Learning how to code is the new black, except that you can’t wear it. But it’s about the most fashionable thing you can do for your resume. If you learn to code it can be a step toward a higher income, a second career, or even a life-changing product. If you’re thinking you need to go back to college for a computer science degree, remember that some of the most famous programmers never got one. Look at Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates. If you’re a writer, learn to code can so you can reposition yourself as a website designer or front-end developer. If you’re a nurse, learn to code so you can build a platform for nurses to network. If you’re a carpenter, you can build a website for your business.
It’s easier than ever to learn how to code. Coding can:
- Help you build something on a basic level in as little as 3 months
- Increase your income with new job opportunities
- Get you a freelance side-gig coding for others
- Build your online product to take over the world
- Help you meet new people and make “coder” friends
- Increase your self-confidence
- Enhance a blog or website you created
- Develop your cognitive and problem-solving abilities
Here are several free, self-paced platforms to get started:
Here, you can learn anything from HTML to Python. You have access to free courses via screencasts. Codeacademy also lets you build an interactive website or learn how to use APIs like YouTube and Box to create your own applications. There are some active forums for peer-to-peer help and some support. If you are self-disciplined, this is an excellent bet.
Choose the right course and instructor, and you’ve hit the goldmine. Courses in web development, Swift, website building, and WordPress customization are popular, and many are free for a test run.
MOOCs stand for “massive open online course.” Anyone on the web can access them. Top universities like Stanford, Wellesley, and UPenn, as well as Udemy, Coursera, and Udacity offer courses in computer programming, data science, app development, and a variety of coding languages.
Rails Guides offers a complete, free course and instruction on how to use Ruby on Rails, the program that Shopify, Groupon, and AirBnb use to build their own sites. Follow each step of the Getting Started guide, block out several hours and get to work! It will show you how to install Rails and start a Rails application.
You can learn from one of the top institutions in the country. Most of the courses are older computer programming classes, but for the basics and a self-paced experience you can’t go wrong.
Ourcodeblog has a wiki resource for “women of color who are learning to code, design, and program.” Check this out for easy, free access to MOOCs, videos, and guides to effectively plan your self-paced learning objectives, while saving you lots of time on research.
When you are learning how to code on your own, a mentor is invaluable. Attend meetups and meet other coders face-to-face for support. Don’t let finances get in the way. If you don’t have $12k for a coding school, a free course can very well be a powerful new beginning in your personal or career trajectory.
Featured photo credit: hackNY.org via flickr.com