http://ocw.mit.edu)
- Mozilla Developer Network (https://developer.mozilla.org)
- Codeplayer (thecodeplayer.com)
- Learn Python The Hard Way (learnpythonthehardway.org)
- HTML5 Rocks (html5rocks.com)