This Byte has been authored by

Zoe Kenny

So you want to learn how to code but don't have thousands of dollars to splash on an expensive boot camp?

Cartoon image of someone pulling out their pockets to show they are empty.

No problem! There's never been a better time to learn new skills — even highly sought-after skills like coding — completely free!

Here are some tips on how to develop the right mindset as well as where to find resources and get support from a like-minded community.

Prepare your mindset

Before you dive into the world of coding, it's essential to gain insight into the thinking behind programming.

One of the most highly recommended courses to take is Harvard CS50's Introduction to Computer Science.

Students walking into a Harvard campus building as the camera pans backwards.

In this course, you'll learn about core concepts such as algorithms, get an overview of various programming languages and try your hand at solving real problems from fields as varied as biology and gaming.

Enroll for free here!

Quiz

Which of these well-known tech companies hire tech jobseekers without degrees?

Choose a coding website

A good place to start learning is a dedicated coding website. Some of the features worth looking for are:

  • completely free (that is, no paywalls or locked levels)

  • tutorials for a range of programming languages

  • projects to practice your skills on real problems

  • active community to support your learning

Cartoon image of a chicken typing on a laptop with various code flashing up on the screen.

Check out these three websites that fit these criteria:

  1. freeCodeCamp

  2. Sololearn

  3. Exercism

Choose a programming language

Now that you have chosen a coding website, it's worth focusing on one programming language to start. Learning one language deeply (becoming fluent) will give you a good foundation to learn other languages later.

But with hundreds of different programming languages in existence, where should you begin?

Man holding up a post-it note with the word python written on it and computer monitors in the background. Photo by Hitesh Choudhary on Unsplash

Most coding influencers recommend starting with a popular language such as Python or Javascript, with Python currently the go-to language for coding interviews.

💡 Also, it's worth noting that CSS and HTML are not actually programming languages but are still necessary to understand.

Join a hackathon

Once you're feeling more confident in your coding skills, it's time to test them at a hackathon!

Hackathons are usually held over a24-hour period or a single weekend. Groups of programmers collaborate to solve an existing problem with technology.

Cartoon of a spaceship speeding through space with the word 'hackathon' flashing in front of the control deck. Sometimes the host company or organization will offer prize money or directly put the solution to use.

Hackathons are a fantastic way to meet like-minded people and accelerate your skill development.

Search for upcoming events in your city here!

Take Action

Ready to start your free coding journey?

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